Prehistoric HistoryThe area now known as Manatee County had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years.
De Soto ExpeditionThe southern mouth of the Manatee River was likely the landing site of the Hernando de Soto (explorer)#1539 to early 1540 in Florida, De Soto Expedition and is the location of the U.S. National Park Service's De Soto National Memorial.
SettlementThe area was opened to settlement in 1842. The first two settlers were Joseph Braden and Hector Braden who moved into an area near the Manatee River. The two had lost their land for their plantations in Northern Florida during the Panic of 1837. They were said to have heard that there was abundant land in the area. The brothers moved into a log cabin 5 miles north of the mouth of the Manatee River. Four years later Hector had drowned while trying to cross the Manatee River on his horse during a hurricane. Despite this tragic event, Joseph decided he would still build his sugar plantation, the Braden sugar mill at the mouth of the Manatee River and the Braden River. He later built a dock where Main Street was and fortified the area near his house building a stockade. A few years later in 1851, he would build the Braden Castle, which was made out of tabby and served as his residence. It would later become a popular tourist attraction in the early 1900s with Tin Can Tourists. He would only stay there for the next six years before moving to Tallahassee, Florida, Tallahassee. Manatee County had the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Gamble Plantation, a sugar plantation that was one of the South's finest. When Manatee County was created in 1855, it included all of what are now Charlotte County, Florida, Charlotte County, DeSoto County, Florida, DeSoto County, Glades County, Florida, Glades County, Hardee County, Florida, Hardee County, Highlands County, Florida, Highlands County, Sarasota County, Florida, Sarasota County and part of Lee County, Florida, Lee County
GeographyAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (%) is water.
Adjacent counties* Hillsborough County, Florida, Hillsborough County – north * Polk County, Florida, Polk County – northeast * Hardee County, Florida, Hardee County – east * DeSoto County, Florida, DeSoto County – southeast * Sarasota County, Florida, Sarasota County – south
State & Nationally protected areasin Myakka River State Park * De Soto National Memorial * Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge * Lake Manatee State Park * Terra Ceia Preserve, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park * Myakka River State Park * Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site
Rivers* Manatee River ** Wares Creek ** Braden River *** Gamble Creek
Lakes* Ward Lake (Florida), Ward Lake * Lake Parrish * Lake Manatee
DemographicsIn 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county's population was 385,571. The racial makeup of the county was 86.2% Race (United States Census), White, 9.2% Race (United States Census), Black or Race (United States Census), African American, 0.5% Race (United States Census), Native American, 1.8% Race (United States Census), Asian, 0.1% Race (United States Census), Pacific Islander, and 1.8% from two or more races. 16.1% of the population were Race (United States Census), Hispanic or Race (United States Census), Latino of any race. As of the census of 2000, there were 264,002 people, 112,460 households, and 73,773 families residing in the county. The population density was 356/sq mi (138/km2). There were 138,128 housing units at an average density of 186/sq mi (72/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.36% Race (United States Census), White, 8.19% Race (United States Census), Black or Race (United States Census), African American, 0.28% Race (United States Census), Native American, 0.90% Race (United States Census), Asian, 0.05% Race (United States Census), Pacific Islander, 2.84% from Race (United States Census), other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 9.30% of the population were Race (United States Census), Hispanic or Race (United States Census), Latino of any race. In 2000 there were 112,460 households, out of which 23.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were Marriage, married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.78. In the county, the population was spread out, with 20.70% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 24.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males. The median income for a household in the county was $38,673, and the median income for a family was $46,576. Males had a median income of $31,607 versus $25,007 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,388. About 7.10% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.30% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those age 65 or over.
EconomyBealls (Florida), Bealls of Florida has its headquarters and was founded 1915 in unincorporated area, unincorporated Manatee County. Tropicana was founded here in the 1950s. They were later bought by PepsiCo but continue to produce products there today.
LibrariesThe Manatee County Public Library System offers a collection of adult, young adult, and children's materials, as well as a genealogy section and the Eaton Florida History Reading Room. Public computers for all to use are available at all library locations. The library's online resources include licensing to OverDrive, Inc., Hoopla (digital media service), and Freegal Music. The library also hosts an online digital collection featuring historic images and documents from Manatee County during the late nineteenth century to the early 1980
History of librariesManatee County's first public library was a privately owned rental library created by Julia Fuller at the Mrs. Bass Dry Goods store in 1898. The county's first independent library opened in Bradenton in 1907, followed a Carnegie Library in Palmetto in 1914 and another in Bradenton in 1918. For much of the 20th century, both cities' libraries were free to city residents while county residents had to pay a non-resident fee. In 1964, Bradenton's and Palmetto's library associations merged with the Manatee County government to create the Manatee County Public Library System. This was followed by the establishment of a bookmobile for rural areas in 1964 and a Talking Books program for the blind in 1966. As demands on the bookmobile grew and the library collection outstripped the existing buildings in Bradenton and Palmetto, the first branch of the Manatee County Public Library system was built in Bayshore in 1967, followed by a new branch on East Ninth Street in 1969 and an Island branch in 1971, the last of which later moved into a new building in 1983. A new building for the Palmetto Library was built in 1969, followed by the modern Central Public Library in downtown Bradenton in 1978. The 1990s saw a period of rapid growth in Manatee County, and the library system grew accordingly, with the Braden River, Rocky Bluff, and South Manatee branches opening in 1991, 1994, and 1998, respectively. The Braden River branch moved to a new building in 1997, bringing the Manatee County Library System to its modern state.
Awards and Recognition2016 Library of the Year- Florida Library Association
Primary and secondary education* Manatee County School District – Public K-12 School district serving all of Manatee County
Higher education* Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) Bradenton – Private, non-profit graduate school of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy * State College of Florida, Manatee–Sarasota (SCF) – Public, four-year state college, branch campus of State College of Florida
CommunitiesImage:Cities of Manatee County.svg, 400px, Map of Manatee County indicating incorporated municipalities:
Cities* Anna Maria, Florida, Anna Maria * Bradenton, Florida, Bradenton * Bradenton Beach, Florida, Bradenton Beach * Holmes Beach, Florida, Holmes Beach * Palmetto, Florida, Palmetto
Town* Longboat Key, Florida, Longboat Key
Census-designated places* Bayshore Gardens, Florida, Bayshore Gardens * Cortez, Florida, Cortez * Ellenton, Florida, Ellenton * Memphis, Florida, Memphis * Samoset, Florida, Samoset * South Bradenton, Florida, South Bradenton * West Bradenton, Florida, West Bradenton * West Samoset, Florida, West Samoset * Whitfield, Manatee County, Florida, Whitfield
Unincorporated places* Cedar Hammock, Florida, Cedar Hammock * Duette, Florida, Duette * Elwood Park, Florida, Elwood Park * Fort Hamer, Florida, Fort Hamer * Foxleigh, Florida, Foxleigh * Gillette, Florida, Gillette * Lake Manatee, Florida, Lake Manatee * Lakewood Ranch, Florida, Lakewood Ranch * Manavista, Florida, Manavista * Manhattan, Florida, Manhattan * Marsh Island (Manatee River), Marsh Island * Memphis Heights, Florida, Memphis Heights * Myakka City, Florida, Myakka City * Oak Knoll, Florida, Oak Knoll * Oneco, Florida, Oneco * Palm View, Florida, Palm View * Palma Sola, Florida, Palma Sola * Parrish, Florida, Parrish * Rattlesnake Key (Tampa Bay), Rattlesnake Key * Rubonia, Florida, Rubonia * Rye, Florida, Rye * Snead Island, Florida, Snead Island * Tara, Florida, Tara * Terra Ceia, Florida, Terra Ceia * Verna, Florida, Verna * Village of the Arts * Ward Lake (Florida), Ward Lake * Waterbury, Florida, Waterbury * Willow, Florida, Willow
TransportationManatee County has a county transportation service, Manatee County Area Transit, MCAT. It serves this county, Pinellas County, Florida, Pinellas County, and Sarasota County, Florida, Sarasota County.
Airports* Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport
Major Roads* Interstate 75 in Florida, I-75 * Interstate 275 (Florida), I-275 * U.S. Route 19 * Tamiami Trail, U.S. Route 41 * U.S. Route 301 in Florida, U.S. Route 301 * Florida State Road 64, State Road 64 * Florida State Road 70, State Road 70 * Florida State Road 684, State Road 684 (Cortez Road) * List of county roads in Sarasota County, Florida, University Parkway
Waterways* Intracoastal Waterway * Manatee River
Ports* Port Manatee
Political historyManatee County is part of the strongly Republican Party (United States), Republican Sun Belt. The area became a Republican stronghold following World War II and has remained so since: the last Democrat to win Manatee County was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 United States presidential election, 1944.
Law enforcement and justice
Sheriff's OfficeUnincorporated Manatee County is served by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
= Circuit Court= Manatee County is a part of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Twelfth Circuit Court of Florida.
= Court of Appeals= Manatee County is part of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal, Second District of Appeals.
Recent presidential election results
United States Senate
United States House of Representatives
Florida State Senate
Florida House of Representatives
Manatee County Board of County CommissionersThe Board of Commissioners include the following:
Voter registrationInformation as of January 12, 2019.
See also* National Register of Historic Places listings in Manatee County, Florida
Government links/Constitutional offices
Education and cultural resources