History of Miami, Florida

By | August 5, 2022

Miami was in the hands of the Tequesta Indians for thousands of years. They settled north of the Miami River. In 1566 a mission was founded by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés of Spain. The Spanish mission was given up again in 1570. For the Tequesta Indians, the immigration of Europeans was fatal, especially because of the diseases they brought in. Another attempt to set up a mission in the area failed in the middle of the 18th century.

The area of ​​today’s Miami was finally settled successfully by Richard Fitzpatrick in 1830. With the help of slaves he planted corn, bananas, sugar cane and tropical fruits. In the Second Semiolar War from 1835 to 1842, the Indian settlers were defeated and forced to move, and only a few families settled in Miami in the late 1890s. The attraction of Miami was that it was frost-free. The first train reached Miami on April 15, 1896. On July 28, 1896, Miami was founded.

In 1913, Miami Beach was opened up. In the years 1920 to 1923 the population doubled from 30,000 to 60,000 people. But things went bad for the city for a few years. However, after years of catastrophic storms and the Great Depression, things picked up again in the 1930s and the Art Deco district was built. World War II followed and the first wave of Cuban immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s. The Cubans fled the new government under Fidel Castro. At the end of the 1960s there were 400,000 Cubans in Miami and “Little Havana” was born.

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More Cuban refugees followed in 1980 with the “Mariel Boatlift”. Fidel Castro took advantage of this action and sent criminals and the mentally retarded to Miami. In the 1990s the presence of Haitians was recognized and Creole signs were placed in public places.

A visit by Nelson Mandela in 1989 caused an uproar. Because he had thanked Fidel Castro for his support against the apartheid regime, he was not officially welcomed, which in turn acknowledged Miami’s African-American population with a strike that ultimately cost the city 10 million US dollars.

Miami also gained notoriety especially in the 70s to 90s of the 20th century for its affinity for drug smuggling and the drug cartels there. A representation of this drug import can be found in the film “Cocaine Cowboys”. The documentary is dedicated to the story of the production of cocaine by the Colombians, the importation of drugs into the USA, the sale by the often Cuban drug dealers and the conflicts between the individual parties.

In 1992, the city was hit by Hurricane Andrew, which caused damage amounting to US $ 20 million. In the years 2000 to 2010 Miami experienced a “Manhattanization” in the sense that many high-rise buildings were built. In 2014 the Port Miami Tunnel was opened.

A look into the future

The limestone that is under the metropolis is called Miami Oolite or Miami Limestone. This is porous and permeable to water and is only covered by a layer of earth about 15 meters thick. As a result, Miami cannot be protected from the rise in sea levels by dams and is already regularly struggling with flooding. Studies have shown that the city will sink into the sea due to this location by the next century at the latest.


The Democrats are more likely to be on the left in the US, while the Republicans are more likely to be on the right. In County Miami-Dade, the Democrats have the edge, while in the State of Florida, Republicans are the predominant electorate. In the last presidential election, the Democrats received 64 percent of the vote.

Economy and Infrastructure

Miami is a major commercial and financial center. Several large companies have their headquarters in Miami and, due to its proximity to Latin America, the location serves as the headquarters of the Latin American branches of more than 1,400 multinational companies such as American Airlines, Fedex, Visa, Microsoft and Walmart. In addition, the metropolis in Florida is an important center for television productions, especially when it comes to media in the Spanish language. For example, Telemundo and UniMás have their headquarters in Miami. Many well-known music studios are also located there.

However, the majority of the population earns relatively poorly, usually several people work in a household, but the unemployment rate is about one percent higher than in the rest of the USA. Miami ranks third among the poorest cities in the United States in terms of the proportion of people who can only fall back on an income below the poverty line.

Income tax is not paid in Miami or any of the state of Florida. In return, property taxes, sales tax, and the cost of living are higher than in other parts of the United States.

History of Miami, Florida