Vicente Martinez Ybor

Vicente Martinez Ybor

Vicente Martinez-Ybor (7 September 1818 - 14 December 1896), a Spanish immigrant to the United States, became a noted industrialist and cigar manufacturer first in Cuba, then Key West, and finally Tampa, Florida.

Martinez-Ybor is perhaps best known for his founding the immigrant-populated cigar manufacturing town of Ybor City just outside of Tampa, Florida in 1885. It was annexed by Tampa in 1887 and was a major factor in the community's rapid development from a small town into one of the largest cities in Florida and, for a time, the world's leader in cigar manufacturing. In addition to his Principe de Gales line of Cuban cigars, he founded companies selling gasoline, street paving, and fire insurance and invested in the city's streetcar line. His business interests were integral to expansion of the Port of Tampa. He also built worker housing, brought doctors to the area, and converted a factory into a theater for cigar workers.

When Martinez-Ybor died in 1896, much of Tampa closed down to attend his funeral. His has been honored with a statue in Ybor City, and another sculpture is slated to be dedicated along the Tampa Riverwalk.

Read more about Vicente Martinez YborEarly Life, Cuba, Florida, Death, See Also

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