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While the modern history of Dade County begins with the arrival of the first permanent white settlers, in the early part of the 19th century, the remoteness of the area limited its development to a handful of farms and plantations, plus a few small settlements, until the arrival of the railroad in 1896. The city of Miami was incorporated in the same year.

The original Dade County settlements were all built near the Biscayne Bay, but the great influx of new residents, in the early 1900s, made it necessary to build canals to drain the uninhabitable land of the Everglades. The steady arrival of newcomers gave way to the Florida Land Boom of the 1920's, but transportation problems, a major hurricane and, finally, the Great Depression, brought the Boom to a halt.

Steady growth continued, however, and in the years following World War Two, the county has become a major metropolitan area. The arrival of Cuban refugees in the 1960s and 1980s, plus a large influx of other immigrants, has transformed Dade into a multi-cultural society.

In 1991, the population of Dade County was nearly two million. Tourism and transportation are among the major industries, along with light industry, construction and fishing. There are twenty-five incorporated towns and cities in the county. The largest, at around 350,000 people, is the county seat, Miami.

In review, Dade County was officially organized from Monroe County February 4, 1836.  Some one hundred sixty one years later, November 13, 1997, Miami -Dade County has emerged.  As with any change in a political structure, the voters decided that increased name recognition was worth the change.
(Reference The Florida Handbook 1999-2000, p. 445.)

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