Located on Florida's southernmost end, Miami is one of the most unique cities in the US in terms of cultural diversity. As South Florida's largest city and economic engine, Miami has much to offer visitors and residents alike - from a chic social scene to laid-back tropical vibes.
The earliest evidence of Native Americans in this area that became modern-day Miami can be traced back 10,000 years ago. Prior to the arrival of European missionaries and explorers in the 1500s, the region was primarily occupied by the Tequesta Indians. This semi-nomadic tribe relied on hunting and fishing and mainly lived along the shores of the Miami River and Little River.
However, the Tequesta Indians were not the first to set foot in this region. The Miami Circle - an area consisting of mysterious holes carved into limestone bedrock discovered in Downtown Miami - is also evidence of an ancient civilization in the area.
The first recorded European to reach Florida was Ponce de Leon. His arrival to the peninsula in 1513 marked the beginning of European interest in this area. He was closely followed by fellow Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who claimed the land for Spain when he landed in 1566, looking for his missing son.
This was followed by the establishment of the Jesuit Mission in 1567, which was abandoned a few years later due to hostility from the Natives. In the years that followed, the Tequesta population began to decline, mainly due to their inability to cope with diseases brought in by Europeans. This weakened them and made them an easy target for the neighboring Native tribes, forcing them to seek refuge in Cuba.
Despite the establishment of several missions and forts, the Miami area remained largely unoccupied until 1870, when the Brickell family opened a trading post - commonly referred to as Brickell Point - near the Miami River.
The arrival of the railway road from New York in 1896, followed by the incorporation of Miami as a city later that year, marked a new beginning for the town and its people. Commercial growth began in earnest following the Florida land boom of the 1920s. Since then, Miami has evolved into a world-class metropolis and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the US. You may even choose to stay in a hotel in Princeton, just a bit south!
The city is home to more than 450,000 people and is by far one of the most diverse cities in America. It's also one of the largest financial hubs in the country after New York.