City of Lakeland
Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. The westernmost city in Polk County, it is part of the Tampa Bay Area. According to the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 110,516. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Native Americans began to live in the area 12,000 years ago. European-American settlers arrived in Lakeland from South Carolina in the 1870s. The city expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service, with the first freedmenrailway workers settling here in 1883. They and European immigrants also came because of new jobs in the large phosphate industry that developed. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.