It accommodates some of the world's largest cruise ships and operations, and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines.
The Miami area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Native American tribes.
The elevation of the area never rises above 40 ft (12 m) above mean sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast.
The highest undulations are found along the coastal Miami Rock Ridge, whose substrate underlies most of the eastern Miami metropolitan region.
During the beginning of the 20th century, migrants from the Bahamas and African-Americans constituted 40 percent of the city's population.
Whatever their role in the city's growth, their community's growth was limited to a small space.
The war brought an increase in Miami's population; by 1940, 172,172 people lived in the city.
It is the second-largest US city (after El Paso, Texas) with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
The city developed businesses and cultural amenities as part of the New South.
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.
Quigg, for example, "personally and publicly beat a colored bellboy to death for speaking directly to a white woman." The collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane, and the Great Depression in the 1930s slowed development.
When World War II began, Miami, well-situated on the southern coast of Florida, became a base for US defense against German submarines.