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The city of Tampa began hundreds of years ago as a Native American village called "Tanpa" which was later changed to Tampa on the early maps of European explorers. With the exception of a brief visit by Hernando de Soto in the middle of the 16th Century, Tampa was largely untouched by white settlers until the late 19th Century when a railroad, steamship company,. and hotel were founded there by American businessman Henry Plant. The new attractions, combined with the area's natural beauty, began attracting visitors and Tampa's population grew.
Around the same time that Plant built his hotel, a Cuban exile named Vincente Ybor moved his cigar manufacturing business to Tampa from Havana. Many other cigar businesses soon followed, creating a vibrant Latin neighborhood in the section of the city where the cigar businesses were located. This part of Tampa is today known as Ybor City (pronounced eee-bor) and remains an important center of Latino culture in Tampa today.
Today Tampa is an ethnically diverse city with a mix of industries and a strong business community. It is a popular tourist destination with its many beautiful beaches and pleasant climate.