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Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the "Tampa Bay Area". This might be a reference to the many lightning strikes that the area receives during the summer months.

By about 1900, these newcomers came to be known as "tampeños" (or "tampeñas" for females), a term that is still sometimes used to refer to their descendants living in the area.

It was home to 185 civilians, or 974 total residents including military personnel, in 1850.

During the Civil War, Florida seceded along with most of the southern states to form the Confederate States of America, and Fort Brooke was manned by Confederate troops.

In May 1865, federal troops arrived in Tampa to occupy the fort and the town as part of Reconstruction. Tampa was a fishing village with very few people and little industry, and limited prospects for development.