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County Listing for: Dade County Florida

 

Facts for: Dade County Florida
Miami-Dade County (known as Dade County until 1997 and many times referred to as simply Miami or Dade) is a county located in the southeastern part of the state of Florida. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the county population was 2,402,208 in 2006, making it the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States.[1] The county's population makes up approximately half of the South Florida metropolitan area population and holds most of the principal cities encompassing South Florida, making it the most important of the three counties that make up the area. The county seat is the city of Miami. The county is home to 35 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas. The eastern portion of the county is heavily urbanized with many high rises up the coastline, as well as the location of the county's central business district, Downtown Miami. The western portion of the county consists of the Everglades National Park and is unpopulated. East of the mainland in Biscayne Bay is also Biscayne National Park, making Miami the only metropolitan area in the United States that borders two national parks. The current county mayor is Carlos Alvarez. The earliest evidence of Native American settlement in the Miami region came from about 12,000 years ago.[2] The first inhabitants settled on the banks of the Miami River, with the main villages on the northern banks. Pre-European contact The inhabitants at the time of first European contact were the Tequesta people, who controlled much of southeastern Florida, including what is now Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and the southern part of Palm Beach County. The Tequesta Indians fished, hunted, and gathered the fruit and roots of plants for food, but did not practice any form of agriculture. They buried the small bones of the deceased with the rest of the body, and put the larger bones in a box for the village people to see. The Tequesta are credited with making the Miami Circle. European contact Juan Ponce de León was the first European to visit the area in 1513 by sailing into Biscayne Bay. His journal records that he reached Chequescha, which was Miami's first recorded name.[3] It is unknown whether he came ashore or made contact with the Indians. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men made the first recorded landing when they visited the Tequesta settlement in 1566 while looking for Avilés' missing son, shipwrecked a year earlier.[4] Spanish soldiers led by Father Francisco Villarreal built a Jesuit mission at the mouth of the Miami River a year later but it was short-lived. After the Spaniards left, the Tequesta Indians were left to fend themselves from European-introduced diseases like smallpox. By 1711, the Tequesta sent a couple of local chiefs to Havana, Cuba, to ask if they could migrate there. The Cubans sent two ships to help them, but Spanish illnesses struck and most of the Indians died.[5] The first permanent European settlers arrived in the early 1800s. People came from the Bahamas to South Florida and the Keys to hunt for treasure from the ships that ran aground on the treacherous Great Florida reef. Some accepted Spanish land offers along the Miami River. At about the same time, the Seminole Indians arrived, along with a group of runaway slaves. The area was affected by the Second Seminole War, during which Major William S. Harney led several raids against the Indians. Most non-Indian residents were soldiers stationed at Fort Dallas. It was the most devastating Indian war in American history, causing almost a total loss of population in the Miami area. After the Second Seminole War ended in 1842, William English, re-established a plantation started by his uncle on the Miami River. He charted the “Village of Miami” on the south bank of the Miami River and sold several plots of land. In 1844, Miami became the county seat, and six years later a census reported that there were ninety-six residents living in the area.[6] The Third Seminole War) was not as destructive as the second one. Even so, it slowed down the settlement of southeast Florida. At the end of the war, a few of the soldiers stayed. Birth of Dade County Dade County was created on January 18, 1836 under the Territorial Act of the United States. The county was named after Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War, at what has since been named the Dade Battlefield. At the time of its creation, Dade County included the land that now contains Palm Beach and Broward counties, together with the Florida Keys from Bahia Honda Key north and the land of present day Miami-Dade County. The county seat was originally at Indian Key in the Florida Keys, then in 1844, the County seat was moved to Miami. The Florida Keys from Key Largo to Bahia Honda were returned to Monroe County in 1866. In 1888 the county seat was moved to Juno, near present-day Juno Beach, Florida, returning to Miami in 1899. In 1909, Palm Beach County was formed from the northern portion of what was then Dade County, and then in 1915, Palm Beach County and Dade County contributed nearly equal portions of land to create what is now Broward County. There have been no significant boundary changes to the county since 1915.[7][8][9] The second-costliest natural disaster to occur in the United States was the disastrous Hurricane Andrew, which hit this county early Monday morning on August 24, 1992. It struck the central part of the county from due east, south of Miami and very near Homestead, Kendall, and Cutler Ridge (now the Town of Cutler Bay). Damages numbered over US$25 billion in the county alone, and recovery has taken years in these areas where the destruction was greatest. This was the costliest natural disaster in US history until Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf region in 2005. After the Cuban Revolution, exiles from Cuba migrated in large numbers to Dade County. On November 13, 1997 voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami.[10] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,431 square miles (6,297 km²), of which, 1,946 square miles (5,040 km²) of it is land and 485 square miles (1,257 km²) of it (19.96%) is water, most of which is Biscayne Bay, with another significant portion in the adjacent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay is divided from the Atlantic Ocean by the many barrier isles along the coast, one of which is where well-known Miami Beach is located, home to South Beach and the Art Deco district. The Florida Keys, which are also barrier islands are only accessible through Miami-Dade County, but which are otherwise part of neighboring Monroe County. Miami is the largest city within Miami-Dade County as well as the county seat, with an estimated population of 404,048. Miami is the only metropolitan area in the United States that borders two national parks. Biscayne National Park is located east of the mainland, in Biscayne Bay, and the western third of Miami-Dade County lies within Everglades National Park.

 

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