Miami, United States of America

Reference work entry


Miami is coextensive with Dade county and is one of the largest cities on the ‘Gold Coast’. Located between the Florida Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean, Miami is a gateway between the United States and Latin America. With its favourable location, extensive beaches and subtropical climate, Miami is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.


Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the site occupied by modern day Miami was first settled by Europeans in 1567 when the Spanish built a mission. In 1835 the US Army constructed a fort and Miami (meaning ‘great water’) was founded in 1870. It was incorporated as a city in 1896. The arrival of a railroad transformed the city’s fortunes and saw the advent of the tourist trade. In the 1920s a property boom and the arrival of multinational companies were a further boost to prosperity although two hurricanes in 1926 and 1935 caused severe damage.

After World War II, Miami beach became a popular area for celebrities while large numbers of Cuban immigrants fleeing from Fidel Castro’s regime also moved to the city, helping create a vibrant Hispanic community. Economically the city suffered in the 1960s and 70s, but the strengthening of links with Latin America and an increase in tourism saw Miami back on its feet by the 1980s. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated the suburbs of Miami. At the time it was the costliest natural disaster in US history.

Modern City

More than half of Miami’s economy relies on tourism. There are numerous hotels and leisure resorts, mainly around the Miami Beach area. In the last 20 years the economy has diversified with food processing, fishing, construction, printing and the manufacture of electronic equipment among the most important industries. Miami is also a trade and financial centre linking the United States and Latin America.

The city is served by Miami International Airport. Supershuttle minivans offer a 24-h transportation service and there are also Metrobus and Metro rail systems. There is a Greyhound bus terminal and a train station. Institutions of higher education in Miami include the University of Miami, Barry College, Florida Memorial College and the International Fine Arts College.

Places of Interest

The Art Deco District in Miami Beach has some of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States. Major cultural institutions include the Museum of Science, the Bass Museum, the Wolfsonian Museum and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. The Dade County Auditorium houses a resident symphony orchestra and a ballet company. Among the maritime attractions are the Miami Seaquarium and numerous water sports and beach recreation facilities.

Little Havana, a few miles west of downtown Miami, hosts a festival in March and has Cuban restaurants, shops and memorials. The Miami Dolphins American football team and the Florida Marlins baseball team are both based at the Sun Life Stadium (formerly known as the Joe Robbie Stadium).

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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