Cape Canaveral

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Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River. It is part of a region known as the Space Coast, and is the site of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Since many U.S. spacecraft are launched from both the station and the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, the terms "Cape Canaveral," "Canaveral" or even "The Cape" have become metonyms that refer to both as the launch site of spacecraft. In homage to its spacefaring heritage, the Florida Public Service Commission allocated "321" as the telephone area code for Cape Canaveral and surrounding counties.

Other features of the cape include the Cape Canaveral lighthouse and Port Canaveral. The city of Cape Canaveral is a few miles south of the cape. Mosquito Lagoon, The Indian River, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore are also features of this area.

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History

Humans have occupied the area for 12,000 years.[1] The Timucuans were there when the Spanish arrived.[2] The Onathaqua tribe or village was in the area. They were in alliance with the Calusa in 1564. They may have been part of the Ais tribe.[3]

In the early 16th century Cape Canaveral was noted on maps, although without being named. It was named by Spanish explorers in the first half of the 16th century as Cabo Cañaveral or Cabo Cañareal, which literally means "Cape Canebrake" (a canebrake is a dense thicket of cane vegetation). The name "Canaveral" (Cañaveral in Spanish) is one of the three oldest surviving European place names in the U.S.[4] The first application of the name, according to the Smithsonian Institution, was from the 1521–1525 explorations of Spanish explorer Francisco Gordillo.[5] A point of land jutting out into an area of the Atlantic Ocean with swift currents, it became a landing spot for many shipwrecked sailors. An early alternate name was "Cape of Currents." By at least 1564, the name appeared on maps.[5]

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