Tallahassee (tăləhăsˈē) [key], city (1990 pop. 124,773), state capital and seat of Leon co., NW Fla.; inc. 1825. Tallahassee is a wholesale trade and distribution center for the surrounding lumber, livestock, and agricultural area. The state government, Florida State Univ., and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical Univ. are major sources of employment. Lumber and wood products are manufactured, and food is processed. The city, which was one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities in the late 20th cent., lies in a hilly region known for its lakes, springs, forests, and picturesque gardens.
When Hernando De Soto arrived there in 1539, he found a flourishing Apalachee settlement. Spanish missionaries and settlers followed, but the Apalachee village remained the major settlement until Tallahassee was founded (1824) as the capital of the Florida Territory. The ordinance of secession was adopted there in 1861. The city successfully resisted Union attempts to capture it; a nearby state monument marks the site of the battle of Natural Bridge (Mar., 1865), where Tallahassee cadets helped repel a Union attack. The capitol (1845; remodeled 1901) contains the state library. The graves of Prince Achille Murat (Napoleon I's nephew) and his wife are there. The city is noted for its old homes and antebellum charm. Nearby are Apalachicola National Forest and Wakulla Springs.