From Orlando to Tampa: what's in a name?

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Florida Guide > Florida History

From Orlando to Tampa: what's in a name?

Have you ever wondered how the cities in Florida got their names? Well I have, and started researching this and decided to share this fascinating info with you all.

Let us start with the cities that you are likely to have flown into

Orlando

There is not a cut and dried answer to this one as we will find out later but what is known is that Orlando was first known as Jernigan.

Jernigan was the first settler here and he got his land through The Armed Occupations Act.

Later on Jernigan was stripped of his rank in the army for what was described as disgraceful behaviour. It was thus decided to change the city name.

Now we come across not just one but 3 theories as to whom it was re named.

It was always thought to have been in honour of Orlando Reeves who died in an attack by the Native Americans in the Seminole War. However, subsequently. they have not been able to find Reeves name in any of the records.

Subsequent research seems to show that the name is more likely to have emanated from Orlando Savage Rees who was a lanowner here and that would have been in the mid 1830s.

Yet another spanner was thrown into the works when a Shakespeare buff claimed the name came from As You Like It and is rather tenuously supported by the fact that there is a Rosamund Street in Orlando.

SANFORD

Sanford is named after Henry Shelton Sanford who purchased the land on which Sanford now sits.

Henry would have been aware of the importance of this area with the advent of the steam boats and the imminent advent of the railroads.

And so it was that Sanford became a transport hub and became a very prosperous city.

However, this city was tp suffer 2 devastating blows; in 1887, Sanford caught fire and was re built in brick.

7 years later came the viciously cold winter in which all their orange trees died. Since Henry had money invested in orange groves this was a big blow to the wealth of the city and the man.

TAMPA

Once again I have to tell you that the facts behind the naming of this city are hazy.

Like many of the towns and cities in Florida the name owes it' s beginnings to the Native Americans. In this case the tribe known as Calusa.

It had been thought to have meant ' sticks of fire' and to have been a reference to the many lightening storms they have here.

However, others claim that it actually means a place to gather sticks; an important resource for a people that used fire to warm themselves and cook by.

Yet a further theory is that it comes from the Calusa word Itimpi which simply means near it. This could have been mis heard by the Spanish and become Tampa.

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