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The first people to call Polk County home arrived close to 12,000 years ago during the last ice age as the first paleo-indians following big game southward  arrived on the peninsula of Florida.[4][5] By this time, the peninsula had gone through several expansions and contractions due to changing sea level; at times the peninsula was much wider than it is today, while at other times it was almost entirely submerged with only a few small islands exposed. These first paleo-indians, nomadic hunter/gatherers who did not establish any permanent settlements, eventually gave way to the "archaic people", the ancestors of the Indians who came in contact with the Spaniards when they arrived on the peninsula. These Indians thrived on the peninsula and it is estimated that there were over 250,000 in 1492 when Columbus set sail for the New World. As was common elsewhere, contact with Europeans had a devastating effect on the Indians. Smallpox, measles, and other diseases, to which the Indians had no immunity, caused widespread epidemic and death.[5][6] Those who had not succumbed to diseases such as these were often either killed or enslaved as Spanish explorers and settlers arrived. Within a few hundred years, nearly the entire pre-columbian population of Polk County had been wiped out. The remnants of these Indians joined with refugee Creek Indians from Georgia and The Carolinas to form the Seminole Indian Tribe.

For around 250 years after Ponce De Leon arrived on the peninsula, the Spanish ruled Florida. In the late 17th century, Florida went through an unstable period in which the French and British ruled the peninsula. After the American Revolution, the peninsula briefly reverted to Spanish rule. In 1819, Florida became a U.S. territory as a result of the Adams-Onis Treaty.

While Florida gained statehood in 1845, it was not until 1861 that Polk County was created from the eastern half of Hillsborough County. It was named in honor of former United States President James K. Polk.

Pasco, Sumter, Lake, Osceola, Highlands, Hardee, Hillsborough & Orange

FLGenWeb State Coordinator: Patrice Green       Polk County Coordinator: Jeff Kemp

As Polk County Coordinator all information I possess is contained within this
website. If you would like to contribute Polk County genealogy data to this
website please contact me above.

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