Miami is a city in southeastern Florida, bordered by Biscayne Bay on the east and the Florida Everglades to the west. Basically, Miami is divided into four main sections: North, South, West, and Downtown. Downtown Miami is actually located on the East side of the city. South Miami includes Coconut Grove, which is a historic neighborhood originally established in 1825. The West side of Miami includes Little Havana and other areas with immigrants from South and Central America. North Miami has a more diverse population with some of the wealthier residents living in Midtown. The climate in Miami is what is considered tropical monsoon and is characterized by hot, humid summers and short, warm winters. The city itself encompasses only an area of approximately 55 square miles, of which almost 20 square miles is water, making it very densely populated.
Native Americans populated the area before Spain and Great Britain gained control. After becoming part of the United States in 1821, population grew slowly. Cheap land prices in the 1920s led to many northerners moving to Miami, especially when it came time to retire. It wasn’t until World War II that Miami saw a bigger increase in population. The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a surge in Cuban refugees when Fidel Castro gained power in Cuba. Presently, Miami’s population is heavily Hispanic and Latino, mainly from South and Central America. Blacks from the Caribbean Islands also make up a large part of Miami’s populace. There are approximately 5.5 million people living in the greater Miami area today.
The economy in the Miami area is as varied as its population. Tourism brings in millions of visitors and dollars to the region. Its location on Biscayne Bay is an asset to several major cruise lines, such as Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Carnival Cruise Lines. Miami’s scenic location has also made it very attractive to the film and music video industries. Burger King, Telemundo, UniVision, and CompUSA are just a few of the major corporations who are headquartered in Miami. Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami are two of the nation’s busiest ports of entry, with most cargo coming from South America. This convenient location to the Caribbean and South America has also made Miami an ideal location for international banking. Large corporations, such as AIG, American Airlines, Sony, and Microsoft have set up their Latin American operations in Miami as well.
Miami’s cultural and entertainment is as diverse as its population. Operas, ballets, and concerts are performed at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Miami Fashion Week has become known across the country and attracts models from the world over. The Downtown area is home to several museums. Miami also brought disco to America, when TK Records recorded KC and the Sunshine Band. The Bee Gees, the Miami Sound Machine, and Gloria Estefan all call Miami home. Rap artists Pit Bull, Flo Rida, and 2 Live Crew all began their careers in Miami. Residents and visitors also have their choice of professional sporting events to attend, including the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins. With its beautiful weather, exceptional job opportunities, and diverse cultural events, Miami’s future seems to be unlimited.