Miami – the only city created by a woman – is a big city and the center of southeast Florida.
But as destination almost completely out of the picture for a visitor who, of course, will both stay and have fun in Miami Beach.
This is where you land (Miami International Airport) and where you might end up on an excursion or on your way to the Everglades.

Magic Miami – more Latin than American atmosphere

Miami. Taste the name. Surely it’s magical? !!
We get associations to drugs and crime, celebrities and party life, beaches and sun and swimming – and much more.

A city that is more Latino than American. The majority have Spanish as their first language (which could be a problem). But nowadays practically all residents are bilingual. The city is characterized by Latin influences, which also applies to Miami Beach.

Miami

Miami – the only city created by a woman: Julia Tuttle, “Mother of Miami”

We are now where the mainland ends on the Florida east coast. A huge metropolitan area.
It is difficult to understand that the place was once just a small Indian village.

Recently, interesting finds were found at the Miami River outlet. The findings confirm the presence of the mysterious Tequesta tribe in the area before the Spanish conquerors took over. It is believed that the tribe took refuge together with the Miccosukke and Seminole tribes further west, in the Everglades.

It was Henry Flagler’s railway project at the turn of the last century that contributed to the real boom gaining momentum in the 1920’s.
Earlier not much more than a large orange grove and an old fort.

The place was called Fort Dallas and it was Julia Tuttle, “The Mother of Miami” who convinced Henry Flagler to let the railroad continue beyond West Palm Beach.

Julia Tuttle was an enterprising businesswoman who actually owned all of Miami and is the only woman in the United States to create a city.
She knew what she was doing and was later followed by other enterprising businessmen: the Lummus brothers, Carl Fisher, John Collins. However, these names are more associated with Miami Beach and South Beach than with mainland Miami.

Contemplate the following figures:

  • Population 1900: 1,681
  • 1930: 110 637.
  • Today, almost six million people live in the metropolitan area.

Miami’s decline and criminality

Despite hurricane damage, alcohol restrictions and general depression, the city retained its new role as a hub for entertainment and entertainment. In the 1930’s, the now famous Art Deco hotels were built in Miami Beach. After a minor slump in connection with the Second World War, the city experienced a new boost in the 50’s when it increasingly took over Cuba’s role as a holiday destination for pleasure seekers.

In the 1960s, the next major change took place, also as a result of the regime change in Cuba. The influx of thousands of Cuban exiles created the district Little Havana, which is far more than the main street (Calle Ocho) that we as visitors normally see.

The popular TV series “Miami Vice” reflected a life in the 80’s that was anything but sunny.
It was simply associated with danger to life that even as a tourist staying in the city that has become synonymous with serious crime. European tourists were even murdered.

Radical changes were needed by authorities at all levels to turn everything around.
Not only was it cleaned out among the criminal elements in Miami Beach – the entire famous beach city (including the beach) also got a facelift for millions of dollar.

Miami residents are usually bilingual

Nowadays it feels safe, no one needs to be more insecure on the streets in the middle of the night than in any other comparable big city. Exception: a few neighborhoods (like Little Haiti) where we have no reason to be after dark.

The language spoken is at least as often Spanish as English. Do not be surprised if you are addressed in Spanish. However, a large part of the population, not least the young, are fluent in bilingualism. The exception is mainly the older generation in Little Havana.

The area we are in is Miami-Dade county.
It consists of about 30 urban areas, in size ranging from the big city to small beach towns such as Bal Harbor, Sunny Isles and Surfside.

The central parts and other districts are worth a trip. In addition, many visitors actually set foot on the mainland (except at the airport) because they have a cruise on their agenda. Plus some want to see some sporting event in the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat have their home ground.

Right next door is the Port of Miami, one of the world’s largest cruise ports.

READ MORE: The shortcut to favorite places in Florida

Finally, two highly personal observations:
That large parts of the city actually escaped the US financial crisis. The South American influence (i.e. the money) continued. It is believed that Brazil was responsible for a new addition of both properties and new residents.
I clearly remember how the whole of Florida went backwards during the last US financial crisis. Nothing was noticed in Miami. As many high-rise projects and construction cranes as normal in downtown.

There is hardly any basis for the typical racism that otherwise characterizes much of the South (Florida included). It just does not work in an area where the majority of residents have a first language other than English.
So those Americans who could not cope with Cuban and other immigration left the city.
It is said that there was an internal expression among those who did not like their new neighbors:
“The last to leave, please bring the American flag.”

PETER SUNESON

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