History in Miami

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It might be difficult to imagine the cosmopolitan of Miami as modest. More than 10,000 years ago the Tequesta Indians were the first inhabitants. They were able to peacefully live here until the Spanish claimed the land in the 16th Century. It was during the 19th Century, however, that Miami started to become an international hotspot. Bahama natives came to Miami to salvage shipwrecks and Seminole Indians joined them along with runaway slaves. This blend of cultures really became the paint that would make the picture of Miami today.

Miami truly wouldn't have grown without the help of a rich widow in 1891. Julia Tuttle bought 640 acres of land on the north bank of Miami River. Several years later she persuaded wealthy tycoon Henry Flagler to expand his railroad into Miami. In addition to a railroad, Flagler built a luxury hotel and a city layout. With only 300 residents, Miami became an official part of the nation in 1896.

In 1926 Miami was hit with a harsh hurricane that killed about 100 people and destroyed thousands of homes. The years that followed this devastating storm were even more crushing. During the Great Depression approximately 16,000 people were unemployed. Miami came out of this excelling. Much of the appreciation was placed upon the booming aviation industry and Pan Am, who sold Miami to tourists as the "Gateway to the Americas". Where Pan Am brought economic growth back to Miami, returning soldiers from WWII brought another population splurge.

A large part of Miami's culture and spirit is the Cuban influence. In the decade that followed Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959, there was a flood of Cuban immigrants to Miami. The majority of these immigrant settled in the Riverside neighborhood, which is now know as "Little Havana". Another wave of Cuban immigrants came in 1980 with over 100,000 refugees pouring into this area. The Spanish-speaking community is now home to an authentic Cuban culture plucked directly out of Cuba.

The luxury side of Miami was created out of the large shipment of drugs that came into Miami and was put back into the city in means of opulent homes, shops, and car dealerships. The 1980s television show Miami Vice was born from this. The image of a tropical paradise in Miami was projected to the nation. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew left a destructive path through the city. Miami showed its strength as a multicultural community by rebuilding into the place that draws in thousands of tourist ever year.


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