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Miami (pronounced /maɪˈæmi/ or /maɪˈæmə/) is a major American city located on the Atlantic coast of southeastern Florida, in the United States. Miami is the county seat of Miami-Dade County, also the most populous county in Florida. Miami is a principal city and anchor to the South Florida metropolitan area, which had a 2006 population of 5,463,857; ranking 7th largest in the nation. The Miami Urbanized Area (as defined by the Census Bureau) was the fifth most populous urbanized area in the U.S. in the 2000 census with a population of 4,919,036. The United Nations estimated that in 2007, Miami had become the fourth largest urbanized area in the United States, trailing only by those of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Miami is a well-known global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, culture, fashion, print media, entertainment, the arts and international trade. An international center for popular entertainment in television, music, fashion, film, and the performing arts, Miami also has a powerful international influence. The city can also be applauded for being home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, as well as home to many international company headquarters, and television studios. The city's Port of Miami is the number one cruise/passenger port in the world and is known for accommodating the largest volume of cruise ships in the world, and is home to many major cruise line headquarters.
The area in which the city of Miami, Florida would later be founded by Europeans was inhabited for more than a thousand years by the Tequestas. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men first visited and claimed the area around Miami for Spain in 1566. A Spanish mission was established one year later. Fort Dallas was built in 1836 and functioned as a military base during the Second Seminole War.
The Miami area was better known as “Biscayne Bay Country” in the early years of its growth. The few published accounts from that period describe the area as a wilderness that held much promise. The area was also characterized as “one of the finest building sites in Florida.” However, the Great Freeze of 1894 changed all that, and the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle, a local citrus grower, convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railroad to Miami. On July 28, 1896, Miami was officially incorporated as a city with a population of just over 300.
Miami prospered during the 1920s but weakened after the collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression in the 1930s. When World War II began, Miami, well-situated due to its location on the southern coast of Florida, played an important role in the battle against German submarines. The war helped to expand Miami's population to almost half a million. After Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, many Cubans emigrated to Miami, further increasing the population. In the 1980s and 1990s, various crises struck South Florida, among them the Arthur McDuffie beating and the subsequent riot, drug wars, Hurricane Andrew, and the Elián González uproar. Miami remains a major international financial and cultural center.
Julia DeForest (née Sturtevant) Tuttle, (January 22, 1849 – September 14, 1898) was an entrepreneur, citrus farmer and businesswoman who was largely responsible for, and the original owner of, the land upon which the city of Miami, Florida, was built. For this reason, she is called the Mother of Miami. In 1891, when her father died and left her his land in Florida she relocated to Biscayne Bay. She then purchased the James Egan grant of 640 acres, where the city of Miami is now located, on the north side of the river, including the old Fort Dallas stone buildings, which she converted into her home and the pride of her life. Tuttle repaired and converted the home into one of the show places in the area with a sweeping view of the river and Biscayne Bay. Under an agreement between the two, Tuttle supplied Flagler with the land for a hotel and a railroad station for free, and they split the remainder of her 640 acres (2.6 km²) north of the Miami River in alternating sections. On April 22, 1896, train service of the Florida East Coast Railway came to the area. On July 28, male residents voted to incorporate a new city, Miami. Thereafter, the city steadily grew from a small town to a sophisticated metropolis.
- Miami is an international center for popular entertainment in television, music, fashion, film, and the performing arts
- Miami holds the distinction of being the only major city in the United States founded by a woman
- The city is also home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States
- The city's Port of Miami is the number one cruise/passenger port in the world
- Miami and its metropolitan area grew from just over one thousand residents to nearly five and a half million residents in just 110 years (1896-2006)
- Miami's skyline is ranked third most impressive in the U.S., behind New York City and Chicago
- Miami is the only major city in the United States bordered by two national parks