The various Spanish explorers that passed through here did not settle down. The Seminole Indians did that in 1824, when the US government. A boom in mining and shipping saw population increases in the 1880s onwards. Henry B. Plant brought in the railroad and built up the Plant Hotel, bringing in massive celebrity presence. Spanish, Cuban and Italian immigrants came in to work on the cigar factories that opened up starting 1886. Today, Tampa serves as a major port with thriving industries in in phosphate mining, shipping, citrus processing, shrimping, and tourism.
Of this last, Tampa delivers powerfully. Good weather and a carefully preserved history make for excellent tours and vacations. The museums are essential visits. The Busch Garden is otherworldly. Ybor city, with its LGBT emphasis, is hip and happening. The shopping is fantastic regardless of whether you do it in Channelside or the International Plaza Mall. Mexican food pleases your taste buds.