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Local economies came into severe difficulties, and by 1930, St. Only after World War II would significant growth return to the area. The area's women and girls participated in the war effort as well.

During the war, the area's tourist industry collapsed, but thousands of recruits came to the area when the U. Hundreds of girls from the area's most prominent families formed a group called the Bomb-a-Dears, holding dances, socializing with recruits, and selling war bonds.

Pioneer families like the Booths, the Coachmans, the Marstons, and the Mc Mullens established homesteads in the area in the years following, planting more citrus groves and raising cattle.

During the American Civil War, many residents fought for the Confederate States of America.

During the early 16th century Spanish explorers discovered and slowly began exploring Florida, including Tampa Bay.

In 1528 Panfilo de Narvaez landed in Pinellas, and 10 years later Hernando de Soto is thought to have explored the Tampa Bay Area.

After trading hands multiple times between the British and the Spanish, Spain finally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821, and in 1823 the U. The very next year Odet Philippe became the first permanent, non-native resident of the peninsula when he established a homestead near the site of the Tocobaga village in Safety Harbor.

It was Philippe who first introduced both citrus culture and cigar-making to Florida.

The Armed Occupation Act, passed in 1842, encouraged further settlement of Pinellas, like all of Florida, by offering 160 acres (0.65 km²) to anyone who would bear arms and cultivate the land.Railroad owner Peter Demens named the town that grew near the railroad's terminus St. Construction of Fort De Soto, on Mullet Key facing the mouth of Tampa Bay, was begun in 1898 during the Spanish–American War to protect Tampa Bay from potential invading forces.The fort, a subpost of Fort Dade on adjacent Egmont Key (which lies in the mouth of Tampa Bay), was equipped with artillery and mortar batteries.Even into the early years of the 20th century, West Hillsborough had no paved roads, and transportation posed a major challenge.A trip to the county seat, across the bay in Tampa, was generally an overnight affair and the automobiles that existed on the peninsula at that time would frequently become bogged down in the muck after rainstorms.The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council was founded by the late mayor of St.

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