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Gainesville History, Florida

Gainesville is the largest city in the Alachua County in the State of Florida. The city is also home to the University of Florida, the third largest university in the country, as well as Santa Fe College, the largest community college in the country. The city of Gainesville is surrounded by Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Valdosta, etc.

With a population of over one hundred thousand, this city has been named the best city to live in through extensive polls conducted all over the country.

Gainesville History: Indians and Hispanic Settlements

The indigenous people of the region are the Timucua Indians. When the Spanish colonists began settling in the area, they used the Timucua for manual labor and established the La Chua ranch, which was the largest ranch in the area. When the raiders came in from the Province of Carolina, they destroyed this ranch; nevertheless the area was from then on known as Alachua, after the ranch.

Gainesville was founded, and made the county seat, when then railroad from Cedar Key to Fernandina Beach was set up. The city was named after General Edmund P. Gaines, who was the commander of the U.S Army during the Second Seminole Wars.

Gainesville History: Civil War

During the Civil War, small-scale fighting took place in Gainesville. On February 14, 1864, 50 Unionist troops tried to enter the city to take over the trains, and the Florida Cavalry was defeated while trying to repel the attack. It was this same year when the Battle of Gainesville took place, where the Federals were beaten and driven out of town. Gainesville was a station where the U.S Coloured Troops settled after the Civil War, and this encouraged more black people to settle in this city. In the 1860s, the city had more black than white residents.

Gainesville History: Post-Civil War

After the Civil War, the city grew into a major producer of citrus fruits, helped by its direct rail connection to ports on both the Atlantic and Mexican Gulf. However, in 1894 and 1899, the extreme cold weather led to entire crops being destroyed and the region was no longer used for growing citrus fruits.

In 1905, the University of Florida was set up. The city was chosen to host the university over many other contenders, mostly because it gave the university free access to water, sewerage and electricity as well as land to build the university on. Due to the university, there is a large number of young people living in the city, numerous cultural opportunities and excellent medical services.

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