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Encyclopedia > Miami, FL
This article is about the city in Florida. for other meanings, see Miami (disambiguation).

Miami, Florida

City flag City seal
City nicknames: "The American Riviera"; "The Magic City"

Location of the city proper in the state of Florida

County Miami-Dade County, Florida
 - Total
 - Water

143.1 km² (55.3 mi²)
50.7 km² (19.6 mi²) 35.44%
 - Total (2000)

 - Density
(city) 362,470
(metropolis) 2,253,362
3923.5/km² (10,160.9/mi²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5


25°47' N
80°13' W

External link: City web page (http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/)

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 of Miami-Dade County, as well as its largest city. As of the 2000 census, the city proper had a total population of 362,470. The area is part of the Greater South Florida Metropolitan area, which is comprised of Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.

The city of Miami is the county seat of Miami-Dade County. The continuously-developed county is comprised of many jurisdictions and municipalities, including Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles, North Miami Beach, Aventura, North Miami, Opa-Locka, Miami Lakes, Hialeah, Medley, Miami Springs, Westchester (unincorporated), West Miami, Kendall (unincorporated), Pinecrest, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Islandia, Sweetwater, Homestead, and Miami Shores. Together they make Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in the state (est. 2000 Census 2,253,362). A more exhaustive list of municipalities and neighbhorhoods appears under Miami-Dade County, Florida.

When Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896, it had a population of just over 300. Today, a combined 2.2 million inhabitants living in the City and the surrounding urbanized area, in addition to the 1.6 million of neighboring Broward County and 1.1 million of Palm Beach County form the South Florida metropolitan area, the largest urbanized area in the state.

This explosive population growth has been driven by internal migration from other parts of the country, especially the U.S. Northeast, as well as by immigration, especially in more recent years. Today, Greater Miami is regarded as a cultural melting pot, touched by its diverse populations, the majority of whom originate from Latin America and the Caribbean. Partially due to its Romance-friendly linguistic nature, it has also attracted a fair amount of Latin Europeans.

The region's importance as an international financial and cultural center has elevated Miami in the eyes of many to world city status.

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




Miami is located at 25°47'16" North, 80°13'27" West (25.787676, -80.224145)1.

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.


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.

American settlement

Miami was still largely uninhabited in the late 1800s, even following the 1857 cessation of hostilities with 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 see it for himself: he did so, and concluded at the end of his first day that the area was ripe for expansion.

On July 28, 1896, the City of Miami was incorporated with 344 citizens (243 of which were identified as white and 181 as black).

Early growth

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

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 Fulgencio Batista and brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuban exiles 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 exiles. 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. As the Haitian population grew, the area known today as Little Haiti emerged, centered around Northeast Second Avenue and 54th Street. Additionally, into the 1990s, the presence of Haitians was acknowledged with Haitian Creole language signs in public places and ballots during voting. However, because Haiti was not under communist leadership, the U.S. government later under the Clinton administration created and implemented the Wet Foot-Dry Foot Policy, which was not as willing to grant residency to many Haitians seeking political asylum.

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

Today there are sizable populations of Argentinians, Bahamians, Bajans, Brazilians, Colombians, Cubans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Haitians, Jamaicans, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorians, and Venezuelans throughout the metropolitan area.

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.


Because of its proximity to Latin America, Miami serves as the headquarters of Latin American operations for many multinational corporations, including American Airlines, Cisco, Disney, Exxon, FedEx, Microsoft, Oracle, SBC Communications and Sony. Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami are among the nation's busiest ports of entry, especially for cargo from South America and the Caribbean. Additionally, downtown Miami has the largest concentration of international banks in the country. Miami was also the host city of the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations, and is one of the leading candidates to become the trading bloc's headquarters.

Tourism is also an important industry: the beaches of Greater Miami draw visitors from across the country and around the world, and the Art Deco nightclub district in South Beach (located in Miami Beach) is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.

In addition to these roles, Miami is also an industrial center, especially for stone quarrying and warehousing.

Several large companies are headquartered in or around Miami, including Burger King, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ryder System, and Wachovia.


Miami's main international hub is Miami International Airport, which is one of the busiest international airports in the world, serving over 35 million passengers every year. It is a major hub for American Airlines and is served by many international carriers.

The main seaport, The Port of Miami, is the largest cruise ship port in the world, serving over 18 million passengers per year. Additionally, the port one of the busiest cargo ports, importing nearly ten million tons of cargo annually.

Miami is connected to Amtrak's Atlantic Coast services.

Local public transportation includes Metrobus and Metrorail, a metro rapid transit system (both operated by Miami-Dade Transit). Furthermore, Tri-Rail, a commuter rail system, connects the major cities and airports of the South Florida metropolitan area.


As of the census of 2000, there are 362,470 people, 134,198 households, and 83,336 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,923.5/km² (10,160.9/mi²). There are 148,388 housing units at an average density of 1,606.2/km² (4,159.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 66.62% White, 22.31% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.42% from other races, and 4.74% from two or more races. 65.76% of the population are Latino of any race.

There are 134,198 households out of which 26.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% are married couples living together, 18.7% have a female head of household with no husband present, and 37.9% are non-families. 30.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.25.

In the city the population is spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $23,483, and the median income for a family is $27,225. Males have a median income of $24,090 versus $20,115 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,128. 28.5% of the population and 23.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 38.2% of those under the age of 18 and 29.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Miami is served by the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Colleges and universities

Notable secondary institutions

Sports teams

Current teams

See also: U.S. cities with teams from four major sports.

Defunct teams

The Florida Panthers NHL team plays at the Office Depot Center in neighboring Broward County, Florida. The Miami Fusion, a defunct Major League Soccer team played at Lockhart Stadium, also in Broward.

Miami is also the site of the Orange Bowl, an annual collegiate football championship played at Pro Player Stadium. The city has hosted the Super Bowl several times. There are also two well-known but largely disused sporting venues in Miami: Miami Arena and the Orange Bowl Stadium.


  • Bayside Marketplace
  • Little Havana
  • Coconut Grove
  • Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
  • Hibiscus Island, Palm Island and others
  • Lowe Art Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCa)
  • Miami Art Museum
  • Historical Museum of South Florida
  • Fairchild Tropical Gardens
  • Miami Seaquarium
  • Parrot Jungle Island

Miami in television and film

The video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City takes place in a fictional city very inspired by Miami, including some of the same architecture and geography.

Famous Miamians

Famous Miami natives

Notable Nonnative Residents

External links

  • Maps and aerial photos
    • Street map from Mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?latlongtype=decimal&latitude=25.787676&longitude=-80.224145&zoom=6)
    • Topographic map from Topozone (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=25.787676&lon=-80.224145&s=200&size=m&layer=DRG100)
    • Aerial photograph from Microsoft Terraserver (http://terraserver.microsoft.com/map.aspx?t=1&s=14&lon=-80.224145&lat=25.787676&w=750&h=500)
Regions of Florida
Central Florida | Emerald Riviera | First Coast | Florida Panhandle | Florida Keys | Lee Island Coast | Nature Coast | Orlando Area | Redneck Riviera | Space Coast | Treasure Coast | South Florida | Sun Coast | Tampa Bay Area
Largest Cities
Cape Coral | Clearwater | Coral Springs | Fort Lauderdale | Hialeah | Hollywood | Jacksonville | Miami | Miramar | North Miami | Orlando | Pembroke Pines | Plantation | Pompano Beach | Port St. Lucie | St. Petersburg | Sunrise | Tallahassee | Tampa | West Palm Beach
Alachua | Baker | Bay | Bradford | Brevard | Broward | Calhoun | Charlotte | Citrus | Clay | Collier | Columbia | DeSoto | Dixie | Duval | Escambia | Flagler | Franklin | Gadsden | Gilchrist | Glades | Gulf | Hamilton | Hardee | Hendry | Hernando | Highlands | Hillsborough | Holmes | Indian River | Jackson | Jefferson | Lafayette | Lake | Lee | Leon | Levy | Liberty | Madison | Manatee | Marion | Martin | Miami-Dade | Monroe | Nassau | Okaloosa | Okeechobee | Orange | Osceola | Palm Beach | Pasco | Pinellas | Polk | Putnam | Santa Rosa | Sarasota | Seminole | St. Johns | St. Lucie | Sumter | Suwannee | Taylor | Union | Volusia | Wakulla | Walton | Washington

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Miami, Florida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4354 words)
Miami and the surrounding metropolitan area sits between the Miami River, Biscayne Bay, the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean.
The area was a concentration of water because the Miami River is essentially a funnel for water from the Everglades to the Atlantic Ocean.
Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami are among the nation's busiest ports of entry, especially for cargo from South America and the Caribbean.
  More results at FactBites »



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