Charlotte County, created from the division of DeSoto County in 1921, is named for
Charlotte Harbor, the large estuary that is its prominent natural feature. While some have
claimed this was in turn named for the English Queen Charlotte Sophia, it has also been
suggested that it is a corruption of "Carlos," a chief of the vanished Calusa
tribe. According to Hampton Dunn, the name was selected in a newspaper contest;
others nominated included Pineapple, Mullet, No-Fence, Avocado, Palm, and Stormproof. The county seat is Punta Gorda, Spanish for "wide point," a
reference to the peninsula wherein it is situated. Punta Gorda was once known as Trabue.
The present Charlotte County Courthouse dates from about 1926. Prior to that time county government was conducted in rented offices.
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