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Miami is in the southeastern corner of the state of Florida. Miami and the surrounding metropolitan area are situated on northern Biscayne Bay between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. By population, Miami is the second-largest city in Florida (after Jacksonville), and the county seat and largest city of Miami-Dade County. It is also the largest city in the South Florida metropolitan area, which comprises Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County, making up the largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States and the sixth largest in the country as a whole.

According to the 2000 census, the the larger metropolitan area had a population over 5,000,000.

Miami's explosive population growth in recent years has been driven by internal migration from other parts of the country as well as by immigration. Greater Miami is regarded as a cultural melting pot, heavily influenced both by its very large population of ethnic Latin Americans and Caribbean islanders (many of them Spanish or Haitian Creole-speaking).

The region's importance as an international financial and cultural center has elevated Miami to the status of world city; because of its cultural and linguistic ties to North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean it is sometimes called "The Gateway of the Americas." Florida's former status as a colony of Spain, and its continued ties with that country (Spain has a consulate in this city) and her colonies also make Miami and the surrounding region a contemporary part of the Hispanic world.

Practically all major foreign countries today maintain consulates in Miami. The city has been involved in numerous political controversies with nearby Cuba and Fidel Castro, plus wider concerns with terrorism, immigration, and drug issues throughout the region.


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