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Tampa is a part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the "Tampa Bay area".

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Tampa Florida
Tampa Florida, A visitors and new residents guide to Tampa Florida

Tampa is a major United States city located in Hillsborough County, on the west coast of Florida. It serves as its county seat. The population within the city limits in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was 321,772; making it the third largest city in the state, following Jacksonville and Miami.

Tampa is a part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the "Tampa Bay area". The four-county area is composed of roughly 2.6 million residents, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the state behind Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, the third largest in the Southeastern United States, and the twelfth largest DMA Market in the United States.

Tampa Florida, Tampa, Florida, best place to live in Florida, real estate, condos, gated golf communities, ocean front, water front, river front, Intracoastal, vacation rentals, restaurants, entertainment, bed and breakfast, lodging, hotels, motels, luxury resorts, retirement, beach, ocean, resort, golf, golf courses, golf communities, golf vacations, photos, photographs, maps

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". "Sticks of fire" may also relate to the high concentration of lightning strikes that Tampa Bay receives every year during the hot and wet summer months. The name first appears in the "Memoir" of Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda (1575), the author of which had spent 17 years as a Calusa captive. He calls it "Tanpa" and describes it as an important Calusa town.

Spanish conquistador PŠnfilo de NarvŠez was the first European known to have visited the Tampa area, on April 8, 1528. Hernando de Soto arrived a year later to rescue the only remaining living member of de NarvŠez'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 (see Adams-Onis Treaty). An Indian reservation was established in what is now north Tampa. As part of efforts to firmly establish 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 Gadsden. 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, which was decommissioned in 1883. Except for two cannons now on the University of Tampa campus, all traces of the fort are gone.

Tampa was incorporated on January 18, 1849 with 185 inhabitants (excluding military personnel stationed at Fort Brooke). The city's first census came in 1850 when Tampa-Fort Brooke accounted for 974 residents. Tampa was reincorporated as a town on December 15, 1855, 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. In 1862, a Union gunboat shelled the city during the Battle of Tampa. Union forces took Fort Brooke in May of 1864, and occupied the town for the next year.

Phosphate was discovered in the Bone Valley region near Tampa 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 accommodate the factories and their workers. Tampa soon became a major cigar production center. Thousands of Italian (the majority coming from Alessandria Della Rocca and Santo Stefano, two small Sicilian towns which Tampa maintains strong ties with) and Cuban immigrants came to Tampa to work at the factories.

Henry B. 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. Lieutenant Colonel 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 yearly 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, 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.

The biggest development of the city was the development of New Tampa that started in 1988 when the city annexed a 24-square mile (mostly rural) area between I-275 and I-75. Today, the district boasts over 22,000 inhabitants.

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.

On January 5, 2002, just four months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 15-year-old amateur pilot Charles Bishop flew a Cessna plane into the 42-story Bank of America Plaza building in downtown Tampa. Bishop died, but there were no other injuries (because the crash occurred on a Saturday, when few people were in the building). A suicide note found in the wreckage expressed support for Osama bin Laden. Bishop had been taking a prescription medicine for acne called Accutane that may have had the side effect of depression or severe psychosis. His family later sued Hoffman-La Roche, the company that makes Accutane, for $70 million; however, an autopsy found no traces of the drug in the teenager's system.

Landmarks

The most famous landmark is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida's largest bridge, and the world's longest cable-stayed bridge. The Hillsborough County line extends throughout the bay and to the Gulf of Mexico, in which is part of the city's water area. The current bridge replaced a cantilever bridge that fell when the freighter Summit Venture collided with it on May 9th 1980, killing 35 people. The remaining roadway from the original bridge was turned into two fishing piers, one each on the north and south end of the bridge. The southern pier, at 1.5 miles long, is the longest fishing pier in the world.

Another highly visible but somewhat mysterious landmark is the Sulphur Springs Water Tower.

The city of Tampa is proposing building a more recognizable landmark in the downtown area - and two ideas that have been proposed is a Space Needle building similar to that of Seattle's. Another plan calls for four large fabric "gates" to be placed at four areas leading into the downtown area that would be illuminated at night and would be recognizable to outside visitors welcoming them into the downtown area. The downtown area is also undergoing a large transformation to be mostly completed in time for the hosting of the Superbowl in 2009 with over 43 condo, hotel, and mixed-use developments proposed/approved/under construction as of October 2005. An earlier list by the city of Tampa includes large developments that have been approved and/or are under construction. A large portion of these projects have multiple towers to compensate for the high land values in Downtown Tampa. The next landmark currently under construction in the central business district is the Trump Tower Tampa, the largest residential tower on the Gulf Coast according to The Tampa Bay Business Journal

Population (year 2000): 303,447, Est. population in July 2004: 321,772 (+6.0% change)
Males: 148,050 (48.8%), Females: 155,397 (51.2%)

Elevation: 48 feet
County: Hillsborough
Land area: 112.1 square miles

Zip codes: 33602, 33603, 33604, 33605, 33606, 33607, 33609, 33610, 33611, 33612, 33613, 33614, 33615, 33616, 33617, 33618, 33619, 33620, 33621, 33624, 33625, 33626, 33629, 33634, 33635, 33637, 33647.

Median resident age: 34.7 years 
Median household income: $34,415 (year 2000)
Median house value: $81,500 (year 2000)

Tampa, FL residents, houses, and apartments details

Races in Tampa:
White Non-Hispanic (51.0%) 
Black (26.1%) 
Hispanic (19.3%) 
Other race (4.2%) 
Two or more races (2.9%) 
American Indian (0.9%) 
Asian Indian (0.6%) 
(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races) 

Ancestries: German (9.2%), Irish (8.4%), English (7.7%), United States (6.2%), Italian (5.6%), French (2.4%).

For population 25 years and over in Tampa

High school or higher: 77.1%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 25.4%
Graduate or professional degree: 9.2%
Unemployed: 8.6%
Mean travel time to work: 22.8 minutes 
For population 15 years and over in Tampa city

Never married: 31.0%
Now married: 43.8%
Separated: 3.6%
Widowed: 7.6%
Divorced: 14.0%
12.2% Foreign born (8.4% Latin America, 1.9% Asia, 1.3% Europe).

Population change in the 1990s: +21,996 (+7.8%).

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