Known today as a party town for spring break where college students can frolic in the sun, the city of Tampa, Florida has a long and interesting history. Located on the bay on the Gulf side of Florida, Tampa has long been a great place for people to live. Learn more here.

Indigenous Peoples

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples lived on the shores of Tampa Bay.  Archeologists believe that these tribes relied on the sea for their livelihood because there is almost no evidence of farming.  When Europeans first came into the area the Safety Harbor tribes were the dominant indigenous peoples around the Bay. Learn more about Zoo Tampa at Lowry park.

Spanish Explorers

As Spanish conquistadors Panfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto began exploring the Tampa Bay area, they weren’t much interested because there is no natural gold or silver in Florida.  


Although the Spanish explorers didn’t find anything they wanted, they did leave behind devastation.  The native peoples had no immunity to the diseases from Europe and these diseases quickly wiped out the native people.  All of the indigenous cultures surrounding Tampa Bay had collapsed by 1600.  


In 1821 the United States decided they were interested in Florida.  They bought Florida in 1821 and built Fort Brooke. That area is now downtown Tampa.