Historical Museum of Southern Florida

Exhibits > Tropical Dreams > Gateway of the Americas

Tropical Dreams: Gateway of the Americas

South Florida, like much of the industrialized world, has experienced more changes during the past 50 years than during the previous five centuries. Southeast Florida has become complex and diverse, with many ethnic groups and cultures calling it home. Geography and cultural diversity have made it the gateway between the United States and the Caribbean and Latin America.


The general trend of people moving from rural to urban areas combined with job availability and technological advancements in transportation, construction, and other industries caused South Florida to experience a new surge of population growth following World War II. The annual number of tourists in South Florida also increased tremendously as people came to visit year round than just during the winter months. Thousands of refugees, beginning with the Cuban exodus in the early 1960s and continuing into the 1990s with the Haitians, have come to South Florida seeking a new life. South Florida has become a metropolitan community with increasing international significance in the Americas.


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