The land of Miami was inhabited
by the Tequesta Indians over 10,000 years ago until the Spanish
arrived in the 16th century. The Spanish then lived on this
land for the next few centuries.
In 1891, a widow named Julia Tuttle moved to the area and
purchased 640 acres of land on the north bank of the Miami
River. She persuaded Henry Flagler, a railroad builder, to
extend the railroad into
Miami, which in turn, caused the building of a luxury hotel and interest
from others in building a new town. This resulted in the development
of Miami and the city was incorporated on July 28, 1896.
Because of the railroads and other city developments, thousands
poured into Florida. With its location near international waters,
Miami had a very diverse population with residents from nearly every
part of the world. Most of the city’s incorporators were from
African American and Black Bahamian decent.
Despite the whirlwind of new inhabitants, Miami fell into a deep
depression earlier than the rest of the nation because of a terrible
hurricane in 1926. Thousands of structures were ruined and the city
had to rebuild. However, Miami came out of its depression earlier
than the rest of the nation due to its role in the aviation industry.
During the depression, Pan American Airways began the era of modern
aviation with “Flying Clippers” from Miami Dinner Key.
Pan Am advertised Miami as the “Gateway to the Americas”.
Miami was used as a training ground for soldiers during World War
II. These individuals loved the spirit of the city so much that
after the war, many returned back to Florida. This created tremendous
In 1959, when Fidel Castro overtook Cuba, Miami became overwhelmed
with Cuban refugees—more than half a million. Miami then turned
into a bilingual city, with many more speaking Spanish than English.
In 1980, Miami experienced a tremendous wave of immigrants with
the Mariel boatlift. In just four short months, over 125,000 refugees
arrived in Miami alone. This was beneficial to the city, as they
helped transform it into a cultural wonder.
Miami did have its problems, however. During the 1970s and 1980s,
the city became further and further segregated. With its high African
American population, Miami was intensely separated by color and
experienced increased racial tension. Many outbreaks occurred, causing
some to die and over a thousand injuries.
In 1992, hurricane Andrew entered South Florida, leaving nothing
but destruction and damage in its wake. However, the city rebuild
Three years later, the City of Miami came into a financial crisis.
The state government created a supervisory board to watch over the
Today, Miami is prospering and real estate is a hot ticket. The
city is still a marvelous mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds.