The Cigar Industry of Key West and Ybor City

Commercial cigar rolling in Florida began with small-scale operations started by Cuban immigrants in the 1830s. Vicente Martinez Ybor, one of the most significant figures in the history of cigar making in Florida, established a cigar factory in Key West in 1869. In 1885, he moved his cigar making operation from Key West to Tampa. Immigrants came not just from Cuba, but from Italy, Spain, and throughout Eastern Europe and Latin America in search of work.

Tampa cigar industry

Tampa cigar industry

Florida Memory

State Library of Florida

Key Secondary Sources

  • Tinajero, Araceli. El Lector: A History of the Cigar Factory Reader. Trans. Judith E. Grasberg. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 2010.