• Created in 1844 as "Saint Lucia County," it was renamed in 1855 in honor of George Washington Brevard, who served as Florida’s controller from 1854 to 1860.
• Native Americans may have lived in the area as early as 10,000 B.C.
• Ponce De Leon is believed to have landed on the beaches of Brevard when he reached Florida.
• Brevard is home to Kennedy Space Center, where the United States launched its first rockets and its manned missions, and where private industry will continue the nation’s rich tradition of space exploration. This designation led to its name as “Florida’s Space Coast.”
• Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1963 surrounding the space center, is home to 140,000 acres of coastal dunes, freshwater and saltwater habitats, scrub land, forest, and more than 1,500 species of plants and animals.
• The county’s area code became 321 in 1999 as homage to the countdown sequence used to launch space vehicles: “3...2...1... blast off!”
• In 1953, a special act of the Florida Legislature created the Canaveral Port Authority, an independent government agency that operates Port Canaveral. Businesses operating there have generated more than 13,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in revenue. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney all have cruise ships based at Port Canaveral.
• Florida Institute of Technology, a private technical research university in Melbourne, consistently receives national recognition for academic programs in engineering and science. Founded in 1958 as Brevard Engineering College, it adopted its current name in 1966.
• The University of Central Florida in neighboring Orange County operates a research institute called the Florida Solar Energy Center at its satellite campus in Cocoa. It is known as the largest and most active facility in the United States for research on renewable energy.
• Brevard has the third-highest collection of talent in Florida in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) with 47.6 percent. This is behind Alachua, the home of University of Florida, with 57.6 percent, and Okaloosa in the Panhandle, the home of three U.S. Air Force bases, with 49.2 percent.
How does Brevard County rank on the 2012 Central Florida Scorecard? Here are some highlights:
• Population: 543,600, the third-highest in the region behind Orange and Polk counties.
• College attainment: 27.9 percent, third-highest in the region and well above the regional average of 25 percent.
• Water consumption: 114 gallons per day per capita, by far the lowest in the region and well under the regional average of 154.
• Unemployment rate: 9.7 percent, which falls right in the middle among the region’s counties and well above the regional average of
• Voter turnout: 55.9 percent, the highest in the region.
• Charitable contributions: $3,300 per capita, tied with Volusia County for the second-lowest in the region.
Municipalities in Brevard
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