city, seat (1913) of Seminole county, east-central Florida, U.S., on the St. Johns River and Lake Monroe, about 20 miles (30 km) northeast of Orlando. Permanent settlement dates from 1836, when Camp Monroe (late Fort Mellon) was established. A trading post called Mellonville had evolved by 1845, and in 1870 Henry Shelton Sanford, a former U.S. minister to Belgium, purchased land for citrus cultivation and laid out a town that was settled by Swedes. Sanford was incorporated in 1877, and in 1883 it absorbed the town of Mellonville. The South Florida Railroad from Jacksonville arrived in 1884, and the community developed as a citrus centre. After the citrus freezes of the 1890s, vegetables, especially celery, became important. Sanford's modern economy is based on tourism and industry, including high technology. Two history museums are in the city. Ocala National Forest is about 20 miles northwest, and Wekiwa Springs State Park is some 15 miles (25 km) southwest. Pop. (1990) 32,387; (2000) 38,291.
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