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Although Spain claimed all of Florida and beyond as part of New Spain, it did not found a colony on the west coast.
After the disappearance of the indigenous populations, there were no permanent settlements in the Tampa Bay area until after the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821.
In 1824, the United States Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, near the site of today's Tampa Convention Center downtown.
The first civilian residents were pioneer ranchers and farmers who settled near the fort for protection from the nearby Seminole population.
When Spanish explorers arrived in the 1520s, they found Tocobaga villages around the northern half of Tampa Bay and Calusa villages along the southern portion of the bay.
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.The Tampa area was depopulated and ignored for more than 200 years. The sparse civilian population practically abandoned the area during the Second Seminole War from 1835 to 1842, after which the Seminoles were forced out and many settlers returned. On January 18, 1849, Tampa was officially incorporated as the "Village of Tampa".It was home to 185 civilians, or 974 total residents including military personnel, in 1850.The Safety Harbor culture developed in the area around the year 1000 AD, and the descendant Tocobaga and Pohoy chiefdoms were living in or near the current city limits of Tampa when the area was first visited by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.Interactions between native peoples and the Spanish were brief and often violent, and although the newcomers did not stay for long, they introduced European diseases which brought the collapse of native societies across the Florida peninsula over the ensuing decades.
Fort Brooke was decommissioned in 1883, and except for two cannons displayed on the University of Tampa campus, all traces of the fort are gone.