Miami, Florida, the seat of Miami-Dade County and the second largest city in the state. It lies on Biscayne Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, about 40 miles (60 km) from the mainland's southern tip. Across the bay are the city of Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, Virginia Key, and other islands. The Everglades begin just west of the city. Miami covers about 36 square miles (93 km2). The climate is subtropical, with warm winters and hot summers.
The tourist industry is one of Miami's main sources of income. Another is manufacturing; output consists mostly of consumer and light industrial goods. Banking, wholesale and retail trade, service industries, and construction are also important. The city is served by a rapid-transit system, an Interstate highway (I-95), several railways, the Intracoastal Waterway, Miami International Airport, and a seaport. The airport and seaport are major American gateways to and from Latin America.
Biscayne Boulevard, lined by hundreds of stately royal palm trees, and the city yacht basin flank Bayfront Park in the downtown area. On Virginia Key are Miami Seaquarium and the marine laboratory of the University of Miami. Just north of the city is Pro Player Stadium, home of the Dolphins of professional football and the Marlins of professional baseball. Other professional teams include the Panthers (hockey) and the Heat and Sols (basketball). The Orange Bowl college football game is played in Miami each year in January. Miami has many other sporting attractions, including horse racing dog racing, and jai alai games.
In the Miami area are the University of Miami, Barry University, Florida International University, and St. Thomas University. Miami has several art museums, a science museum and planetarium, and a museum of South Florida history. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a former mansion, displays art objects and furnishings. Miami Metrozoo, southwest of the city, is noted for its collection of white Bengal tigers.
Miami's municipal government controls certain local affairs, but the metropolitan government—called “Metro”—has wide powers. It replaced the county government in 1957, becoming the nation's first federated metropolitan-area government.
Spaniards in the 1500's found a Calusa Indian village here. Fort Dallas was established in 1836, during the Second Seminole War. Miami was permanently settled in 1870 and incorporated as a city in 1896, when Henry M. Flagler made it a railway terminal and began developing the site as a resort. The city grew during the Florida land boom of the 1920's. Large numbers of Cubans fleeing the Castro regime arrived after 1959. By 1980 more than half of Miami's residents were of Hispanic origin, the vast majority of Cuban descent, and in 1985 a Cuban-American was elected mayor. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew caused widespread damage south of the city.