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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.

Alachua County, Florida

Alachua County Education, Geography, and HistoryAlachua County, Florida Courthouse

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.

Etymology - Origin of Alachua County Name

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

Alachua County History

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.

A Guide to Alachua County's History : Historical Overview

Prepared by Ben Pickard
Alachua County Historic Trust
Matheson Museum, Inc.

Long before the Spaniards arrived in Florida, Alachua County's unique combination of fertile soil, broad prairies, clear lakes and abundant game had spawned a complex Indian civilization called Timucuan. Throughout the 16th century, DeSoto and other Spanish explorers plundered the region, then Franciscan priests founded missions and finally ranchers established a large cattle ranch on Paynes Prairie.

More at

A Guide to Alachua County's History

Geography: Land and Water

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.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Union County
  • Northeast: Bradford County; Clay County
  • East: Putnam County
  • Southeast: Marion County
  • Southwest: Levy County
  • West: Gilchrist County
  • Northwest: Columbia County


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.

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