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The Ultimate Guide to Fort Lauderdale


Fort Lauderdale: The Venice of America

Fort Lauderdale is an important city located in the South Eastern portion of Florida. The city is an extremely popular tourist destination with over 13 million visitors in 2013. Often called the “The Venice of America” due to its abundance of canals that run throughout the city, Fort Lauderdale is also a major yachting center, with over 42,000 yachts and 100 marinas aOasis of the Sea arriving in the Port of Fort Lauderdalend boatyards. Fort Lauderdale is a major cruise port with numerous cruise ships departing from the Fort Lauderdale Port.

The City of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is the main city in Broward County, two-thirds of which are protected Everglades. According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, it had an approximate population of 172,389 people. This amazing city is part of the South Florida metropolitan area, which stretches from Miami on the South and North to Palm Beach County. The metro area is home to over 5.4 million people.

With average year-round temperatures of 76 degrees Fort Lauderdale attracts visitors from around the globe, especially “snowbirds” that flock to enjoy its pristine beaches. The city is 23 miles north of Miami, and the surrounding area has over 4100 restaurants and 120 nightclubs.

History of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale has a long history that dates back more than 4,000 years. It starts with the arrival of the first aboriginal natives, and later with the Tequesta Indians. The Tequesta Indians inhabited the area that is now Fort Lauderdale for more than a thousand years.

Control of Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area changed hands throughout history between Spain, England, the United States, and even the Confederate States of America. The area remained largely undeveloped until the early 1900s. The first real settlement in the area was at the site of a massacre around the time the Second Seminole War started. The war caused the abandonment of the settlement and set back development in the Fort Lauderdale area by over 50 years. The first United States stockade named Fort Lauderdale was built in 1838, and subsequently was a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War. The fort was abandoned in 1842, after the end of the war, and the area remained virtually unpopulated until the 1890s.

Prior to the 20th century, the area now known as Fort Lauderdale was known as the “New River Settlement”. There were a few pioneer families living in the area since the late 1840s, it was not until the Florida East Coast Railroad built tracks through the area in the mid-1890s that any organized development began. The city was incorporated in 1911, and in 1915 was designated the county seat of newly-formed Broward County.

The first major development began in the 1920s, during the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression of the 1930s caused a great deal of economic dislocation. When World War II began, Fort Lauderdale became a major US Navy base, with a Naval Air Station to train pilots, radar and fire control operator training schools, and a Coast Guard base at Port Everglades.

Fort Lauderdale is named after a series of forts built during that time period. The forts got their name from Major William Lauderdale, who was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. However, development of the city did not begin until 50 years after the forts were abandoned at the end of the conflict. Three forts named “Fort Lauderdale” were constructed; the first was at the fork of the New River, the second at Tarpon Bend, in what is now known as the Sailboat Bend neighborhood, and the third near the site of the Bahia Mar Marina.After the war ended, service members returned to the area, spurring an enormous population explosion which dwarfed the 1920s boom. Today, Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting center, one of the nation’s biggest tourist destinations, and a world-class international business center.