Polk County, Florida, is located in the center of the state twenty miles east of Tampa. It has a population of around 600,000 with an area of 2,011 square miles. It is among the top five largest counties by land area.
The first known inhabitants of the Polk County area were paleo-indians who had resided in the area for many years before Spaniards explored the area. Many of these indigenous peoples were devastated by new diseases brought by the Europeans and as the numbers of Spaniards increased, the number of paleo-indians decreased.
Polk County was not established as a county until more than fifteen years after Florida became a state. Half of Hillsborough County was taken to create the county, and it was officially established in 1861. The area was named after James K. Polk who had been the President of the United States at the time that Florida became a state.
The county has an ideal location. Being in the center of the state, it is close to several major cities and tourist destinations such as Tampa and Orlando. It is connected to these cities by I-4 which passes through the upper half of the county. The northeastern corner is just miles away from many of the major theme parks that bring visitors by the millions to Florida.
The county boasts not only a unique beauty and easy access to other parts of the state, but also houses many centers for higher education as well. Many students come to the county each year to attend both private and public universities and colleges.