Why Is Tallahassee The Capital Of Florida?

Why Is Tallahassee The Capital Of Florida?
Why Is Tallahassee The Capital Of Florida?

The state of Florida is renowned for its warm and sunny climate, amusement parks, beach resorts, and places like Miami beach, The Kennedy Space Center, and Disney world attracting millions of tourists each year. But what is the capital of Florida?

The Capital of Florida is Tallahassee, a state in the center of the state’s northern region. It was officially chosen as the capital in 1824 after John Lee Williams and Dr. William Simmons decided the area was the ideal site for a new capital.

In this article, we will discuss what the capital of Florida is. So keep ready! We have everything you need to know about Florida’s capital.

Where Is The Capital Of Florida Located?

Where Is The Capital Of Florida Located
Where Is The Capital Of Florida Located

The Capital of Florida state is Tallahassee, a city that’s nestled nicely in the center of the state’s northern region. Tallahassee is also the seat of Leon county and lies around halfway between Jacksonville in the east and Pensacola in the west.

Tallahassee is a center for agriculture and trade in Florida, and it also boasts a vibrant college community, including the great Florida State University. Its lush parks and gardens give the urbanized city a nice green feeling. Tallahassee lies around 200 feet above sea level, and is also known for its beautiful rolling red hills, which are a product of the high clay levels.

A Brief History Of Tallahassee

Aerial photo Florida State Capitol Building
Aerial photo Florida State Capitol Building

The history of Tallahassee goes back thousands of years before the arrival of colonists from Europe. Proto-Native Americans first inhabited the area. These early tribes depended on gathering wild plants and animals to hunt.

The largest Native American tribe that called the area around modern Tallahassee home were the Apalachee Indians, who developed a society that could rival those of Europe. The Apalachee tribes were among the strongest and most advanced of all the native Americans of Florida. They built a tremendous agricultural society of planted corn, squash, beans, fish, berries, nuts, and wild fruits. 

These early farmers used palm-thatched huts and lived close to their agricultural fields. In fact, the name of the modern city, Tallahassee, is derived from a Native American word, meaning ‘old fields.’

In the 16th century, the territory around Tallahassee was settled by Europeans and became a part of Spanish Florida. By 1819, a treaty known as the Adam-Onis, ceded Spanish Florida, including the territory of Tallahassee, to the United States. 

This led Tallahassee to officially become an American territory in 1821. With the American takeover of the state, we saw a rapid expansion in the number of cotton plantations, dramatically increasing Tallahassee’s population.

In 1824, after some debate as to where a great central location would be for the capital of Florida, an old native American settlement was chosen. This city would be named Tallahassee. It lay midway between the two largest settlements of the time, St. Augustine and Pensacola. 

As Florida became a state, its government’s needs grew. They required a new state house, and in 1839, congress appointed them $20,000 for the erection of a new capital. The capital was eventually completed in 1845, the same year Florida became a state.

When Did Tallahassee Become The Capital Of Florida?

Sunset at Cascades Park Tallahassee FL landscape photography
Sunset at Cascades Park Tallahassee FL landscape photography

Tallahassee was founded as a matter of convenience to the territory of Florida. When Florida was ceded to the United States, the two largest settlements, Pensacola and St. Augustine, were so far apart that it was decided a new capital was necessary. 

This led John Lee Williams and Dr. William Simmons, who were of Pensacola and St. Augustine, to choose the former Native American settlement of Tallahassee as a suitable capital in 1823. 

The two would meet with the creek chief of the Native Americans of the area, who were now living in a new town named Cohowofooche, to tell him their new plan to locate Florida’s capital to Tallahassee. The chief initially rejected and threatened the colonist approach. This eventually led to a small war.

The creek chief was illegally deposed, and the Native Americans were forced to move to a site near Tampa. In 1824, the area of Tallahassee was proclaimed the capital.

Why Is Tallahassee The Capital Of Florida?

When the U.S. first took over the state of Florida, there was East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine, and West Florida, with its capital at Pensacola. Yet, in 1824, when Florida became a part of the United States, neither of these locations made geographical sense.

These two capitals were separated by 400 miles in a time before automobiles. This would account for around 20 days’ travel, so the leaders decided that a new capital was needed. 

This was why John Lee Williams and Dr. William Simmons went on the hunt for a new site, and eventually agreed that a former native American settlement in the area of what’s now Tallahassee would be the ideal position for the new capital. 

Best Places To Visit In Tallahassee

If you’re looking for a great place to visit in Tallahassee, there are a few good options of sites to see and things to do. Here are five of the best places to visit when you’re in Tallahassee.

  1. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: If you’re looking for a trip into nature, the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is not to be missed. It’s a great place to enjoy a walk, hike, or run. 
  2. Tallahassee Museum: If you’d like to find out a little about the native wildlife of North Florida, the open-air natural museum is an excellent choice for a day out.
  3. Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park: This park has a tremendous amount of activities, including hiking trails, a swimming hole, a reflection pool, and great photo opportunities.
  4. Tallahassee Antique Car Museum: If you love cars, the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum is not to be missed. Within the enclosure, you’ll find all kinds of automobiles, trucks, and memorabilia.
  5. St. Marks Lighthouse: A great place to visit in Tallahassee is St. Marks Lighthouse, perched not far from the eastern mouth of the St. Marks river. The 80-foot tower is a sight to behold, and it is a fantastic spot for weddings.

See Also

Capital Cities 

Why is Tallahassee the Capital of Florida?

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!