Although not created until 1909 (from a portion of Dade County), the
history of the Palm Beach County (PBC) region and its non-Indian
pioneer settlers extends back to mid 1800s. The first permanent
non-Indian settlement was probably the U.S. Army fort built in Jupiter
in 1838. When the Jupiter lighthouse was constructed in 1860, civilian
settlers came to the area. The construction of the Lake Worth Celestial
Railroad, and later the Florida East Coast Railroad, opened up travel
to the region and encouraged population growth. In 1894 the City of
West Palm Beach was incorporated, making it the oldest municipality in
the County. In the early 1900s Palm Beach County experienced its first
growth spurt which led to the creation of three new counties from its
original boundaries: Broward (1915), Okeechobee (1917) and Martin
(1925). Palm Beach County's land area
Palm Beach County is the largest county in the state of Florida in area. As of 2008, the rapidly-growing county's estimated population was 1,294,654, making it the third most populous in the state and the twenty ninth most populous in the United States. Over 40 percent of the county's population lives in unincorporated areas near the Atlantic coast.
Palm Beach County is one of three counties comprising the South Florida metropolitan area, and having been formed in 1909, is the area's second oldest. Its largest city and county seat is West Palm Beach (Central County), which has an incorporated population of over 105,000 and an unincorporated population of 250,000. Boca Raton (South County), is the second largest, having a population approaching 90,000. Boynton Beach (South County), is the third largest city, with a population nearing 70,000 residents.
With wealthy coastal towns such as Palm Beach, Jupiter, Manalapan, a
nd Boca Raton within its limits, as well as equestrian mecca Wellington and golfing haven Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach County is Florida's wealthiest county, with a per capita personal income of $44,518 as of 2004.
alone is approximately 2,023 square miles (2,578
square miles including lakes).