Miami is a major port city on the Atlantic coast of south Florida in the southeastern United States. As the seat of Miami-Dade County, the municipality is the principal, central, and the most populous city of the Miami metropolitan area and a part of the second-most populous metropolis from the southeastern United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami’s metro area is the eighth-most populous and fourth-largest urban region in the U.S., with a population of around 5.5 million.
Miami is a significant center, and a pioneer in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was categorized as an Alpha−World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States and 33rd among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round excellent air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs. According to some 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the wealthiest city in the United States, and the world’s seventh-richest town concerning purchasing power. Miami is known as the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises. Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the “Cruise Capital of the World”, has become the number one cruise passenger port in the world. Metropolitan Miami is a significant tourism hub in the American South for international visitors, ranking number two in the U.S. after New York City.
The Miami region was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Native American tribes. The Tequestas inhabited the area for a thousand years before encountering Europeans. An Indian village of hundreds of people dating to 500–600 B.C. was located at the mouth of the Miami River.
A Spanish mission was assembled one year later in 1567. In 1836, the US constructed Fort Dallas as a part of its development of the Florida Territory and attempt to suppress and remove the Seminole. The Miami area then became a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War.
The Miami area was better known as “Biscayne Bay Country” from the first years of its expansion. In the late 19th century, reports described the area as a promising wilderness. The area was also characterized as “one of the finest building sites in Florida.” The Great Freeze of 1894–95 hastened Miami’s expansion, as the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railway to the region, for which she became known as “the mother of Miami.” It was named after the nearby Miami River, derived from Mayaimi, the historic name of Lake Okeechobee.
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