And the answer: Florida.
The Sunshine State was the 27th to join the country on March 3, 1845. While Florida has been occupied by Native American groups for at least 14,000 years, Spanish explorer Juan Ponca de León became the first known European to make landfall in 1513, declaring the state as La Florida due to its abundant foliage.
Florida is known for everything from oranges to DisneyLand, but did you know that there are no known dinosaur fossils in the state of Florida? Or that Florida is the flattest state in America? As a popular spring break and tourist destination, Florida is a state that seems to keep its name in the news, so please enjoy the following list of lesser-known Florida facts.
1. Everglades National Park is also the only place in the world where Alligators coexist with Crocodiles. The mixture of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee and saltwater from the ocean makes this dual existence possible, although perhaps a little too possible. But we’re not too mad, since the Florida Everglades is the only place in the United States where you can see Crocodiles, period!
2. The refrigerator was created in Florida. And with such humid, hot temperatures year-round, you can understand why. In 1851, American doctor John Gorrie built and patented a machine that produced ice, which he used to keep patients cool…hence his reputation as the “father of refrigeration and AC.”
3. Florida has the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita in the United States. Being surrounded by warm water and populous cities is a good mix for Florida weather—or at least, for Florida lightning.
Did you know?
Yesterday was National Florida Day! Each year, the longstanding significance of Florida is celebrated by digging into its rich history—or its white sand beaches, depending on where you are. Learn more about the history of Florida here.