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Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city governmentconsolidated in 1968. The consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; with a population of 821,784, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the eleventh most populousin the United States. Jacksonville is the principal city in the Greater Jacksonville Metropolitan Area, with a population of 1,313,228.
Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia border and about 340 miles (547 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beachescommunities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 it was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. During Florida's British period, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cowford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States acquired the colony of Florida from Spain, and named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.
Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates two U.S. Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, and healthcare. As with much of Florida, tourism is also important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf.