Ocala Is A Urban Center In Marion County Florida
Ocala is a urban center in Marion County, Florida. As of 2007, the population recorded by way of the U.S. Census Bureau was 53,491. It's the county seat of Marion County as well as the principal city of the Ocala, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a projected 2007 population of 324,857.
Ocala is situated near the location of Ocale or Ocali, a significant Timucua village and chiefdom during the 16th century. The current city took its name from the historical village, the naming of that's believed to mean "Big Hammock" in the Timucua language. Hernando de Soto passed through Ocale throughout his famous adventure thru what is today the southeastern United States in 1539. Ocale is not described in any later accounts; it appears of having been abandoned in the wake of de Soto's attack.
From the 20th century, Ocala increased in importance as being a heart for tourism in Florida. Significant points of interest included the Silver Springs Nature Theme Park, Wild Waters waterpark, as well as the now-defunct Western-themed Six Gun Territory, all in nearby Silver Springs, Florida. Silver Springs is a 350-acre (1.4 km2) nature amusement park which envelopes the headwaters of the Silver River, the largest artesian spring formation across the globe.
Ocala began going through rapid development in the 1970s with all the development of the Interstate 75 along with the founding of Disney World, located some 70 miles (110 km) southeast.
During the last decades of the twentieth century, the greater Ocala area experienced one of the highest development rates in the nation for any city its size. The citizenry of Marion County in 2000 was over 250,000, up from under 100,000 in 1975. Most of the county's growth is thanks to the area's developing popularity as a retirement location, largely in two places south west and south from the city: the SR 200 corridor and The Villages, respectively.
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