The history of Fort Lauderdale, Florida began more than 4,000 years ago with the arrival of the first aboriginal natives, and later with the Tequesta Indians, who inhabited the area for more than a thousand years. Though control of the area changed among Spain, England, the United States, and the Confederate States of America, it remained largely undeveloped until the 20th century. The first settlement in the area was the site of a massacre at the beginning of the Second Seminole War, an event which precipitated the abandonment of the settlement and set back development in the 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.
The Fort Lauderdale area was known as the "New River Settlement" prior to the 20th century. While a few pioneer families lived 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.
Fort Lauderdale's 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. After the war ended, service members returned to the area, spurring an enormous population explosion which dwarfed the 1920s boom. In the 1970s, Ft.Lauderdale Beach became a mecca for Spring Breakers. Today, Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting center, one of the nation's biggest tourist destinations, World Class Cruise Port and the center of a metropolitan division of 2 million people.