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Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. The westernmost city in Polk County, it is part of the Tampa Bay Area. According to the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 110,516. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Native Americans lived in the area from soon after the end of the last ice age until the end of the Second Seminole War. European-American settlers arrived in Lakeland from South Carolina in the 1870s. The city expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service, with the first freedmen railway workers settling here in 1883. They and European immigrants also came because of new jobs in the large phosphate industry that developed. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.
The first Paleo-Indians reached the central Florida area near the end of the last ice age, as they followed big game south. As the ice melted and sea levels rose, these Native Americans ended up staying and thrived on the peninsula for thousands of years. By the time the first Spanish conquistadors arrived, an estimated 350,000 Native Americans were living in what is now the state of Florida. Some of these first early tribes were the Tocobago, Timucua, and Calusa. In 1527, a Spanish map showed a settlement near the Rio de la Paz. The arrival of the Spanish turned out to be disastrous to these Native American tribes. Within 150 years, the majority of the pre-Columbian Native American peoples of Florida had been wiped out. Those who had not succumbed to diseases such as smallpox or yellow fever were either killed or enslaved. Little is left of these first Native Americans cultures in Polk County except for scant archaeological records, including a few personal artifacts and shell mounds. Eventually, the remnants of these tribes merged with the Creek Indians who had arrived from the north and became the Seminole Indian tribe.
In the 18th century Native Americans groups, collectively called "Seminoles", moved into the areas left vacant. In 1823 the United States and the various "tribes" in Florida signed the Treaty of Moultrie Creek, which created a reservation in central Florida that included what is now Polk County. Starting in 1832 the United States government tried to move the Seminoles in Florida west to the Indian Territory. Most of the Seminoles resisted, resulting in the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842. By the end of that war, most of the Seminoles had been sent west, with a few remnants pushed well south of what is now Polk County.
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These roster battles remain tight as Tigers wrap up Grapefruit League season
Just as they said goodbye to the Grapefruit League season Sunday, the Tigers got busy with a clutch of roster decisions ahead of Opening Day.
Audrey May Keeb, 100
Keebler, 100, of Lakeland, Florida passed away on March 19th, 2023. Born January 21, 1923, to Clinton and Gertrude May of Coronet and Plant City, FL. She grew up in Coronet with typical youth ...
Department of Education shuts down Lakeland drag queen's talk at Orlando school
A Lakeland man who performs as a drag queen was scheduled to speak to the LGBTQ+ student club in Orlando this week, but the event was suddenly canceled.
Political news: Katie Worthington Decker will speak to Republican Club of Lakeland April 5
Katie Worthington Decker, senior vice president of the Lakeland Economic Development Council will speak at the club's April 5 meeting.
Lakeland jeweler to host book signing for author of memoir and cookbook 'Italy on a Plate'
Author Susan Gravely will be at Gaines Jewelers in Lakeland on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. Gravely recently published the book “Italy on a Plate.” ...
Under state pressure, Orlando high school cancels Lakeland man's drag talk with club
Jason DeShazo of Lakeland said the Florida Department of Education forced the cancelation of the “Drag and Donuts” event at an Orlando high school.
Lakeland Rep. Jennifer Canady becomes 2nd Florida House sponsor of six-week abortion bill
Rep. Jennifer Canady of Lakeland became the second lead sponsor of House Bill 7, which would ban abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy.
Homeless organization in Lakeland disputes potential city ordinance that would affect feeding events
Feed My Sheep CFL is a nonprofit organization that feeds homeless people in Lakeland; Spokesperson Jeff Spears, is a former homeless person who has a passio ...
Lakeland, Bartow, Tarpon Springs among 30 cities that issued proclamations for fake country
No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to find the country of Kailasa on a map. That's because it doesn't exist.
Publix Founder's Dream Becomes Nation's Largest Employee-Owned Company
From cashiers and baggers to top executives, all 240,000 Publix employees have a stake in the company's success.
The dominant feature in Lakeland is the city's many lakes. There are 38 named lakes in Lakeland which, along with a number of other unnamed bodies of water, have a tremendous impact on the ...