Welcome To Miami Florida
Miami is a major city in southeastern Florida, in the United States. Miami and the surrounding metropolitan area are situated on northern Biscayne Bay between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. By population, Miami is the largest city in Miami-Dade County and the county seat, the largest city in the South Florida metropolitan area, which comprises Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County, making up the largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States and the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States. In addition, based on city limits, it is the second-largest city in Florida (after Jacksonville).
Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896, with a voting population of just over 300. In 1940, 172,people lived in the city. According to the 2000 census, the city proper had a population of 362,470, while the larger metropolitan area had a population over 5.4 million. The U.S. Census Bureau estimate of the population of Miami in 2004 was 379,724.
Miami's explosive population growth in recent years has been driven by internal migration from other parts of the country as well as by immigration. Greater Miami is regarded as a cultural melting pot, heavily influenced both by its large population of ethnic Latin Americans and Caribbean islanders (many of them Spanish or Haitian Creole-speaking).
The region's importance as an international financial and cultural center has elevated Miami to the status of world city; because of its cultural and linguistic ties to North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean it is sometimes called "The Gateway of the Americas." Florida's large Spanish-speaking population and strong economic ties to Latin America also make Miami and the surrounding region an important center of the Hispanic world.
Practically all major foreign countries today maintain consulates in Miami. The city has been involved in numerous political controversies with nearby Cuba and Fidel Castro.
The earliest evidence of Native American settlement in the Miami region can be dated back 12,000 years ago. . The first inhabitants settled on the banks of the Miami River, with the main villages on the northern banks.
The inhabitants at the time of first European contact were the Tequesta people, who controlled much of southeastern Florida, including what is now Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and the southern part of Palm Beach County. The Tequesta Indians fished, hunted, and gathered the fruit and roots of plants for food, but did not practice any form of agriculture. They buried the small bones of the deceased with the rest of the body, and put the larger bones in a box for the village people to see. The Tequesta are credited with making the Miami Circle.
Juan Ponce de León was the first European to visit the area in 1513 by sailing into Biscayne Bay. His journal records that he reached Chequescha, which was Miami's first recorded name. It is unknown whether he came ashore or made contact with the Indians. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men made the first recorded landing when they visited the Tequesta settlement in 1566 while looking for Avilés' missing son, shipwrecked a year earlier. Spanish soldiers led by Father Francisco Villarreal built a Jesuit mission at the mouth of the Miami River a year later but it was short-lived. After the Spaniards left, the Tequesta Indians were left to fend themselves from European-introduced diseases like smallpox. By 1711, the Tequesta sent a couple of local chiefs to Havana, Cuba to ask if they could migrate there. The Cubans sent two ships to help them, but Spanish illnesses struck and most of the Indians died.
The first permanent European settlers arrived in the early 1800s. People came from the Bahamas to South Florida and the Keys to hunt for treasure from the ships that ran aground on the treacherous Great Florida reef. Some accepted Spanish land offers along the Miami River. At about the same time, the Seminole Indians arrived, along with a group of runaway slaves. The area was affected by the Second Seminole War, during which Major William S. Harney led several raids against the Indians. Most non-Indian residents were soldiers stationed at Fort Dallas. It was the most devastating Indian war in American history, causing almost a total loss of population in the Miami area.
After the Second Seminole War ended in 1842, William English, re-established a plantation started by his uncle on the Miami River. He charted the “Village of Miami” on the south bank of the Miami River and sold several plots of land. In 1844, Miami became the county seat, and six years later a census reported that there were ninety-six residents living in the area. The Third Seminole War (1855-1858) was not as destructive as the second one. Even so, it slowed down the settlement of southeast Florida. At the end of the war, a few of the soldiers stayed.
In 1891, a wealthy Cleveland, Ohio woman named Julia Tuttle purchased an enormous citrus plantation in the Miami area, augmenting a smaller plot of land she inherited from her father to make a total of 640 acres. Tuttle’s husband, Frederick Tuttle, died in 1886, and she decided to move to South Florida due to the “delicate health” of her children. She and William Brickell tried to get railroad magnate Henry Flagler to expand his rail line, the Florida East Coast Railroad, southward to the area, but he initially declined.
However, in the winter of 1894, Florida was struck by cold weather that destroyed virtually the entire citrus crop in the state. A few months later on the night of February 7, 1895, Florida was hit by another freeze. That freeze wiped out whatever crops survived the first one, and the new trees. Unlike the rest of the state, Miami was unaffected, and Tuttle's citrus became the only citrus on the market that year. Tuttle wrote to Flagler again, persuading him to visit the area and to see it for himself. Flagler did so, and concluded at the end of his first day that the area was ripe for expansion. He made the decision to extend his railroad to Miami and build a resort hotel.
Miami Avenue in 1896
On April 7, 1896 the railroad tracks finally reached Miami, and the first train arrived on April 13. It was a special, unscheduled train, and Flagler was on board. The train returned to St. Augustine later that night. The first regularly scheduled train arrived on the night of April 15.
On July 28, 1896, the incorporation meeting to make Miami a city took place. The right to vote was restricted to all men who resided in Miami or Dade County. After ensuring that the required number of voters was present, the motion was made to incorporate and organize a city government under the corporate name of “The City of Miami,” with the boundaries as proposed. and the city was incorporated with 444 citizens.
Miami's growth up to World War II was astronomical. In 1900, 1,681 people lived in Miami, Florida; in 1910, 5,471; in 1920, 29,571; in 1930, 110,637. As thousands of people moved to the area in the early 1900s, the need for more land quickly became apparent. Up until then, the Florida Everglades extended eastward to as close as three miles from Biscayne Bay. Beginning in 1906, canals were made to remove some of the water from those lands. During the early 1920s, the authorities of Miami allowed gambling and were very lax in regulating Prohibition, so thousands of people migrated from the northern United States to the Miami region. The catastrophic Great Miami Hurricane in 1926 caused 373 fatalities and ended a large building boom. Between 25,000 and 50,000 people were left homeless in the Miami area. The Great Depression followed, in which more than sixteen thousand people in Miami became unemployed.
On February 15, 1933, an assassination attempt was made on President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Giuseppe Zangara, an Italian anarchist, while Roosevelt was giving a speech in Miami's Bayfront Park. Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago, who was shaking hands with Roosevelt, was shot and died two weeks later. Four other people were wounded, but President-elect Roosevelt was not harmed.
The onset of World War II greatly impacted the state of Florida. Many of the cities in Florida were heavily affected by the war and went into financial ruin, but Miami remained relatively unaffected. Over five hundred thousand enlisted men and fifty thousand officers trained in South Florida. After the end of the war, many servicemen and women returned to Miami, pushing the population up to almost a quarter million by 1950.
Following the 1959 revolution that unseated Fulgencio Batista and brought Fidel Castro to power, most Cubans who were living in Miami went back to Cuba. That soon changed, and many middle class and upper class Cubans moved to Florida en masse with little possessions after Castro began to curtail legal rights. Miami generally welcomed the Cuban exiles. In 1965 alone, 100,000 Cubans packed into the twice-daily "freedom flights" from Havana, Cuba to Miami. By the end of the 1960s, more than four hundred thousand Cuban refugees were living in Miami-Dade County.
Although Miami was not really considered a major center of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, it did not escape the change that occurred. Miami was a major city in the southern state of Florida, and had always had a substantial African-American and Caribbean population.
In December 1979, police officers pursued motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie in a high-speed chase after McDuffie made a provocative gesture towards a police officer. The officers claimed that the chase ended when McDuffie crashed his motorcycle and died. The coroner's report concluded otherwise. One of the officers testified that McDuffie fell off of his bike on an Interstate 95 on-ramp. When the police reached him he was injured but okay. The officers proceeded to remove his helmet, beat him to death with their batons, put his helmet back on, and called an ambulance claiming there had been a motorcycle accident. An all-white jury acquitted the officers after a brief deliberation. After learning of the verdict of the McDuffie case, one of the worst riots in the history of the United States, the infamous Liberty City Riots, broke out. By the time the rioting ceased three days later, over 850 people had been arrested, and at least eight white people and ten African Americans had died in the riots. Property damage was estimated around one hundred million dollars.
Cuban refugees arriving in crowded boats during the Mariel Boatlift crisis.
Later, the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 brought 150,000 Cubans to Miami, the largest in civilian history. Unlike the previous exodus of the 1960s, most of the Cuban refugees arriving were poor. Castro used the boatlift as a way of purging his country of criminals and of the mentally ill. During this time, many of the middle class non-Hispanic whites in the community left the city, often referred to as "white flight." By 1990 Miami was less than 12% non-Hispanic white.
In the 1980s, Miami started to see an increase in immigrants from other nations such as Haiti. As the Haitian population grew, the area known today as Little Haiti emerged, centered around Northeast Second Avenue and 54th Street. In the 1990s, the presence of Haitians was acknowledged with Haitian Creole language signs in public places and ballots during voting.
Another major Cuban exodus occurred in 1994. To prevent it from becoming another Mariel Boatlift, the Clinton Administration announced a significant change in U.S. policy. In a controversial action, the administration announced that Cubans interdicted at sea would not be brought to the United States but instead would be taken by the Coast Guard to U.S. military installations at Guantanamo Bay or to Panama. During an eight-month period beginning in the summer of 1994, over 30,000 Cubans and more than 20,000 Haitians were interdicted and sent to live in camps outside the United States.
The aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in the Miami area
Hurricane Andrew caused more than $45 billion in damage just south of the Miami-Dade area in 1992.
The City of Miami and its suburbs are located on a broad plain between the Florida Everglades and Biscayne Bay that also extends from Florida Bay north to Lake Okeechobee. The elevation of the area never rises above 15ft (4.5 m) and averages at around 3ft (0.91 m) above sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast. The main portion of the city lies on the shores of Biscayne Bay which contains several hundred natural and artificially created barrier islands, the largest of which contains the city of Miami Beach and its famous South Beach district. The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current, runs northward just 15 miles (24.1 km) off the coast, allowing the city's climate to stay warm and mild all year.
The surface bedrock under the Miami area is called Miami oolite or Miami limestone. This bedrock is covered by a thin layer of soil, and is no more than 15 m (50 feet) thick. Miami limestone formed as the result of the drastic changes in sea level associated with recent glaciations or ice ages. Beginning some 130,000 years ago, the Sangamon interglacial raised sea levels to approximately 25 feet (7.5 m.) above the current level. All of southern Florida was covered by a shallow sea. Several parallel lines of reef formed along the edge of the submerged Florida plateau, stretching from the present Miami area to what is now the Dry Tortugas. The area behind this reef line was in effect a large lagoon, and the Miami limestone formed throughout the area from the deposition of oolites and the shells of bryozoans. Starting about 100,000 years ago the Wisconsin glaciation began lowering sea levels, exposing the floor of the lagoon. By 15,000 years ago the sea level had dropped to 300 to 350 feet below the contemporary level. The sea level rose quickly after that, stabilizing at the current level about 4000 years ago, leaving the mainland of South Florida just above sea level.
Beneath the plain lies the Biscayne Aquifer, a natural underground river that extends from southern Palm Beach County to Florida Bay, with its highest point peaking around the cities of Miami Springs and Hialeah. Most of the South Florida metropolitan area obtains its drinking water from this aquifer. As a result of the aquifer, it is not possible to dig more than 15 to 20ft (4.57 to 6.1 m) beneath the city without hitting water, impeding underground construction.
Most of the western fringes of the city extend into the Everglades, a subtropical marshland located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida. This causes occasional problems with local wildlife such as alligators and crocodiles venturing onto suburban communities and major highways.
In terms of land area, the city of Miami is one of the smallest major cities in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, the city encompasses a total area of 55.27 mi² (143.15 km²). Of that area, 35.67 sq. miles (92.68 km²) are land and 19.59 sq. miles (50.73 km²) are water. Miami is slightly smaller in land area than San Francisco and Boston.
The city is located at 25°47′16″N, 80°13′27″W.GR1
Miami has a humid subtropical climate, with warm, humid summers, and mild winters. The city does experience cold fronts from November through March, however most of the year is warm and humid, and the summers are reminiscent of a true tropical climate. In addition, the city sees most of its rain in the summer (wet season) and is mainly dry in winter (dry season). The wet season, which is hot and humid, lasts from May to September, when it gives way to the dry season, which features mild temperatures with some invasions of colder air, which is when the little winter rainfall occurs . The hurricane season largely coincides with the wet season.
In addition to its sea-level elevation, coastal location and position just above the Tropic of Cancer, the area owes its warm, humid climate to the Gulf Stream, which moderates climate year-round. A typical summer day does not see temperatures below 75 ºF (24 ºC). Temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s (30-35 °C) accompanied by high humidity are often relieved by afternoon thunderstorms or a sea breeze that develops off the Atlantic Ocean, which then allow lower temperatures, although conditions still remain very muggy. During winter, humidity is significantly lower, allowing for cooler weather to develop. Average minimum temperatures during that time are around 59 ºF (15 ºC), rarely dipping below 40 ºF (4 ºC), and the equivalent maxima usually range between 65 and 75 °F (18-24 °C).
Officially, Miami has only once recorded a triple-digit temperature, the all-time maximum being 100 ºF (37.8 ºC), set on July 21, 1942. However, extreme summer humidity often boosts the heat index to around 110 ºF (43 °C). The coldest temperature ever recorded in the city of Miami was 28 °F (-2 °C) on January 27, 1940. Miami has only once recorded snowfall, on January 20, 1977. Weather conditions for the area around Miami were recorded sporadically from 1839 until 1900, with many years-long gaps. A cooperative temperature and rainfall recording site was established in what is now downtown Miami in December, 1900. An official Weather Bureau Office was opened in Miami in June, 1911.
Miami receives abundant rainfall, one of the highest among major U.S. cities. Most of this rainfall occurs from mid-May through early October. It receives annual rainfall of 58.6 inches (1488 mm) , whereas nearby Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach receive 63.8 in (1621 mm) and 48.3 in (1227 mm), respectively, which demonstrates the high local variability in rainfall rates. Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, although hurricanes can develop beyond those dates. The most likely time for Miami to be hit is during the peak of the Cape Verde season which is mid August through the end of September. Due to its location between two major bodies of water known for tropical activity, Miami is also statistically the most likely major city in the world to be struck by a hurricane, trailed closely by Nassau, Bahamas, and Havana, Cuba. Despite this, the city has been fortunate in not having a direct hit by a hurricane since Hurricane Cleo in 1964. However, many other hurricanes have affected the city, including Betsy in 1965, Andrew in 1992, Irene in 1999, and Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. In addition, a tropical depression in October of 2000 passed over the city, causing record rainfall and flooding. Locally, the storm is credited as the No Name Storm of 2000, though the depression went on to become Tropical Storm Leslie upon entering the Atlantic Ocean.
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Miami is the 46th most populous city in the U.S. The metropolitan area, which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, with a combined population of more than 5.4 million people, ranks sixth in the United States behind Dallas and is the largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States. As of the census of 2000, there were 362,470 people, 134,198 households, and 83,336 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,923.5/km² (10,160.9/mi²), making Miami one of the more densely populated cities in the country. There were 148,388 housing units at an average density of 1,606.2/km² (4,159.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.62% White, 22.31% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.42% from other races, and 4.74% from two or more races. 67.76% of the population were Latino of any race. 18.83% of the population were non-Hispanic whites. The ethnic makeup of the city is 34.1% Cuban, 22.3% African American, 5.6% Nicaraguan, 5.0% Haitian, and 3.3% Honduran. In 2004, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranked Miami first in terms of percentage of residents born outside of the country it is located in (59%), followed by Toronto (43%).
There were 134,198 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 18.7% have a female head of household with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,483, and the median income for a family was $27,225. Males had a median income of $24,090 versus $20,115 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,128. About 23.5% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.2% of those under age 18 and 29.3% of those age 65 or over.
Based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports Program, Miami ranks as the second most dangerous metropolitan area in the United States, based number of murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts that have occurred in the metropolitan area. The city proper ranks 14th.
The city ranks second-to-last in people over 18 with a high school diploma, with 23% of the population not having that degree.
A wide variety of languages are commonly spoken throughout the city. The City of Miami has three official languages - English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. Other languages that are spoken throughout the city include Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Russian. Miami has the largest percentage population in the U.S. among large cities (74%) of people who speak a language other than English at home.
2701 DeSoto Boulevard - Coral Gables
Originally a rock quarry, the Venetian Pool is situated in a residential area of Coral Gables. Used as a source of coral rock for construction during the early years of Coral Gables, the quarry was later turned into a public pool. Coral Gables Corporation architect Phineas E. Paist and artistic advisor Denman Fink designed a pool inspired by the lagoons of Venice. The Venetian Pool was completed in 1924. The pool is surrounded by several Spanish style buildings, a garden patio and a grotto. The grotto is carved from the coral rock of the quarry walls with waterfalls, a cave and a rock diving platform. Spanning one section of the pool is a Venetian style bridge leading to an artificial island with large palm trees. The terra cotta roof tiles, observation towers and loggias of the pool's buildings continue a tradition of Mediterranean-inspired design found throughout Coral Gables.
Everglades Safari Park
For some 35 years, Everglades Safari Park has provided a “river of grass” showcase, becoming one of the Florida Everglades’ largest, most complete attractions. The park offers several ways to observe the Everglades, including an Airboat Ride, Alligator Show, and a Jungle Trail. Airboat rides are guided by skilled narrators familiar with Everglades history, vegetation, and wildlife. The Alligator Show provides informative, interactive opportunity to become familiar with features of American alligators as well as other animals. A Jungle Trail leads to an Alligator Farm with more than 400 American alligators, a crocodile exhibit, and a replica of a Chickee Village.
26700 Tamiami Trail, Miami. (305) 226-6923
Everglades Alligator Farm
South Florida’s oldest working alligator farm on the Everglades edge (but not within Everglades National Park) has more than 3,000 toothsome gators to view in a rustic atmosphere. Farm visits include airboat rides and walking tours to see alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and snakes from Florida and elsewhere, along with the opportunity to be photographed holding a baby alligator. Originally started as an airboat ride attraction, transition began after 1985 changes in Florida law permitting alligator farming. In the 1960s, federal officials believed the American alligator was close to extinction and commercial farming was seen as a way to preserve these reptiles traced back to dinosaur times. Smaller gators are kept in grow-out pens with larger ones moved to breeding ponds where females have one clutch of eggs per year with up to 45 eggs. Scheduled entertainment includes Alligator Feeding and a Weird Animal Show.
40351 Southwest 192nd Avenue, Homestead. (305) 247-2628
For more information please visit www.miamigov.com.
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