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Om Jews of Tampa
Spanish explorers arrived in Tampa Bay in the 16th century. Jews were first allowed to live in Florida in 1763 and less than 100 years later, Tampa became a city. The arrival of the railroad and the cigar industry in the 1890s attracted immigrants. Many were Jews, who helped propel growth, especially in Ybor City, where they owned more than 80 businesses. Over the decades, Jews participated in civic and Jewish organizations, the military, politics, and in developing Tampa as a sports center. Today, with about 23,000 Jews in Tampa, there are fifth-generation residents who represent the continuity of a people who contribute vibrancy to every area of the community.