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Miami , known as the “Magic City,” is the southernmost city of Florida. Part of the South Florida region, it is 20 miles from Fort Lauderdale, 106 miles from Naples and 156 miles from Key West. It was founded in 1843 by William F. English and a group of settlers and slaves that followed him to the area. The city was finally incorporated in 1896 thanks to a deal made by Julia Tuttle to extend the Florida East Coast Railroad into Miami. The population of the city itself is around 404,000 people.
Note: This districting is incomplete, obviously. Please plunge forward and improve it!
Flagler’s railroad sparked a wave of expansion in areas such as Miami Beach, Homestead and Cutler. Soon after the railroad was built, the Overseas Highway was created; this highway connected the Florida Keys to the mainland. Growth and progress continued in Miami continued through World War I as well as the early to mid-1920s.
A devastating hurricane in 1926 halted Miami’s growth and temporarily put the city (as well as Miami Beach) in a recession. It was the city’s support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal that helped the city rebuild. Roosevelt almost lost his life, however, when Giuseppe Zangora attempted to assassinate him when Roosevelt came to Miami to thank the city for its support of the New Deal.
When a Nazi U-boat sank a US tanker off Florida’s coast, the majority of South Florida was converted into military headquarters for the remainder of World War II. The Army’s WWII legacy in Miami is a school designed for Anti U-boat warfare. After WWII, several soldiers decided to stay in Miami to become permanent residents.
Because of its proximity to the equator as opposed to other parts of the United States, Miami weather is often—but not always—warm. Although winter weather averages around 60 to 70º Fahrenheit, temperatures can fall to around 50º during the day and 40at night. Summer weather can go over 90º Fahrenheit (32º Celsius).
Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Drive, +1 305 672-2014, . Daily 10AM-10PM.
Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, 1920 Meridian Avenue, . M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa-Su 10AM-4PM.
Greater Miami and the Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, 27th floor of 701 Brickell Avenue, + 1 305 539-3000, . M-F 8:30AM-5PM.
Miami has the largest Latin American population outside of Latin America itself with nearly 65% of its populace either from Latin America or of Latin American ancestry. Spanish is a language often used for day-to-day discourse in many places, although English is the language of preference, especially when dealing with businesses and government. You will find that almost all locals speak English to a comfortable if not fluent level. Despite this, it is not at all uncommon to encounter a local who does not speak English at all, though this is usually centered amongst shops and restaurants in residential communities and not generally the case in large tourist areas or the downtown district. Even when encountering a local who does not speak English, you can easily find another local to help with translation if needed without much effort, since most of the population is fluently bilingual. In certain neighborhoods, such as Little Havana and Hialeah, most locals will address a person first in Spanish, then in English, rather than the other way around. Many times, although someone may speak English, their preference will be to speak Spanish and will resist speaking to one in English. Most locals will address a person first in Spanish before addressing English rather than the other way around. However, some people may prefer to speak in Spanish rather than English. "Spanglish", a mixture of English and Spanish, is a somewhat common occurrence (but less so than in the American Southwest), with bilingual locals switching between English and Spanish mid-sentence and occasionally replacing a common English word for its Spanish equivalent.
Haitian Creole is another language heard in Miami. It is not uncommon for a person to hear a conversation in Creole when riding public transportation or sitting at a restaurant. Many signs and public announcements are in English, Spanish and Creole because of Miami’s diverse immigrant population. Unlike Spanish, Haitian Creole is generally centered amongst the Haitian neighborhoods in the North of the city. Most Haitians are more adapted to English than their Hispanic neighbors. Portuguese and French are other languages that may be encountered in Miami. These languages tend to be spoken mainly around tourist areas. Most speakers of these languages have adapted to English as well.
The simplest way to get a response in English is to use the "approach rule," where most locals will only respond in the language they were summoned in unless they are not able to speak it. This rule can be used on anyone whether or not their first language was Spanish, English or any other language.
Miami International Airport (ICAO: KMIA, IATA: MIA) is located just west of the city in an unincorporated, suburban area. It is an important hub for traffic between North America and Latin America; therefore, Spanish is just as likely to be understood as English. The international traffic makes MIA a large and congested place. Be sure to allow extra time when departing MIA, particularly if flying internationally, as you may face an hour-long line just to check your bags. Curbside check-in is an excellent idea.