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Florida Counties

There are sixty-seven counties in the state of Florida. In 1821, there were only two Counties in Florida: Escambia to the west and St. Johns to the east. From these two Counties were formed 67 today. Its last county was created in 1925 with the formation of Gilchrist County from a segment of Alachua County.

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DeSoto County, Florida

DeSoto County Education, Geography, and HistoryDeSoto County, Florida Courthouse

DeSoto County is a county located in the state of Florida. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 34,862. DeSoto County was created on May 19, 1887 from Manatee County. The county seat is Arcadia, Florida. This county is named for Hernando de Soto (c. 1496/1497-1542), a Spanish explorer and conquistador.

DeSoto County comprises the Arcadia, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the North Port-Sarasota, FL Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of DeSoto County Name

This county was named for Hernando de Soto (c. 1496/1497-1542), a Spanish explorer and conquistador.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

DeSoto County History

DeSoto County is named for the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto. The county was created from Manatee County in 1887. Until 1921 DeSoto was one of the largest counties in the state, but residents complained of the vast distances between home and courthouse and it was subdivided to create Hardee, Charlotte, Highlands, and Glades Counties, q.v.

The original DeSoto County seat, which had also served Manatee County since 1866, was located at Pine Level. Although apparently built of brick, the Pine Level courthouse, or at least its jail, was derided as "flimsy," allowing the escape of prisoners to such an extent that vigilantism was rampant in the large and undeveloped county. Ghost town researcher James Warnke has located the site of this structure, but reports that only a few bricks remain beneath the shade of an oak hammock. Eventually a new county seat was created at "Tater Hill Bluff," renamed Arcadia, in 1888. Arcadia Albritton was the pretty daughter of local settlers.

The first courthouse in Arcadia was constructed by Peyton Read at a cost of $6,000, half of which had been donated to the county by four local citizens. It is probable that this structure was destroyed in a 1905 fire, since historian Louise Frisbie reports only three brick buildings survived that conflagration. The current DeSoto County Courthouse was built by the Read-Parker Construction Company in 1912-3. It was designed by the Tampa architectural firm of Bonfoey and Elliot.

In the late 1870's, the railroads were completed through Desoto County and it changed the growth of the county and brought wealth for many. In 1881, phosphate was discovered on the banks of Peace River that flows through the county. Mining of this mineral brought much prosperity for many years. Ruins of the old phosphate docks can be found today near Liverpool on Hunter Creek, just a few hundred yards from the Peace River in South DeSoto County.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 640 square miles (1,656 km2), of which, 637 square miles (1,651 km2) of it is land and 2 square miles (6 km2) of it (0.35%) is water.

DeSoto county is located close to the center of Florida.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Hardee County
  • Northeast: Highlands County
  • Southeast: Glades County
  • Southwest: Charlotte County
  • West: Sarasota County
  • Northwest: Manatee County


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