Ybor City: Tampa's Latin Colony

Ybor City:  Tampa's Latin Colony


  • Ybor City: Tampa's Latin Colony

Published Date

  • published 1941


March 31, 1941


Tampa's Latin Colony

Ybor City, (pronounced E-bo), called the Havana of America, is
Tampa's largest Latin quarter, and its exotic show window. Peopled almost
exclusively by Spaniards, Cubans, and Italians, this foreign city-within-a-
city reflects the passions and gayeties of Mediterranean capitals. With
polyglot tongues and strange customs, Ybor City presents scenes as foreign
as those of Havana, Naples, or Barcelona.

Shop window signs are in Spanish and English; (lurid) movie posters
feature Mexican and Cuban films; dark-skinned strollers chatter along the
narrow walks and peculiar murals are on display at gay restaurants.

Approximately 10,000 Cubans, 8,000 Spaniards, and 6,000 Italians
live here, very much as in their native lands. Some sections are peopled by
one nationality exclusively, but in most cases Italians, Cubans, and
Spaniards live side by side, and intermarriage is common. The majority,
both men and women, are employed in the 150 cigar factories of the city.
The factories loom above the shacks of the 45,000 workmen.

Children scream and play along the narrow streets or in the sandy, picket-
fenced yards. Women, old at 30, rock placidly on their small porches, while
their men argue over their cafe con leche in hole-in-the-wall cafes. Sleek
youths, with their hair combed in imitation of the current Great Lover of the
screen, loaf about the streets. Song and laugher from grilled windows, click
of dominoes in club rooms, and the cry, "La Primera