History Happened Here

A campaign commemorating Florida's diverse cities.
Brought to you by the Florida League of Cities.


Miami-Dade County

Year Founded: 1896Founded by: Julia Deforest TuttlePreviously known as: Village of Miami


Before Ponce de Leon reached Biscayne Bay (Chequescha) on May 4, 1513, Tequesta Native Americans occupied the southeastern coast of Florida. Radiocarbon dating of the Miami Circle, the only known evidence of a prehistoric permanent structure cut into the bedrock in the United States, placed a Tequesta village 1,900 years ago at the mouth of the Miami River.
In March of 1567, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés’ fleet, pausing in Biscayne Bay, was welcomed by the Tequesta villagers. Menéndez returned to establish a mission below the village.
The U.S. Army established Fort Dallas during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) to protect settlers. The Village of Miami was established at the end of the war. Fort Dallas was re-established during the Third Seminole War (1855-1858) and towards the end of the 1800s the population of Miami grew to 1,000.
Many early residents black and white came from the Bahamas and Georgia, looking for a chance to tame the wilderness and own their own land in a warm climate. In Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood, the Peacock Inn opened in 1982. The Inn attracted many visitors, and its employees established the Grove’s first black settlement.
In 1896, Henry Flagler’s railroad prompted Julia Tuttle to found the City of Miami. She is recognized as the only female founder of a major U.S. city. Overtown, Miami’s second-oldest neighborhood, was originally settled by black American railroad workers later to become a major commerce and entertainment center throughout 1940’s and 1950’s.
Mediterranean Revival and a new style of Art Deco architecture influenced by Miami’s tropical climate flourished throughout the City from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.
Miami’s economy rose sharply during World War II due to the installment of U.S. Armed Services bases and command centers. By the 1950’s, veterans, and tourists escaping cold weather, eventually set up permanent households increasing the population of “Miamah” to 172,000.
Miami Modernist Architecture or better known as MiMo, is a style of architecture from the 1950’s and 1960’s that originated in Miami.
In 1959, Miami’s population expanded as people began leaving Marxist-ruled Cuba. “Freedom Flights” from Cuba, beginning in 1965, added additional residents. Throughout the 1980s Miami became a destination for people from other Latin and South American countries, especially those from Nicaragua, Haiti and Brazil. The Mariel boatlifts of 1980 from Cuba resulted in a 7% increase in workers in the Miami labor market.
On May 7, 1983, artists Christo and Jeane-Claude with “Surrounded Islands”, brought together the most positive elements of the blossoming Miami community, which worked together to create something of beauty, “a triumph of epic fantasy.”
Natural and societal storms throughout the late 1980s, 1990s and 2000s only served to stimulate Miami’s self-realization as a world class city. Today, with a multi-cultural population surpassing 400,000 and three winning professional sports teams, Miami has become a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade: the gateway to the Americas. Miami is truly the Magic

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