Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida by population and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; with an estimated population in 2012 of 836,507, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the Southeast, and the twelfth most populous in the United States. Jacksonville is the principal city in the Jacksonville metropolitan area, with a population of 1,345,596 in 2010.
Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and Cowford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain; it was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.
The United States is a country in the Northern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, and the Eastern Hemisphere. It consists of forty-eight contiguous states in North America, Alaska, a peninsula which forms the northwestern most part of North America, and Hawaii, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. There are several United States territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. The term "United States", when used in the geographical sense, means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States. The country shares land borders with Canada and Mexico and maritime (water) borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas in addition to Canada and Mexico.
North America is the third largest continent, and is also a portion of the second largest supercontinent if North and South America are combined into the Americas and Africa, Europe, and Asia are considered to be part of one supercontinent called Afro-Eurasia. With an estimated population of 460 million and an area of 24,346,000 km² (9,400,000 mi²), the northernmost of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west; the Atlantic Ocean on the east; the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and South America on the south; and the Arctic Ocean on the north. The northern half of North America is sparsely populated and covered mostly by Canada, except for the northwestern portion which is occupied by Alaska, the largest state of the U.S. The central and southern portions of the continent are represented by the United States, Mexico, and numerous smaller states primarily in Central America and in the Caribbean. The continent is delimited on the southeast by most geographers at the Darién watershed along the Colombia-Panama border, placing all of Panama within North America. Alternatively, a less common view would end North America at the man-made Panama Canal. Islands generally associated with North America include Greenland, the world's largest island, and archipelagos and islands in the Caribbean. The terminology of the Americas is complex, but "Anglo-America" can describe Canada and the U.S., while "Latin America" comprises Mexico and the countries of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as the entire continent of South America.
Natural features of North America include the northern portion of the American Cordillera, represented by the geologically new Rocky Mountains in the west; and the considerably older Appalachian Mountains to the east. The north hosts an abundance of glacial lakes formed during the last glacial period, including the Great Lakes. North America's major continental divide is the Great Divide, which runs north and south down through Rocky Mountains. The major watersheds all drain to the east: The Mississippi/Missouri and Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico, and St. Lawrence into the Atlantic.