History of Tampa Florida


Located at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, Tampa city has a rich history that everyone should know. How did the town start? What are some of the notable names that aided in the development of the city?

The history of Tampa FL began way back in 1513 when a Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, arrived. He developed the eastern side of the city and it was not until 1824 that the first American settlers arrived. Four US Army companies came together to protect the Tampa Bay Harbour and they founded the Fort Brooke. The Tampa Port is currently the fourth seventh largest in the country.

Tampa Bay became a part of the United States in 1845 when Florida was declared as the 27th state. From this time, the city grew steadily with developments like the extension of the railroad by Henry B. Along the railroad, lavish hotels were built and this increased the number of people coming into the area.

In the late 1880s, phosphates were discovered and it is this mineral that helped the city grow. This mineral that is important in making fertilizers is mined in the Bone Valley, southeast of Tampa. A mining industry and shipping companies emerged increasing the growth and wealth of the region.
The history of Tampa cannot be complete without talking about the Spanish American war. The first people to take up arms against the Spanish were those who worked at the Vicente Martinez Ybor’s cigar company. The Tampa bay port was used by Cuba-bound US troops during this era as well.
In 1914, the world’s first scheduled commercial airline service was launched in Tampa. The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line introduced a “flying boat” that was piloted by Tony Jannus. A short while after this, automobiles arrived and with this came a large settlement of people. From then on, many neighborhoods were built and each has its unique characteristics.

The Neighborhoods of Tampa Bay

  1. Davis Islands – This man-made island was built by D.P Davis is the 1920s. It is located to the south of down town and is endowed by beautiful buildings.
  2. Harbour Island This used to be a rundown industrial port until 1979 when the railroad sold it. It has since been renovated and now has shops, offices, restaurants, condominiums and so on.
  3. Palma Ceai, Bayshore and Ballast Point – These neighborhoods located to the south of the MacDill Air Force have large elegant homes.
  4. Ybor City Located around cigar factories, this neighborhood is the heart of the city’s entertainment and businesses. This neighborhood began as a settlement for cigar factory workers.
  5. Hyde Park Located to the west of the Hillsborough River, this neighborhood has been totally changed from what it used to be to a trendy shopping and housing area.

The neighborhoods of Tampa Bay were inhabited by people of certain cultures and traditions.

Key pillars in the growth of Tampa Bay, Florida

Some of the main challenges faced by the Tampa region were poor transportation links, inter-tribal conflicts and civil wars, and Yellow Fever outbreaks. These delayed the start of the town’s development.
Modern history of Tampa is linked to several main events. One is the development of the railroad that opened up the area to other regions. Another one is the proximity of the town to the Hillsborough River and the ocean, and hence acting as a harbor town. This is what attracted the army to this area and as the army came in, more facilities were built in the area. Today, Tampa Bay is the home of a leading army barracks, the MacDill Air Foce Base.

Current Tampa

Tampa Bay may have started as a slow-growing town but now it is among the most vibrant in the country. With tall buildings holding offices, homes and architectural pieces that will awe anyone coming into the city, it is now home to over 350,000 residents. The river provides the people of Tampa with a nice calming environment where they can relax and have a good time.

Tampa is now a multi-cultural, well developed city in Florida that is home to many people. There are many businesses serving the people of Tampa and the infrastructure has increased from simple railroads to international airports and perfect road transportation