Known as "Magic City," the vibrant metropolis of Miami is situated between the rugged terrain of the Florida Everglades and the miles of sandy beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Located in southeastern Florida in Miami-Dade County, the culturally diverse population on the Miami River is estimated at 390,191. The lush subtropical climate of this cosmopolitan city boasts a pleasant annual temperature of 75.9 degrees. Incorporated on July 28, 1896, Miami sits 12 feet above sea level and encompasses about 35 square-miles. The international hot spot of Miami touts more than 100 historic locations and landmarks, world-class fashion, museums, art galleries, theaters, luxury accommodations and fine dining. In addition, Miami offers dynamic sports events, entertainment venues, parks, marinas, beaches, and a sea aquarium.
More than 10,000 years ago, the Tequesta Indians enjoyed the area now known as Miami, until Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century. By the 19th century, treasure hunters from the Bahamas flocked to the shipwrecks of the Great Florida Reef, along with Seminole Indians and runaway slaves. In 1891, a widow named Julia Tuttle came to Florida, buying 640 acres of land on the north bank of the Miami River. With her visionary attitude, Tuttle persuaded railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to bring his railroad from northern Florida to Miami. Flagler also built a luxury hotel and made grand plans for "the birth of a new city." Thousands moved to Miami as a direct result of these modern developments.
Despite the Great Depression in the 1930s, Pan-American Airways launched the "Flying Clippers" and declared Miami to be the "Gateway to the Americas." In 1959, as Fidel Castro assumed leadership in Cuba, a mere 90 miles away, more than half a million Cubans sought refuge in Miami and South Florida. Miami weathered another wave of intense immigration in 1980, known as the Mariel Boatlift, when about 125,000 Cuban refugees flocked to Miami. Today's Miami reflects its immigration history, with more than half of its large Latin-American population originally from Cuba.
Since 2001, Miami's city-wide improvement program (valued at more than $500 million) has brought upgrades and enhancements to each of its 13 neighborhoods. With a sunny future in mind, "Midtown Miami," a $1.2 billion residential and commercial development is planned.