City of Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida, USA by Jorge Marco Molina:The area that would become Bradenton (originally spelled "Bradentown") was explored in 1539 by the Spanish during the famous expedition led by Hernando De Soto. Bradenton was established in 1842. The original town of Bradentown was incorporated in 1903. The city took the name of Dr. Joseph Braden, whose nearby fort-like house was a refuge for early settlers during Seminole Indian attacks. The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida legislature merged the cities of Manatee (incorporated in 1888) and Bradentown.

Bradenton is situated on the Manatee River just south of Tampa Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto discovered the area in 1539, an event commemorated each spring with the monthlong Florida Heritage Festival. Stroll along the waterfront downtown, take up canoeing, fish for grouper and mahi mahi, play golf or just relax and watch the sun dip into the sea.

Bradenton is served by Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport in nearby Sarasota, Florida and is connected to St. Petersburg, Florida by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The Sunshine Skyway is a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) cross-bay bridge that rises 250 feet (76 m) above the bay at its highest point. Remnants of the old Skyway bridge have been converted into a fishing pier extending into Tampa Bay from both sides of the bay.

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) buses serve Bradenton along with the cities/communities of Palmetto, Ellenton, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Tallevast and Samoset, with transfers to Sarasota. Free trolleys run north-south on Anna Maria Island, as well as to/from various points on the mainland. Amtrak charter buses run through downtown Bradenton outside the courthouse to Tampa Union Station and Venice.

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