Once a swampy backwater, the “Magic City” is now one of the fastest growing cities in the US and home to at least 5.5 million people.
The region has been inhabited by different groups of people, all contributing in different ways to its growth and development.
The area now called Miami was initially inhabited by the Tequesta tribe, hunter-gatherers living along the south-eastern Atlantic coast.
After Spanish “claimed” the area in 1566, tensions rose, causing the Seminole Wars between Native Americans and forces of the Europeans and United States Army.
These disputes continued until 1857, which saw the native tribes driven to the far borders of the state, with the eastern coast taken by European settlers.
Modern Miami is also the only major US city to be established by a woman.
Julia Tuttle was a wealthy citrus farmer, who used the excellent
growing climate to convince railway entrepreneur Henry Flagler to extend his Florida East Coast Railroad south.
With improved transport links, Miami thrived during the 1920s, growing from a town of 100 residents in 1896 to nearly five and a half million people in just 100 years.
Its nickname, the Magic City, comes from this “magic” urban growth of population and city development observed by winter visitors from one year to the next.
Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami are among the nation's busiest points of entry, especially for cargo from South America and the Caribbean.
Its location, bordering central America, is excellent for tourism and trade, as are sub-tropical warm, frost free winters.
In response to this, the city is growing at a rapid rate: since 2001, more than 50 skyscrapers over 120 metres tall have been built.
With the smallest land area of any US city, this “Manhattanisation” of Miami drives upward growth at an alarming rate.