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about Miami

Miami is a city located in southeast Florida in Miami-Dade County on the Miami River, between the Florida Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean, in the United States.

It is the county seat and largest city in Miami-Dade County (est. 2000 population: 2,253,362). As of the 2000 census, the city proper had a total population of 362,470.

Although the city itself is not large, the metropolis of Miami comprises many small surrounding towns, cities, and unincorporated areas, which effectively forms the Metropolitan Miami-Dade County consolidated city-county. Municipalities in the conburbation include Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles, North Miami Beach, Aventura, North Miami, Opa-Locka, Carol City, Miami Lakes, Hialeah, Medley, Miami Springs, Westchester, West Miami, Kendall, Pinecrest, Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Islandia, Sweetwater, Homestead, and Miami Shores.

Greater Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896, with a population of just over 300. Today, Miami-Dade County has over 2.2 million inhabitants, and neighboring Broward and Palm Beach Counties to the north have 1.6 and 1.1 million respectively, all forming the South Florida metropolitan area. Miami is considered a cultural melting pot due to its large Latin American and Caribbean population. Significant communities of Miamians include Argentinians, Bahamians, Bajans, Brazilians, Colombians, Cubans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Haitians, Jamaicans, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorians, and Venezuelans. Partially due to its Romance-friendly linguistic nature, it has also attracted a fair amount of Latin Europeans.

Three vessels of the U.S. Navy have been named USS Miami in honor of the city.

Miami geography

Miami is located at 25°47'16" North, 80°13'27" West (25.787676, -80.224145).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city proper has a total area of 143.1 km² (55.3 mi²). 92.4 km² (35.7 mi²) of it is land and 50.7 km² (19.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 35.44% water.

Miami history

Early history

The name "Miami" comes from a Native American word for "sweet water". The area was a concentration of water because the Miami River is essentially a funnel for water from the Everglades to the Atlantic Ocean.

Native Americans are known to have settled in the Miami region for about 10,000 years. Its most noteworthy early inhabitants were the Tequesta people, who controlled an empire covering most of South Florida.

Although Ponce de Leon attempted to settle the area in the early 1500s, his men could not defend the territory against the natives, so they kept to the more sparsely populated north. For most of the colonial period, Miami was only briefly visited by traveling Europeans when it was visited at all.

Miami was still largely uninhabited in the late 1800s, even following the 1857 cessation of hostilities with the the Seminole tribe (the only Native American tribe to never officially surrender or sign a treaty with the U.S. government). In 1891, a woman named Julia Tuttle purchased an enormous citrus plantation in the area. She initially pressured railroad magnate Henry Flagler to expand his rail line, the Florida East Coast Railroad southward to the area.

In 1894, however, Florida was struck by a terrible winter that destroyed virtually all of the citrus crop in the northern half of the state. Fortunately, unlike the rest of the state, Miami was unaffected, and Tuttle's citrus became the only citrus on the market that year. She wrote to Flagler again, persuading him to visit the area and

On July 28, 1896, the City of Miami was incorporated with 344 citizens.

Early growth

Miami's growth up to World War II was astronomical:

1900: 4,955 1910: 11,933 1920: 42,753 1930: 142,955 1940: 267,739

During the early 1920s, the authorities in Miami allowed gambling and were very lax in regulating Prohibition, and so thousands of people migrated from the northern United States to the Miami region, creating a construction boom and building a skyline of high-rise buildings where none had existed before. Some early developments had to be razed ten years after their initial construction to make way for even larger buildings. A catastrophic hurricane in 1927, followed by the Great Depression, ended this boom.

In the mid-1930s, the Art Deco district of Miami Beach was developed.

During World War II, the U.S. government constructed many training, supply, and communications facilities around Miami, taking advantage of its strategic location at the southeastern corner of the country. Many servicemen and women returned to Miami after the war, pushing the population up to half a million by 1950.


The 1950s saw Miami transformed by its neighbor to the south, Cuba. Mobsters were drawn to the city because of its proximity to the organized crime paradise of Batista-era Havana.

Following the 1959 coup that unseated Batista and brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuban refugees began travelling to Florida en masse. In 1965 alone, 100,000 Cubans packed into the twice-daily "freedom flights" between Havana and Miami. Later, the Mariel Boatlift brought 150,000 Cubans to Miami in a single flotilla, the largest in civilian history.

The city, for the most part, welcomed the Cuban refugees. Little Havana emerged as a predominantly Spanish-speaking community, and Spanish speakers elsewhere in the city could conduct most of their daily business in their native tongue.

The Cuban inflow slowed down in the 1980s, and was largely replaced by refugees from Haiti. However, because Haiti was not under communist leadership, the U.S. government was not as willing to grant residency or citizenship to the Haitian newcomers, and so the Cuban community has remained the predominant migratory group.

Since then, the Latin-friendly atmosphere in Miami has made it a popular destination for tourists and immigrants from all over Latin America, and the third-biggest immigration port in the country after New York City and Los Angeles.

Miami Vice

In the 1980s, Miami became the United States' largest transshipment point for cocaine from Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Again, geography played a major role: Miami was the closest U.S. port to the point of origin, so it was the most logical destination for smugglers.

The drug industry brought billions of dollars into Miami, which were quickly funneled through dummy businesses and into the local economy. Luxury car dealerships, five-star hotels, condominium developments, swanky nightclubs, and other signs of prosperity began rising all over the city. As the money arrived, so did a violent crime wave that lasted through the early 1990s and that has only begun to die down in the 21st century.

The popular television program Miami Vice, which dealt with counter-narcotics agents in an idyllic upper-class rendition of Miami, spread the city's image as America's most glamorous tropical paradise. This image began to draw the entertainment industry to Miami, and the city remains a hub of fashion, filmmaking, and music.

In the 1990s, various crises struck South Florida: tourist shootings, Hurricane Andrew, the Elián González uproar, and, most recently, the controversial 2003 FTAA negotiations.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Miami, Florida".

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