Miami (/maɪˈæmi/ or /maɪˈæmə/) is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County. The 42nd largest city proper in the United States, with a population of 413,892, it is the principal, central, and most populous city of the Miami metropolitan area, and the most populous metropolis in the Southeastern United States after Washington, D.C. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami's metro area is the eighth most populous and fourth-largest urban area in the United States, with a population of around 5.5 million.
Miami is a major center and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an Alpha- World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States in terms of finance, commerce, culture, entertainment, fashion, education, and other sectors. It ranked thirty-third among global cities. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami "America's Cleanest City", for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets and city-wide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world's fifth-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the "Capital of Latin America", is the second largest U.S. city with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
The Miami area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous cultures. The Tequestas occupied the area for a thousand years before encountering Europeans. An Indian village of hundreds of people dating to 500-600 B.C. was located at the mouth of the Miami River. In 1566 the explorer, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, claimed it for Spain. A Spanish mission was constructed one year later in 1567. Spain and Great Britain alternatively "controlled" Florida, and Spain ceded it to the United States in 1821. In 1836, the US built Fort Dallas as part of its development of the Florida Territory and attempt to suppress and remove the Seminole. The Miami area subsequently became a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War.
Miami and its suburbs are located on a broad plain between the Florida Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east, which also extends from Florida Bay north to Lake Okeechobee. The elevation of the area never rises above 40 ft (12 m) and averages at around 6 ft (1.8 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. 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 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.
The surface bedrock under the Miami area is called Miami oolite or Miami limestone. This bedrock is covered by a thin layer of soil, and is no more than 50 feet (15 m) thick. Miami limestone formed as the result of the drastic changes in sea level associated with recent glaciations or ice ages. Beginning some 130,000 years ago the Sangamonian Stage raised sea levels to approximately 25 feet (7.6 m) above the current level. All of southern Florida was covered by a shallow sea. Several parallel lines of reef formed along the edge of the submerged Florida plateau, stretching from the present Miami area to what is now the Dry Tortugas.
Miami has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am) with hot and humid summers and short, warm winters, with a marked drier season in the winter. Its sea-level elevation, coastal location, position just above the Tropic of Cancer, and proximity to the Gulf Stream shapes its climate. With January averaging 67.2 °F (19.6 °C), winter features mild to warm temperatures; cool air usually settles after the passage of a cold front, which produces much of the little amount of rainfall. Lows sometimes fall below 50 °F (10 °C), but very rarely below 35 °F (2 °C). Highs generally range between 70–77 °F (21–25 °C). The wet season begins some time in May, ending in mid-October. During this period, temperatures are in the mid 80s to low 90s (29–35 °C), accompanied by high humidity, though the heat is often relieved by afternoon thunderstorms or a sea breeze that develops off the Atlantic Ocean, which then allow lower temperatures, but conditions still remain very muggy. Much of the year's 55.9 inches (1,420 mm) of rainfall occurs during this period.
Entertainment and performing arts
In addition to such annual festivals like Calle Ocho Festival and Carnaval Miami, Miami is home to many entertainment venues, theaters, museums, parks and performing arts centers. The newest addition to the Miami arts scene is the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the second-largest performing arts center in the United States after the Lincoln Center in New York City, and is the home of the Florida Grand Opera.
Museums and art
The city is home to numerous museums as well, many of which are in Downtown. These include the Frost Art Museum, HistoryMiami, Miami Art Museum, Miami Children's Museum, Miami Science Museum, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, home of the Miami Main Library. Miami is also the home of the world's largest art exhibition, dubbed the "Olympics of Art", Art Basel Miami. The event is held annually in December, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
Miami is a major center of commerce, finance, and boasts a strong international business community. According to the ranking of world cities undertaken by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC) in 2010 and based on the level of presence of global corporate service organizations, Miami is considered a "Alpha minus world city". Miami has a Gross Metropolitan Product of $257 billion and is ranked 20th worldwide in GMP, and 11th in the United States.