Marion County was created in 1844 from portions of Alachua, Orange and Hillsborough counties.
In addition, until 1853, Marion County included most of what is now Lake and Sumter counties.
Marion County is named after General Francis Marion of South Carolina, who was a guerilla fighter and hero of the American Revolutionary War.
Early in the war, General Marion led a band of 20 to 70 men which, at the time, was the only defense against the British in the entire state of South Carolina.
The county seat of Marion County is Ocala, which is also the largest city in the county with a population of 56,517. Marion County is extremely well known for breeding world-class race horses, garnering it the title of the “Horse Capital of the World.” Marion County was also the home of the first Florida-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby.
With Orlando and Tampa being only 75 minutes away, Marion County is in an extremely central and convenient location. In addition to the recreation offered in Orlando and Tampa, Marion County also features the world famous Silver Springs, which will become a state park in October 2013.
Today, the total area of Marion County is 1,663 square miles with a population of more than 331,000.