Miami (; MY-am-EE; Spanish pronunciation: [miˈami]),officially the City of Miami, is the cultural, economic, and financial center of South Florida. Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. It covers an area of about 56.6 square miles (147 km2), between the Florida Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay on the east, making it the sixth most densely populated large US city. The Miami metropolitan area, is home to 6.1 million people and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Miami's metro area is the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S.
Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an "Alpha−" level 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 good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world's seventh-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the "Capital of Latin America" and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
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.