Dade County was created on January 18, 1836, under the Territorial Act of the United States. The county was named after Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War. At the time of its creation, Dade County included the land that now contains Palm Beach and Broward counties, together with the Florida Keys from Bahia Honda Key north and the land of present day Miami-Dade County. On November 13, 1997, voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami. Miami-Dade County is Florida's third largest county in terms of land area encompassing more than 2,000 square miles (larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware). One-third of Miami-Dade County is located in Everglades National Park. According to the 2010 census this county had a population of 2,496,435, making it the most populous county in Florida and the seventh-most populous county in the United States. The county is home to 35 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas. The northern, central and eastern portions of the county are heavily urbanized with many high rises up the coastline. Southern Miami-Dade County includes the Redland and Homestead areas, which make up the agricultural economy of Miami. It is bounded by Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Everglades National Park to the west, the Florida Keys to the south, and Broward County to the North.
Miami Dade is home to many headquarters of world class companies like Brightstar Corporation, Burger King, Intradeco Holdings, Latin Flavors, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Ryder. Centurion Air Cargo, Florida West International Airways, and IBC Airways have their headquarters on the grounds of Miami International Airport. Hewlett Packard's main Latin America offices are located on the ninth floor of the Waterford Building. AstraZeneca has its Latin American headquarters, Gate Group has its Latin American headquarters, Unicomer Group has its United States offices, and TAME Airlines has its United States offices in this county.
The Miami-Dade Public Library is one of the largest public library systems in the country, comprising 42 branch locations, and 8 branch locations currently being built/not officially opened. Miami-Dade County is home to many private and public universities and colleges. Total approximate college/university student enrollment in the county in 2006 was about 245,000, one of the largest number for university students in the USA. The University of Miami is a private university known for its Medical School. Florida International University, a public university with the largest enrollment in South Florida. Miami Dade College, a public college with many locations across the county. Barry University and St. Thomas University, private Catholic Universities.
Miami International Airport, located in an unincorporated area in the county, serves as the primary international airport of the Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world, Miami International Airport caters to over 35 million passengers a year. the airport is a major hub and the single largest international gateway for American Airlines, the world’s largest passenger air carrier. Miami International is the United States’ third largest international port of entry for foreign air passengers, and is the seventh largest such gateway in the world.