Ybor City began as a cigar factory town in the 1880s. The town’s namesake, Vicente Martinez Ybor, purchased 40 acres of land east of Tampa and, with the help of the Tampa Board of Trade, established Ybor City in 1886.
Over the next five decades thousands of Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants came to Ybor City to work in the cigar industry. Several manufacturers set up operations and at its peak in the 1920s the cigar factories employed more than 12,000 workers.
Cigar production declined during the Great Depression. Labor strikes and increased automation led to the near collapse of the industry by the mid-20th century. Although nearly all of the cigar factories are gone, Ybor City entered a period of revival beginning in the late 1980s. The district is now home to lively nightlife, numerous restaurants and thriving businesses.
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