Art & Culture

Miami’s diverse Hispanic Heritage 2022

Thousands of Hispanics have found their home in Greater Miami, giving rise to its Hispanic Heritage

Miami or the Magic City is culturally eclectic, having a population of 439,890. The Hispanic presence is colossal among the different races residing in the area.

Greater Miami is home to over 770,000 Cuban-Americans, but its Hispanic presence came long before the dawn of the first permanent British settlement in Jamestown, Virginia U.S. In spring 1513, Spanish voyager Juan Ponce de León sailed to Biscayne Bay, weeks after reaching Melbourne, Florida.

Here's all you need to know about Miami's Hispanic Heritage.

All you need to know about Miami’s Hispanic Heritage

After explorer Juan Ponce de León landed in Florida, another Hispanic adventurer, Hernando d'Escalante Fontaneda, set foot in the present area of Greater Miami after his ship was left stranded on the coast.

Born in Columbia, D’Escalante, he began living with Tequesta Indians for nearly two decades until he was rescued by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, St. Augustine, Florida’s founder.

Menéndez initiated a mission in 1567 amongst the Tequestas, that lasted for years. The Spanish attempted another assignment in the area 150 years later. Unfortunately, the second attempt to populate the Miami region was also unsuccessful.

The rise of the Hispanic population

Cuban cigars making

In the 1930s, Cuba experienced some instability, and Hispanics started arriving in South Florida. However, Fidel Castro's rise to power forced thousands of Cuban refugees to move to Greater Miami.

By 1959 and early 60s, most upper and middle-class Cubans were moving to South Florida as their education, and government-backed financial support allowed them to adjust to the U.S lifestyle.

The rise of Castro led to the arrival of many Cubans from 1965 until 1973. Moreover, the Freedom Flights led to 300,000 Cubans moving to the States. A new immigration wave began when Castro encouraged Cubans to move to the U.S. for three months. During this movement, 125,000 Cubans resettled in Greater Miami.

Unfortunately, the U.S government revised its policy to only allow Cubans through legal immigration in the 1990s. Cuba's deteriorating economic situation triggered this change and the rest is all history!

Currently, thousands of Cuban-Americans call Greater Miami home.

In addition, other Hispanics, such as Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Nicaraguans, Columbians, Dominicans, etc., have joined Cubans and made Miami their home. These Hispanics have branched out in different fields, pursuing what they love the most, contributing to Greater Miami’s economy.

Every year, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th. On this day, they commemorate cultures, their history, and achievements of American-Hispanic citizens.

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