Tampa - Encyclopedia

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TAMPA, a city and the county seat of Hillsboro county, Florida, U.S.A., in the western part of the state, at the head of Hillsborough Bay (the E. branch of Tampa Bay), at the mouth of the Hillsborough river. Pop. (1880) 720; (1890) 5532; (1900) 1 5, 8 39, of whom 5085 were foreign-born and 4382 were negroes; (1910, U.S. census) 37,782. It is served by the Tampa Northern, the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line railways, and by lines of steamers to the West Indies and to the Gulf and Atlantic ports of the United States. The larger vessels enter at Port Tampa (pop. in 1905, 1049), 9 m. from the city, on the W. side of the peninsula separating Hillsborough Bay from Old Tampa Bay, the W. branch of Tampa Bay. In order to reach water sufficiently deep for the steamers, the railway tracks have been carried by earth filling about seven-eighths of a mile into the bay. The United States government has greatly improved the harbour, and in 1899 adopted a project (modified in 1905) for constructing a channel 26 ft. deep and 300 ft. wide (500 ft. across the bar) from Port Tampa to the Gulf of Mexico; in July 1909 80 per cent. of this work had been completed. In1905-1908the channel of Hillsborough Bay was made 20 ft. deep at mean low water and 150 ft. wide from the lower bay to the mouth of Hillsborough river, with a turning basin at the inner end 450 ft. wide and 1050 ft. long. Tampa Bay has permanent sea-coast defences. Tampa is the principal gateway for trade and travel between the United States and the West Indies. Owing to its delightful climate and its attractive situation it has become a favourite health resort. Many visitors are attracted by the fishing (especially for tarpon) and shooting in the vicinity, water-fowl being plentiful in the Bay, and deer, quail and wild turkeys being found in the vicinity inland. There are large prehistoric shell-mounds at Indian Hill, about 20 m. S.E. Tampa is an important shipping point for naval stores and phosphate rock, for vegetables, citrus fruit and pineapples, raised in the vicinity, and for lumber, cattle and fuller's earth. The Florida Citrus Exchange has its headquarters here. After the Spanish-American War (1898)(1898) a large trade with the West Indies developed. Cattle and pine lumber are sent to Cuba, and Havana tobacco and fine grades of Cuban timber are imported. There is a large trade with Honduras also. The imports increased from $755,316 in 1897 and $490,093 in 1898 (an extremely unfavourable year owing to the SpanishAmerican War) to $4,179,464 in 1909; the exports from $820,792 in 1897 and $521,792 in 1898 to $1,344,786 in 1899 and $4,492,498 in 1909; a part of the custom-house clearings of Key West are actually shipped from Tampa. In 1905 the value of, the factory product was $11,264,123, an increase of 59 per cent. since 1900. The principal product is cigars; most of the tobacco used is imported from Cuba, and the manufacturing is done chiefly by Cubans who live in a district known as Ybor City. It is said that more clear Havana cigars are manufactured in Tampa than in Havana. Other manufactures are boilers, foundry products, lumber and fertilizers; and there are two shipyards.

Tampa Bay was the landing-place of the expeditions of the Spanish explorers, Pamfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto. (See Florida.) In January 1824 the United States government established here a fort, Fort Brooke, which was an important base of supplies during the second Seminole War, and around it a settlement gradually developed. The fort was abandoned in 1860, and its site is now a public park. During the early part of the Civil War a small Confederate force was in possession, but in November 1862 it was driven out by United States gunboats. Tampa grew rapidly after the completion of the first railway thither in 1884, and in 1886 it was chartered as a city and became a port of entry. During the SpanishAmerican War United States troops were encamped in De Soto Park in Tampa, and Port Tampa was the point of embarkation for the United States army that invaded Cuba.

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