Fort Lauderdale, city in southeastern Florida and seat of Broward County. The city is located where the New River enters the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting center and a beach and fishing resort. Called the Venice of America, the city has an extensive network of inlets and canals that, with the New River, provides more than 266 km (165 mi) of navigable waterways. These waterways include a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway that passes through the city.

The cityís nearby artificial harbor, Port Everglades, has the deepest water of any port on the United States Atlantic coast south of Norfolk, Virginia. Fort Lauderdaleís beaches draw visitors from around the world, and tourism is a leading contributor to the economy. South Beach has a promenade of wide walkways for enjoyment of the cityís climate. The city is served by Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Institutions of higher education located in Fort Lauderdale include Fort Lauderdale College (1940), Nova Southeastern University (1964), a campus of Florida Atlantic University (1961), a junior college, and an art school. Fort Lauderdale is the home of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and its Museum of Art boasts a fine collection of ethnographic art from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, North America, the Pacific Islands, and West Africa.

In 1838, during the second of the Seminole Wars, a military post, probably named for Major William Lauderdale, was established on the site of the city. Permanent settlement began about 1876, and the city incorporated in 1911.

Fort Lauderdale covers a land area of 80.8 sq km (31.2 sq mi), with a mean elevation of 2 m (7 ft). According to the 1990 census, whites are 69.6 percent of the population, blacks 28.1 percent, Asians and Pacific Islanders 0.8 percent, and Native Americans 0.2 percent. The remainder are of mixed heritage or did not report ethnicity. Hispanics, who may be of any race, are 7.1 percent of the people. Population (1980) 153,279; (1990) 149,377; (1994 estimate) 162,842.


Miami, city in Florida. The seat of Miami-Dade County, Miami is located at the southeastern corner of the United States near the tip of the Florida peninsula. Its climate is marginally tropical, with hot, moist summers and warm, drier winters and an average annual temperature of about 24į C (76į F). Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, Miami grew rapidly because of its resort and recreational opportunities. Since 1980, however, a more diversified economy has emerged in the city and metropolitan region. Miamiís economy is increasingly international in its orientation; the cityís connections to Latin America are particularly vital.


The population of Miami increased from 346,681 in 1980 to 358,548 in 1990; it reached an estimated 373,024 in 1994. Recently the Hispanic, and especially the Cuban, population in Miami and the metropolitan area has grown rapidly. According to the 1990 census, whites constitute 65.8 percent of Miamiís population; blacks, 27.3 percent; Asians and Pacific Islanders, 0.6 percent; and Native Americans, 0.2 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, make up 62.3 percent of the cityís people.

Miamiís primary metropolitan region blankets a land area of 5037 sq km (1945 sq mi), bounded by Broward County on the north, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Monroe County on the south and west, and Collier County on the west. Five smaller cities form major centers within Miamiís suburban ring: Miami Beach, Hialeah, Coral Gables, North Miami Beach, and Homestead. Metropolitan Miami is the southern anchor of the Gold Coast Megalopolis. This 160-km (100-mi) continuous corridor of cities and suburbs is home to more than 4 million people and extends northward from Homestead in southern Miami-Dade County through Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, to the northern reaches of Palm Beach County.


Miamiís economy, until recently dominated by tourism, is increasingly diversified. Tourism still plays a significant role, with 9.5 million visitors staying overnight in Miami-Dade County each year. A sizable proportion of this flow is focused on the port of Miami; the cityís growing fleet of cruise ships has made it one of the worldís leading passenger ports. Trade is another important activity, and the city increasingly serves as the gateway between the United States and Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Banking and international finance have become major functions of Miamiís bilingual business community. Light industry is also important, and lightweight clothing is a notable product.

Miami International Airport is one of the nationís largest, and the city is served by an interstate highway, Amtrak railway service, and Tri-Rail commuter railway service to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. A heavy-rail transit system opened in 1984 as a single line through downtown Miami, connecting Hialeah and the Dadeland complex south of Coral Gables. In addition, a monorail circles through downtown.

The Urban Landscape

The central city of Miami covers a land area of 91.9 sq km (35.5 sq mi). Miami took its name from the Miami River, which in turn was named for a Native American term believed to mean "big water". The Miami River empties into Biscayne Bay (an arm of the Atlantic) at the heart of what is now the central business district. To the northeast of this point lies a series of neighborhoods and inner suburbs along Biscayne Bay, including Buena Vista; Miami Shores; North Miami Beach; and further east across the bay, Miami Beach and the oceanside suburbs to its north. To the south lie the luxury high-rise condominiums of bayfront Brickell Avenue and the offshore island suburb of Key Biscayne. The metropolitan areaís huge southwestern quadrant contains Miamiís Little Havana, a predominately Cuban neighborhood, and affluent Coconut Grove. Beyond these neighborhoods lie middle-to-upper-income residential developments that stretch from the city of Coral Gables, which adjoins Miami, for more than 30 km (more than 20 mi) through Kendall to the edges of the Everglades. The northwestern quadrant contains most of Miamiís black neighborhoods, Cuban-dominated Hialeah, and an outer ring of affluent suburbs, again reaching to the Evergladesí perimeter.

Parks and recreational areas line much of the metropolitan regionís coastal zone. These include the beaches of Miami Beach, Key Biscayneís Crandon Park, and Coral Gablesí Matheson-Hammock County Park. The inland zone also has a number of such facilities, including MetroZoo, Tropical Park, and Tamiami Park.

Points of Interest

Landmark buildings in Miami include Freedom Tower, Miami-Dade County Courthouse, and the Villa Vizcaya, a grand mansion built from 1914 to 1916 in the Italian Renaissance style. The monuments of the suburban ring tend to be hotels built before World War II (1939-1945), such as the Biltmore in Coral Gables and Miami Beachís seaside resorts. The southern end of Miami Beach, known as the Art Deco District, consists of more than a dozen restored hotels that represent some of the best art deco architecture in the United States. Additional tourist attractions include the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key, South Miamiís Parrot Jungle, and Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables.

Sports venues include suburban Pro Player Park (formerly Joe Robbie Stadium), the home of the Miami Dolphins professional football team and the Florida Marlins professional baseball team; downtownís Miami Arena, home of the Miami Heat professional basketball team and the Florida Panthers professional hockey team; and the Orange Bowl stadium in Little Havana, home of the University of Miami football team.

Educational & Cultural Institutions

Colleges and universities in the area include the University of Miami (1925), Florida International University (1965), Barry University (1940), St. Thomas University (1961), and Florida Memorial College (1879). Miami-Dade Community College (1960), one of the nationís largest two-year colleges, has five campuses in the region. Leading museums include the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, the Miami Museum of Science, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and the Lowe Art Museum on the campus of the University of Miami.

The Miami-Dade Public Library System maintains an extensive network of local branches, and the library at the University of Miami contains more than 2 million volumes. The city has a number of theaters and concert venues. The Miami-Dade County Schools system operates nearly 300 public schools; approximately the same number of private and church-supported schools operate in the region as well.


The Calusa or Tequesta people lived in the region of present-day Miami before the Europeans arrived. Spanish settlers built a mission at the mouth of the Miami River by 1567 and then a fort by 1743. The Spanish had largely withdrawn by the early 19th century, and Florida came under the control of the United States in 1821. Although most of southern Florida remained a wilderness through the late 19th century, the offshore water route remained active, and hundreds of homesteaders settled in the vicinity of the Miami River. Conflicts with the Native Americans persisted in the region until the 1880s, but once they ended, a new era of settlement opened.

Julia Tuttle, a local homesteader, persuaded financier Henry M. Flagler to extend his new Florida East Coast Railroad southward from West Palm Beach in 1896, thereby creating the first modern overland route to Miami. The city incorporated the same year. Flagler soon built a hotel next to his station, and the city immediately began to function as a resort. Development proceeded steadily after 1900, culminating in a series of real-estate booms in the 1920s. The city also began to mature as a transportation hub. Two major hurricanes curtailed progress during the late 1920s. Despite the Great Depression, progress resumed in the 1930s as resorts were developed. Miami Beach grew in the 1920s and 1930s and became a world-class resort after World War II. During the war, Miami served as a major military training area, and thousands of soldiers settled in the area after the war ended in 1945.

The region continued its steady growth in the postwar era. After 1960 the rapid draining of wetlands along the edge of the Everglades, along with highway building and the advent of universal air conditioning, facilitated a new wave of urbanization inland from the narrow sea-cooled coastal strip. Following Cubaís 1959 Communist revolution, tens of thousands of Cuban refugees settled in the city, and by the early 1960s they had created a vibrant new ethnic community. Although Fidel Castro, Cubaís new leader, soon terminated this influx, an additional 125,000 boat people from Cuba were admitted to the United States in 1980.

The 1980s saw a transition from heavy reliance on tourism to a more diversified regional economy, thereby enhancing employment opportunities for many. However, strong economic disparities remained among the races, and four race riots erupted in Miamiís inner city during the decade. Hurricane Andrew devastated the southern suburbs of Miami in 1992, resulting in the costliest natural disaster in American history up to that time. By the mid-1990s greater Miami had largely recovered, but its geographic position makes it vulnerable to future tropical storm hazards.

Miami is also experiencing an exodus of wealth and business interests northward from Dade County into Broward and Palm Beach counties. The city has become one of the poorest in the nation, and despite high property taxes, has cut services and still faces severe fiscal problems. In 1997 city voters turned down a ballot measure which would have abolished Miami as a separate entity and merged it with the county. County residents, however, voted to change the name of Dade County to Miami-Dade County in November 1997.

Bahamas, The, officially Commonwealth of the Bahamas, independent state, West Indies, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Bahamas comprise an archipelago of about 700 islands and islets and nearly 2400 cays and rocks, extending for about 1200 km (about 750 mi) from a point southeast of Palm Beach, Florida, to a point off the eastern tip of Cuba. The Biminis, the westernmost of the group, are about 97 km (about 60 mi) east of Miami, Florida. Only about 40 of the islands are inhabited. New Providence is economically the most important of the group and contains more than half of the Bahamasí total population, which is about 85 percent black. The other chief islands, all of which are low-lying, include Acklins, Andros, Cat, Crooked, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Great Inagua, Harbour, Long, Mayaguana, and San Salvador (Watling). The capital of the islands is Nassau (population, 1990, 171,542), on New Providence. The only other large town is Freeport (1980, 24,423), on Grand Bahama.

Possessing a pleasant subtropical climate and splendid beaches, the Bahamas are one of the most popular year-round resorts in the western hemisphere, visited in 1996 by 1.7 million tourists. Tourism plays a central role in the countryís economy. Because of favorable tax laws, the Bahamas have become an international banking center. Industrial activity is limited; it includes the transshipment and refining of petroleum and the production of steel pipe, pharmaceuticals, salt, rum, and shellfish. The unit of currency is the Bahamas dollar (1 Bahamas dollar equals U.S.$1; 1996).


In 1492 Christopher Columbus made his first landing in the New World in the Bahamas, on an island then inhabited by Arawak people. He named the island San Salvador; some scientists now believe it to be Samana Cay. The first permanent European inhabitants were not the Spanish, however, but the British, who settled Eleuthera and New Providence about 1648. During its early years the settlement was repeatedly attacked by the Spanish. The islands were later the stronghold of buccaneers and pirates, notably the infamous Blackbeard. The Bahamas were ruled by the proprietary governors of the British colony of Carolina from 1670 to 1717, when the British crown assumed direct control of civilian and military affairs. In 1776, during the American Revolution, Nassau was held for a short time by American naval forces, and Spain held the islands in 1782 and 1783; they became a British colony in 1787. After slavery was abolished in 1833, the result was a decline in both the economy and the population; an epidemic of cholera in the middle of the century further reduced the populace. Prosperity returned temporarily during the American Civil War (1861-1865), when the islands became a station for blockade-runners, and again during Prohibition (1920-1933), when rum-runners found them a convenient base.

In 1964 Britain granted the Bahamas internal autonomy. Some friction thereafter developed between white- and black-dominated political parties until the black Progressive Liberal party (PLP) won control of the government in general elections in 1967. Its leader, Lynden O. Pindling, then became prime minister. Independence was achieved on July 10, 1973. Pindling held power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but chronic unemployment and allegations of government corruption eventually eroded his support. In August 1992 the Free National Movement won parliamentary elections, and Hubert Ingraham became prime minister. Ingraham and his party were reelected in March 1997. Area, 13,935 sq km (5380 sq mi); population (1996 estimate) 259,367.

Nassau (The Bahamas), city, capital, and chief port of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, on the northeastern coast of New Providence Island. It is a world-famous tourist center, known for its fine beaches, colorful tropical vegetation, and the resort community of Paradise Island across the harbor. Among the landmarks of the city are the Parliament Building and Court House; Government House (1801), the official residence of the governor-general; and Christ Church Cathedral. Nearby attractions include marine gardens, at the eastern end of the harbor; Fort Charlotte (1787-1789); Fort Fincastle (1793); Ardastra Gardens, with many tropical and subtropical plants; and Jumbey Village, a reproduction of an 18th-century Bahamian community. The College of the Bahamas (1974) is here.

The site of the city, discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, was settled in 1656 as Charles Towne (for Charles II of England). It was attacked and destroyed by Spain in 1694 for harboring pirates and was rebuilt in 1695 as Nassau (for the family name of William III of England). American revolutionists held it briefly in 1776, and during the American Civil War (1861-1865) it served as a supply base for Confederate blockade runners. Population (1990) 171,542. Key West, city, seat of Monroe County, southern Florida, a port of entry on the island of Key West, at the southwestern end of the Florida Keys; incorporated 1828. The southernmost city of the conterminous United States, it is connected to the mainland by the Overseas Highway. The city's economy revolves around tourism, commercial fishing, and U.S. Navy and Coast Guard installations, and a noted artists' colony is here. Among the points of interest in Key West, which is the seat of a junior college, are the homes of the naturalist John J. Audubon and the writer Ernest Hemingway, a lighthouse (1846), and a tropical fish aquarium. Called Cayo Hueso ("island of bones") by Spanish explorers, who found human bones here, it has been an important U.S. port since the early 1820s. Key West was in Union hands during the American Civil War. Population (1980) 24,382; (1990) 24,832.

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