Tampa celebrates 134th birthday


She may be getting older, but she’s still looking good. 

Tampa was incorporated as a city on July 15, 1887, making Thursday the city’s 134th birthday.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Elamites Calusa and Timucua peoples (later replaced by the Seminoles). The city was later visited by the Spanish explorers Pánfilo de Narváez (1528) and Hernando de Soto (1539), respectively.

In 1824, right after Florida was acquired by the United States from Spain, Fort Brooke was established to oversee the Seminoles. The military post was eventually captured by Union soldiers during the American Civil War.

In 1884 came the arrival of Henry B. Plant’s South Florida Railroad, which helped create modern Florida by stimulating population growth and new industry and giving a boost to tourism, according to the encyclopedia.

Two years later, cigar manufacturing was introduced by Vicente Martinez Ybor, then Ybor City was born, then became what was considered the center of the cigar industry. The neighborhood is now mostly a tourist spot.

At the time of its incorporation, Tampa had less than 800 residents. The city’s estimated population was 399,700 people in 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau. 

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