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An Indian village of hundreds of people dating to 500–600 B. A Spanish mission was constructed one year later in 1567.
Spain and Great Britain successively controlled Florida, and Spain ceded it to the United States in 1821.
Miami and its suburbs are located on a broad plain between the Florida Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east, which also extends from Florida Bay north to Lake Okeechobee.
The elevation of the area never rises above 40 ft (12 m) above mean sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast.
Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railway to the region, for which she became known as "the mother of Miami." Black labor played a crucial role in Miami's early development.
During the beginning of the 20th century, migrants from the Bahamas and African-Americans constituted 40 percent of the city's population.
The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current, runs northward just 15 miles (24 km) off the coast, allowing the city's climate to stay warm and mild all year.
View from one of the higher points in Miami, west of downtown.
As the seat of Miami-Dade County, the municipality is the principal, central, and the most populous city of the Miami metropolitan area and part of the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the "Cruise Capital of the World", has been the number one cruise passenger port in the world.
The highest undulations are found along the coastal Miami Rock Ridge, whose substrate underlies most of the eastern Miami metropolitan region.
The main portion of the city lies on the shores of Biscayne Bay which contains several hundred natural and artificially created barrier islands, the largest of which contains Miami Beach and South Beach.
Miami is noted as "the only major city in the United States conceived by a woman, Julia Tuttle", a local citrus grower and a wealthy Cleveland native.
The Miami area was better known as "Biscayne Bay Country" in the early years of its growth.