The bay's port is the largest in the state, near downtown's Channel District. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 3.1 million residents, The Tampa Bay Partnership and U. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year.Bayshore Boulevard runs along the bay, and is east of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Between 20, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million population mark on April 1, 2007.However, brief mentions by explorers along with surviving artifacts suggest that the Pohoy and other groups that once lived on Tampa Bay had very similar cultures and lifestyles as the better-documented Tocobaga.Expeditions led by Pánfilo de Narváez and Hernando de Soto landed near Tampa, but neither conquistador stayed long.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, and potentially, to all residents of Tampa regardless of their ethnic background.The shores of Tampa Bay have been inhabited for thousands of years.Pre-Dating is the world's largest Speed Dating service for busy single professionals with monthly events in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and Over 80 Other Cities in the US and Canada.
At the time of European contact in the early 16th century, the Safety Harbor culture dominated the area, with indigenous peoples organized into three or four chiefdoms around the shores of the bay.
Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the "Tampa Bay Area". When the pioneer community living near the US Army outpost of Fort Brooke was incorporated in 1849, it was called "Tampa Town", and the name was shortened to simply "Tampa" in 1855.
The earliest instance of the name "Tampa", in the form "Tanpa", appears in the memoirs of Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, who spent 17 years as a captive of the Calusa and traveled through much of peninsular Florida.
Several US Navy ships were stationed near the mouth of Tampa Bay, but small blockade running ships were often able to slip by the blockade to deliver cattle to Spanish Cuba, earning gold for the Confederate cause.
On June 30, 1862, the gunboat USS Sagamore sailed into Tampa Bay and opened fire on Fort Brooke, which returned fire.
The entrances to Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor are obscured by barrier islands, and their locations, and the names applied to them, were a source of confusion to explorers, surveyors and map-makers from the 16th century though the 18th century.