Bartow is a city in Central Florida east of the Tampa Bay area. The population was 15,340 at the 2000 census. According to the U. S Census estimates of 2005, the city had a population of 16,278. It is the county seat of Polk County. Bartow is also part of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town of Bartow was named in honor of Francis S. Bartow, the first Confederate officer to die in the American Civil War. Residents of the city are known as Bartowans. While Bartow itself is not a very large city - the Polk County cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven have larger populations - Bartow does have the distinction of being the second largest in geographical area . The city has been called The City of Oaks, The City of Oaks and Azaleas and The Capitol of Imperial Polk County.