Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida. It is the seat of Duval County. Jacksonville lies at the heart of the The Jacksonville metropolitan area. Jacksonville is centred on the banks of the St. Johns River in the First Coast region of north-east Florida, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and 328 miles (528 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, a settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford 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.
Harbour improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its river side location facilitates Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the U.S. Marine Corps Blount Island Command, and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Jacksonville's military bases and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay form the third largest military presence in the United States. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf.
Jacksonville's location on the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean proved instrumental to the growth of the city and its industry. Jacksonville has a sizeable deep water port, which helps make it a leading port in the U.S. for automobile imports, as well as the leading transportation and distribution hub in the state. The strength of the city's economy lies in its broad diversification. While the area once had many thriving dairies, such as Gustafson's Farm and Skinner Dairy, this aspect of the economy has declined over time. The area's economy is balanced among distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, information services, manufacturing, insurance, and other industries.
Jacksonville is home to the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Southeastern Grocers. Interline Brands is based in Jacksonville and is owned by The Home Depot. Other notable companies based in Jacksonville or with a large presence include Florida Blue, Swisher International Group, BOA Merrill Lynch, Fanatics, Crowley Maritime, Web.com, Firehouse Subs and Deutsche Bank. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, SW of downtown, employs more than 25,000 people.
In 2008, Jacksonville had 2.8 million visitors who stayed overnight, spending nearly $1 billion. A study by Research Data Services of Tampa quantified the importance of tourism. The total economic impact was $1.6 billion and supported nearly 43,000 jobs, 10% of the local workforce.
Banking and financial services Jacksonville has long had a regional legacy in banking and finance. Locally headquartered Atlantic National Bank, Florida National Bank and Barnett Bank dominated the industry in Florida from the turn of the 20th century through the 1980s, before all being acquired in a national wave of mergers and acquisitions throughout the entire financial sector. Acquired by NationsBank in 1997, Barnett Bank was the last of these banks to succumb to acquisition, and at the time was the largest banking merger in U.S. history. The city still holds distinction nationally and internationally, boosting two Fortune 500 financial services companies, Fidelity National Financial and FIS, FIS being well recognised as a global leader in financial technology. Headquartered on the banks of the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville, EverBank holds the title of largest bank in the state by deposits. The city is home to other notable financial services institutions including Ameris Bancorp, Atlantic Coast Financial, Black Knight Financial Services, MedMal Direct Insurance Company, US Assure, Jax Federal Credit Union, and VyStar Credit Union. The city is also home to the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Jacksonville's financial sector has benefited from a rapidly changing business culture, as have other Sunbelt cities such as Atlanta, Tampa, and Charlotte. In a concept known as nearshoring, financial institutions are shifting operations away from high-cost addresses such as Wall Street, and have shifted some trading functions to Jacksonville. With relatively low-cost real estate, easy access by planes to New York City, high quality of life, and 19,000 financial sector employees, Jacksonville has become an option for relocating staff.
Deutsche Bank's growth in the city is an example of such change. Jacksonville is the site of Deutsche Bank's second largest US operation; only New York is larger. They also are an example of a business that has moved operations to the suburbs. Other institutions with a notable presence in Jacksonville include Macquarie Group, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Citizens Property Insurance, Fidelity Investments, Ally Financial and Aetna.
Logistics Jacksonville is a rail, air, and highway focal point and a busy port of entry, with Jacksonville International Airport, ship repair yards and extensive freight-handling facilities. Lumber, phosphate, paper, cigars and wood pulp are the principal exports; automobiles and coffee are among imports. The city's manufacturing base provides 4.5% of local jobs, versus 8.5% nationally.
According to Forbes magazine in 2007, Jacksonville ranked 3rd among the top ten U.S. cities as destinations for jobs. Jacksonville was ranked as the 10th fastest growing city in the U.S. To emphasise the city's transportation business and capabilities, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce filed Jacksonville America's Logistics Center as a trademark.
The Port of Jacksonville, a seaport on the St. Johns River, is a large component of the local economy. Approximately 50,000 jobs in Northeast Florida are related to port activity and the port has an economic impact of $2.7 billion in Northeast Florida: The three maritime shippers who ship to Puerto Rico are all headquartered in Jacksonville: TOTE Maritime, Crowley Maritime, and Trailer Bridge.
Cecil Commerce Center is on the site of the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field. The industrial and commercial-zoned centre offers mid to large-size parcels for development; it has excellent transportation and utility infrastructure, including the third-longest runway in Florida.
Media and technology The Florida Times-Union is the major daily newspaper in Jacksonville and the First Coast. Jacksonville.com is its official website. The Financial News & Daily Record is a daily paper focused on the business and legal communities. Weekly papers include the Jacksonville Business Journal, an American City Business Journals publication focused on business news, Folio Weekly, the city's chief alternative weekly, and The Florida Star and the Jacksonville Free Press, two weeklies catering to African Americans. Jax4Kids, a monthly newspaper, caters to parents. EU Jacksonville is a monthly entertainment magazine. The Coastal is a local online magazine that also publishes a quarterly paper edition.
Military and defense Jacksonville is home to three US naval facilities. Together with the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Jacksonville is the third-largest naval complex in the country. Only Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California are bigger. The United States military is the largest employer in Jacksonville and its total economic impact is approximately $6.1 billion annually. Several veterans' service organisations are also headquartered in Jacksonville, including Wounded Warrior Project.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville is a military airport 4 miles (6 km) south of the central business district. Approximately 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel are employed on the base. There are 35 operational units/squadrons assigned there. Support facilities include an airfield for pilot training, and a maintenance depot capable of tasks ranging from changing a tire to intricate micro-electronics, or total engine disassembly. Also on site is a Naval Hospital, a Fleet Industrial Supply Center, a Navy Family Service Center, and recreational facilities.
Naval Station Mayport is a Navy Ship Base that is the third-largest fleet concentration area in the U.S. Mayport has a busy harbour capable of accommodating 34 ships, and an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) runway capable of handling any aircraft used by the Department of Defense.
Blount Island Command is a Marine Corps Logistics Base whose mission is to support the Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF). This provides for rapid deployment of personnel to link up with pre-positioned equipment and supplies embarked aboard forward-deployed Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS).
The Florida Air National Guard is based at Jacksonville International Airport.
Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville is on the St. Johns River next to Naval Station Mayport. Sector Jacksonville controls operations from Kings Bay, Georgia, south to Cape Canaveral. CGC Kingfisher, CGC Maria Bray, and CGC Hammer are stationed at the Sector. Station Mayport is co-located with Sector Jacksonville and includes 25-foot (7.6 m) response boats, and 47-foot (14 m) motor lifeboats.
Jacksonville is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Jacksonville has a population of over 929,647 people. Jacksonville also forms part of the Greater Jacksonville metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,631,488 people. Jacksonville is the #242 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 3.1477 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.