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Florida Deed History

Before becoming a state in 1845, Florida became an organized territory of the United States on March 30, 1822. On March 13, 1845, Florida was named the 27th state. However, Florida had been inhabited long before that. The written history of Florida began with the arrival of Europeans when the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon made the first records in 1513.

When the United States first gained control of Florida in 1822, it agreed to honor valid Spanish land grants, which were claims filed by Florida settlers in order to prove land ownership. Hand-drawn and hand-colored Spanish land grant maps were used to establish ownership. A formal and complete survey of Florida lands was not conducted until almost 1830.

There are 67 counties in Florida. Escambia and St. Johns are Florida’s two original counties; both were formed in 1821. All of the other counties in Florida were apportioned from these two counties. The most populous county in Florida is Miami-Dade County. While Florida was still a territory of the United States, M. Crupper was the county clerk in Escambia County. The Clerk of the Circuit Court, the official custodian of deeds and records, was created by the Florida Constitution in 1838.