Republican National Convention: Twelve Things to Know About Tampa
Tampa's Early History
Spanish conquistador Ponce De Leon arrived in Tampa in 1513, but Spanish explorers largely settled on Florida's east coast, leaving the western coast untouched for some 200 years. In 1824, four companies of the U.S. Army established Fort Brooke, which contributed to steady growth in the harbor at Tampa Bay. By 1884, Henry B. Plant's railroad expansion along the Hillsborough River paved the way for economic growth and tourism, while the discovery of phosphates in the late 1880s spurred a boom in the mining and shipping industries.