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Miami History

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 growth.

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 soon thereafter.

Three years later, the City of Miami came into a financial crisis. The state government created a supervisory board to watch over the municipal services.

Today, Miami is prospering and real estate is a hot ticket. The city is still a marvelous mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds.


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