travelgrove Travel Guides

Tampa History, Florida

Tampa, a city in the Hillsborough County of the state of Florida, US, has a population of around 382,060 people according to the 2007 census.

The city has the largest media market in Florida and was ranked as the eighth cleanest city by Yahoo in America. The name of the city “Tampa” means “stick of fire” and it was given by the Calsua, a North American tribe, who used to live in the south of Tampa Bay.

 Historians believe the name suggests the many lightning strikes, which are received by the city during summer. Due to the unavailability of written records before the European contact of the Tampa Bay, little has been known before them.

 It was only in the 1520s, when the Spanish explorers came to this place and discovered a ring of Tocobaga villages situated in the northern half of the Tampa Bay. These villages included the Calsua village in the south and the Pinellas County. Hernando de Soto and Panfilo de narcaez led their expeditions and landed in Tampa for starting a colony in search of gold. The area was very rich in shellfish and fishes found in the waters of the bay.  

During the period of 1700, it was the Cuban fisherman who began to stay temporarily on the shore of the Tampa Bay (now known as the Hyde Park). In 1845, the territory of Florida grew to become the 27th state. Tampa was officially incorporated as Village of Tampa on January 18, 1849 and became home to 185 inhabitants.

Later it was again reincorporated as a town on December 15 1885. The first mayor of Tampa elected in 1856 was Judge Joseph B. Lancaster. After the end of the Civil War, Tampa faced some difficult problems.

There were very little industry left and the city lacked land transportation links, which were only limited to bumpy wagon roads. It was during this time when the yellow fever epidemic spread killing many people. In 1869, residents made a telling decision when they voted to abolish the Tampa government. The cigar making industry was the backbone of the economy of Tampa during the beginning of the 20th century.

There were numerous factories located in the West Tampa and Ybor City, which produced enormous number of cigars. Historians say that over 500,000,000 cigars were produced in the peak year of 1929.

Ask our travel experts a question about Tampa

Things about Tampa you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Tampa

No reviews have been added yet for this category. Be the first to add a new one.

Read our members' travel tips about Tampa

  • cipristbTampa Theatre
    travel tip by cipristb posted more then 30 days ago
    With not only a beautiful architecture and decor but with a high reputation, the Tampa Theater is the cultural center of the city. Classical and new movies are aired, concerts and wine tasting events are organized throughout the year....
  • kachou_nHenry B. Plant Museum in Tampa
    travel tip by kachou_n posted more then 30 days ago
    One of the most imposing buildings of the early years of Tampa, a luxurious railroad resort, houses the Henry B. Plant Museum. Among the various artifacts, early 19th century Valentine cards and Gasparilla royalty gowns are on display. A...
  • zangazangaYbor City State Museum
    travel tip by zangazanga posted more then 30 days ago
    As a small museum, housed in a historical bakery building, which looks really great with its brick exterior, the Ybor City State Museum tells the story of Tampa's most historic district. There are various exhibits and collections...
view all


the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$165Spirit Airlines flightSpirit Airlines
    Atlantic City, NJ (ACY)  Tampa, FL (TPA)
    12/19/2016 06:54 pm
    Tampa, FL (TPA)  Atlantic City, NJ (ACY)
    12/30/2016 03:56 pm
  •$182Spirit Airlines flightSpirit Airlines
    New York, NY (LGA)  Tampa, FL (TPA)
    11/29/2016 08:35 am
    Tampa, FL (TPA)  New York, NY (LGA)
    12/02/2016 03:30 pm
  •$183Spirit Airlines flightSpirit Airlines
    Baltimore, MD (BWI)  Tampa, FL (TPA)
    10/29/2016 07:20 pm
    Tampa, FL (TPA)  Baltimore, MD (BWI)
    11/05/2016 07:00 am

Tampa City Ratings

  • Ratingunrated
    City Rankunrated
  • History & Culture: not rated
  • Night Life & Entertainment: not rated
  • Family & Fun: not rated
  • Outdoors Activities: not rated
  • Food: not rated
  • Sightseeing: not rated
  • Shopping: not rated
  • Public Transportation: not rated
  • Must visit this place: not rated
   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it