Fort Lauderdale, known as the "Venice of America" due to its expansive and intricate canal system, is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. The city's population is described as metropolitan, where diverse culture is commonplace. According to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city had a population of 185,804. It is the county seat of Broward County. Fort Lauderdale is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which is home to 5,463,857 people.
The city is a major tourist destination, with 10.35 million visitors in 2006. The city is a major yachting center, with 42,000 resident yachts and 100 marinas and boatyards. Fort Lauderdale and its suburbs host over 4100 restaurants and 120 nightclubs.
Fort Lauderdale is named after a series of forts built by the United States during the Second Seminole War. 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. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale, who was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort.