Thousands of years ago, before Europeans arrived, a large portion of south-east Florida, including the area now known as Miami, Florida exists today, was inhabited by the Tequesta In. In 1566, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés first visited and claimed the area for Spain. Fort Dallas was built in 1836 and functioned as a military base during the Second Seminole War.
The Miami area was known as “Biscayne Bay Country” in its early years of its growth. There were a few published accounts from that period describe the area as a wilderness. The area was also characterized as “one of the best building sites in Florida”. After the Great Freeze of 1894, the Miami crops were all that survived. Julia Tuttle, a local landowner, convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railway to Miami. On July 28, 1896, Miami was officially incorporated as a city with a population of just over 300.