The Miami area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Native American tribes.

The Tequestas occupied the area for a thousand years before encountering Europeans. In 1566 admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Florida's first governor, claimed the area for Spain.

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.

In the 1980s and 1990s, South Florida weathered social problems related to drug wars, immigration from Haiti and Latin America, and the widespread destruction of Hurricane Andrew.

Racial and cultural tensions were sometimes sparked, but the city developed in the latter half of the 20th century as a major international, financial, and cultural center.

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.

The city's nickname, The Magic City, comes from this rapid growth.

Winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.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.From top, left to right: Skyline of Downtown, Freedom Tower, Villa Vizcaya, Miami Tower, Virginia Key Beach, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, American Airlines Arena, Port of Miami, the Moon over Miami) is a major port city on the Atlantic coast of south Florida in the southeastern United States. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries.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 natural point in the city of Miami is in Coconut Grove, near the bay, along the Miami Rock Ridge at 24 feet (7.3 m) above sea level.