Marion County

🢁 List of Counties

Marion County, Florida, unwraps a story that stretches far beyond its 1844 founding. The land was first home to the Timucua people, who called it “Ocali,” meaning “land of lakes.” These early inhabitants were succeeded by the Yamasee and Seminole tribes, who thrived in the region’s natural bounty for centuries.

European explorers arrived in the 16th century, with Spanish, French, and British flags all waving over the territory at different times. Marion County’s boundaries shifted throughout this period, once encompassing a much larger area than it does today. Finally, in 1844, Marion County emerged as a distinct entity, named after Revolutionary War hero General Francis Marion. The Armed Occupation Act of 1842 enticed settlers who cleared land for agriculture, and Ocala, originally Fort King, became the county seat in 1846.

The Civil War deeply impacted Marion County, with strong secessionist sentiment due to its plantation system. After the war, the county shifted gears, becoming a hub for cattle ranching and later, a flourishing center for citrus production. Today, Marion County continues to evolve, offering a glimpse into its rich past alongside a vibrant present.

396,415 (2022)
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