Miami reflects the multiculturalism that exists in south Florida. The Mayaimi were Native American people who once lived around what we now call Lake Okeechobee, a large body of water about 250 square miles smaller than Lancaster County. Further south was Tequesta, Native Americans who lived in the present-day location of the city of Miami. While the Mayaimi, Tequesta and neighboring Calusa tribes lived different lives and had their own cultural traditions, their language might have been quite similar. This confusion possibly led the Spanish explorers and settlers to name the area after the Mayaimi, which means “big water.”


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