Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States, east of Tampa. According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 100,710. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area (coterminous with Polk County), which had an estimated population of 623,009 in July 2013 based on data from the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research. It is twinned with Richmond Hill, Ontario; Imabari, Ehime, Japan; Balti, Moldova; Portmore, Jamaica; and Chongming County, Shanghai, China as part of the Sister Cities program.
The area was home to Native American tribes. Lakeland was settled in the 1870s and expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.
The first Paleo-Indians reached the central Florida area near the end of the last ice age, as they followed big game south. As...