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Alachua County is a county located in the state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the
population was 247,336. Alachua County was
created on December 29, 1824 from Duval County and Saint
Johns County. The county seat is
Gainesville, the home of the University of Florida. This county is
named from the native name of a chasm located
northwest of Gainesville.
Alachua County is included in the Gainesville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county is known for its diverse culture, local music, and artisans. Much of its economy revolves around the university.
The meaning of Alachua is suggested by a passage in the journal of Lieutenant Diego Peña, who on his expedition to Apalachee and Apalachicola in 1716, traversed the region, and of the area between the Ichetucknee and Suwannee Rivers in southern Suwannee County remarks:
" The 21st day I left the said site (adjacent to the Itchtucknee River) and camped at a place they call Aquilachua this day I marched five leagues. In this day's march no creeks were encountered but there are good springs of water, and the first (is) named Usichua, (and) the other Usiparachua, and another Afanochua."
That the springs without effluent streams were sinkholes is consistent with the area, which has many. The names of these watering places all possess the terminator chua, which suggests that chua is the Timucuan name for sinkhole. This inference is not inconsistent with the general opinion of residents of the county, that the name Alachua means sinkhole.
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
The Alachua area appears to have been the first area occupied by the immigrants Oconees, the original Seminoles, about 1740. Their first town was situated on or near the old Alachua plain, now called Payne's Prairie in homage to "King" Payne, chief of the Alachua settlements upon his death in 1812.
During the early 1700s, the English and their Indian allies destroyed
these missions. Later, the Seminole Indians made settlements around
Micanopy. In 1774, British naturalist William Bartram visited the Alachua
region twice and described the region's natural beauty and scenic wonders.
Spain had a difficult time controlling the vast territory of Florida
and, unable to stop the influx of American settlers, finally ceded the
area to the United States in 1821.
Alachua County proper was created in 1824. The original county seat was Newnansville located near the current site of the city of Alachua. In 1853, the new railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Key bypassed Newnansville, and Gainesville, a new town that was located on the railroad, began to draw business and residents away from Newnansville. Gainesville became the county seat the following year.
Prepared by Ben Pickard
Alachua County Historic Trust
Matheson Museum, Inc.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 969.12 square miles (2,510.0 km2). 874.25 square miles (2,264.3 km2) of it is land and 94.94 square miles (245.9 km2) of it (9.79%) is water.
Alachua county is located close to the center of Florida.
Bordering counties are as follows:
The entire county of Alachua is served by the Alachua County School District, which has some 47 different institutions in the county. Alachua county is also home to the University of Florida and Santa Fe College.