Orlando
  Orlando
Overview

Located in Central Florida, the city of Orlando has experienced the United States' most phenomenal economic growth. The Greater Orlando area, which includes Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties, is home to some 1.8 million people. But no one could have predicted such a future from the city's humble beginnings in the mid-19th century, when its two main industries were cattle breeding and cotton farming. Originally known as Jernigan, after Aaron Jernigan, a settler from Georgia who settled here in 1843, the city slowly grew around the Fort Gatlin army outpost, which was established during the Seminole Wars and later abandoned in 1850. The settlement was renamed Orlando in 1857, in honour of Orlando Reeves, an American soldier who was felled by a Seminole arrow in the Lake Eola area. However, it was not until 1875 before it finally received official incorporation as the City of Orlando.

Cotton farming gave way to citrus growing in the 1870s. The completion of the South Florida Railroad in 1880 spurred the growth of the citrus industry well into the mid-20th century, but tourism has since become the major driving force of the local economy. From the early 1970s, the opening of huge area theme parks, such as Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios, transformed the destiny of Orlando, which became one of the world's top tourist destinations. The convention industry has also contributed to the city's development, with the construction of the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center in 1983, now the second-largest convention complex in the United States.