Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county
seat for Hillsborough County and is located on the west coast of
Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. The population of Tampa in 2010 was
The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by indigenous peoples
of the Safety Harbor culture, most notably the Tocobaga and the Pohoy,
who lived along the shores of Tampa Bay. It was briefly explored by
Spanish explorers in the early 16th century, but there were no permanent
American or European settlements within today's city limits until after
the United States had acquired Florida from Spain in 1819.
In 1824, the United States Army established a frontier outpost called
Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, near the site of
today's Tampa Convention Center. The first civilian residents were
pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the nearby
Seminole population. The town grew slowly until the 1880s, when railroad
links, the discovery of phosphate, and the arrival of the cigar industry
jump-started Tampa's development and helped it to grow into an important
city by the early 1900s.
Today, Tampa is a part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred
to as the Tampa Bay Area. For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida MSA. The four-county area is
composed of roughly 2.7 million residents, making it the second largest
metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest
in the Southeastern United States, behind Miami, Washington, D.C., and
Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has just over 4 million residents
and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. The Tampa Bay
Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47
percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between
2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined
growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and
hitting the 4 million people mark on April 1, 2007.
Tampa has a number of sports teams, such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of
the National Football League, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National
Hockey League, the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, and the
Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League. The Tampa Bay
Rays in Major League Baseball, are actually based in neighboring St.
In 2008, Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes. A 2004
survey by the NYU newspaper Washington Square News ranked Tampa as a top
city for "twenty-somethings." Tampa is now ranked as a "Gamma" world
city by Loughborough University. According to Loughborough, Tampa ranks
alongside other world cities such as Phoenix, Santo Domingo, and Osaka.
In recent years Tampa has seen a notable upsurge in high-market demand
from consumers, signaling more wealth concentrated in the area. Tampa
has been tapped to host the 2012 Republican National Convention.