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Tampa travel guide — Tampa tourism and travel information

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about Tampa

Tampa is a city located in Hillsborough County on the west coast of Florida. It is the largest city in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area which is composed of roughly 2.5 million residents. It is the county seat of Hillsborough County. The current mayor of Tampa is Pam Iorio.

Tampa geography

Tampa is located on the West coast of Florida at 27°58'15" North, 82°27'53" West (27.970898, -82.464640). Is is bordered by two bodies of water: Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Bay.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 441.9 km² (170.6 mi²). 290.3 km² (112.1 mi²) of it is land and 151.6 km² (58.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 34.31% water.

Tampa history

The word "Tampa" is an American Indian word used to refer to the area when the first European explorers arrived in Florida. Its meaning, if any, has been lost to the ages, though it is sometimes claimed to mean "sticks of fire" in the language of the Calusa, a Native American tribe. Other historians claim the name refers to "The place to gather sticks".

Spanish conquistador Panfilo de Narvaez was the first European known to have visited the Tampa area, on April 8, 1528. Hernando DeSoto arrived a year later to rescue the only remaining living member of de Narvaez's expedition. A peace treaty was conducted with the local Indians and a short-lived Spanish outpost was established, but this was abandoned when it became clear that there was no gold in the area, and that the local Indians were not interested in converting to Catholicism and were too skilled as warriors to easily conquer.

When England acquired Florida in 1763, the bay was named Hillsborough Bay, after Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Spain transferred Florida to the United States in 1821 . An Indian reservation was established in what is now north Tampa. As part of efforts to firmly estabilsh United States control over southern Florida, then a vast swampy wilderness with sparse Seminole Indian population, a military outpost ("Cantonment Brooke") was established at what is now the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa in 1823 by Colonels George Mercer Brooke and James Gadsen. In 1824, the post was renamed Fort Brooke. It was a vital military asset in the Seminole Wars. The village of Tampa began to grow up around the fort. The fort was decommissioned in 1883. Except for two canons now on the University of Tampa campus, all traces of the fort are now gone.

Tampa was incorporated in 1849 with 185 inhabitants (excluding military personell stationed at Fort Brooke), and Judge Joseph B. Lancaster became the first Mayor in 1856. During the Civil War, Fort Brooke was occupied by Confederate troops, and martial law was declared in Tampa. Union forces took the fort in May of 1864, and occupied the town for the next year.

Phosphate was discovered in the area in 1883. Tampa is now one of the world's leading phosphate exporters. Henry B. Plant's railroad reached the town shortly thereafter, enabling the commercial fishing industry to thrive.

In 1885, the Tampa Board of Trade persuaded Vincente M. Ybor to move his cigar manufacturing operations to Tampa from Key West. The Ybor City district was built to accomodate the factories and their workers. Tampa soon became a major cigar production center. Thousands of Italian and Cuban immigrants arrived in Tampa to work at the factories.

Henry Plant built a lavish luxury hotel in the city in 1883, which is now the campus of the University of Tampa.

Tampa was an embarkation center for American troops during the Spanish-American War. Coloniel Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders were part of the 30,000 troops stationed in Tampa for training.

In 1904, local civic association Ye Mystic Krewe "invaded" the city for the first time, establishing the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

Illegal bolita lotteries became very popular among the Tampa working classes, especially in Ybor City, where many gambling parlors sprang up. Profits from the bolita lotteries and Prohibition-era bootlegging led to the development of several organized crime factions in the city. The first boss of Tampa's organized crime world was Charlie Wall, a cracker; but various power struggles culminated in consolidation of control by Sicilian mafioso Santo Trafficante, Sr. and his faction in the 1950s. After his death in 1954 from cancer, control passed to his son Santo Trafficante, Jr., who established alliances with families in New York and extended his power throughout Florida and into Batista-era Cuba.

The University of South Florida was established in 1956, sparking development in northern Tampa and nearby Temple Terrace.

With the advent of air conditioning, thousands of new residents have arrived in Tampa from the northern United States. The population continues to grow rapidly, and construction is proceeding rapidly on new housing developments around Tampa.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tampa, Florida".

This city is also known as: Tampa.

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