History of Miami
Early Inhabitants and Spanish Rule
In the 16th Century, the village of Mayaimi was discovered by the Spanish people and the Tequestas, a Native American tribe, lived in it, possibly for two millenniums. The name Miami has today is said to be derived from the early name ‘Mayaimi’ which meant ‘big water’ possibly named after the tribe that settled by the Lake Okeechobee. The Spanish soon claimed the land and even opened a mission there to convert the natives to Christians. However, they failed at the task of the conversion and a lot of the tribe members fell ill and passed away.
They gave the area to Great Britain in the late 18th Century, only to reclaim it 20 years later. In 1821, the state of Florida got freedom from Spanish rule and came under the United States of America.
Freedom and Consequent Events
After being liberated from the Spanish, under the United States of America, Miami had a military base named ‘Fort Dallas’ when the Seminole Wars took place. The wars were some of the most gruesome ones in America and were instigated when the government tried to relocate the tribes and acquire the land. This enraged the Seminoles, who then fought with the government to protect their land and claim it back.
After that, however, the early settlement of the city we know of now started taking place and notable people like Julia D. Tuttle, who is also known as the ‘mother of Miami’ settled in the city.
After War Settlements and Development
Tuttle was a rich widow that had bought a plantation in the new city. She strongly believed that the city could serve as a major trade point and requested a millionaire to extend the railroad till Miami. Although her request was initially denied, the excellent growth of her citrus plants led her to be the lead producer even during the winter freeze that was experienced in the region.
The railroad was built in 1896, and in the same year, the city was officially incorporated with a small population of 444 people. Though the right to vote was only granted to males and much development was required, this was a stepping stone for it to become the grand city it is.
The millionaire, Henry Flagler, who made the railroad possible, also gave money to make proper ways, supply electricity and water and construct further buildings. The city would have been known as 'Flagler' but he insisted that should be named after the river and not him.
The Onset of Developments in the Twentieth Century
In the early twentieth century, the population of the city grew rapidly, which demanded further development of the land to give shelter to all residents. The construction of canals to remove water from the Florida Everglades that stretched across the Biscayne Bay to create more space for the use of the residents.
From that point onwards, the city grew and grew, because of the development and lenient laws relating to gambling. But the hurricane that struck the city in 1926 did a lot of damage to the development. The development started again but soon came to a halt due to the use of the city for WWII. The buildings and places were given for use of the military and that remained then scenario till the end of the war.
When Fidel Castro started ruling Cuba after the revolution, many Cubans fled to Miami for refuge. Though the original inhabitants did not approve of this, the government agreed to give them temporary shelter and later, permanent immigration. The ‘Little Havana’ neighbourhood still has the descendants of the people living and preserving their rich culture. Miami also took part in the Civil Right Movement of the country and faced much adversity.
End of the Twentieth Century and Recent Developments
In the late twentieth century, the city was a centre of the drug trade and many violent crimes were persistent. This trade, however, brought a lot of money into the city. The city took a strong blow when Hurricane Andrew struck. The city was one of the poorest cities of the USA and was in talks to be merged with Dade County.
A huge riot took place when a little boy named Elián González was seized by Federal agents which enraged the Cuban-Americans and led to a long battle. Due to the huge impact of the riots, the boy was released and left for Cuba. Several other incidents took place in the city.
In the early twenty-first century, the modern architecture and foundations for the tourist spots were laid. This regained the city of all its beautiful and luxurious skyscrapers, with two waves in the 2000s and the 2010s. These waves made Miami the tourist hotspot and trade centre that it is in present
What do you think about the fascinating history of Miami? Tell us in the comments.