Historic Markers Across Florida

Jose Gasparilla an 18th Century West Indianman

Marker ID:  
Location: Bayshore Boulevard at Pirate Ship, Tampa, FL.
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 56.420    W 082° 27.582
  27.94033333    -82.4597
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: WMGCFN


This vessel named for Jose Gaspar, a gentleman lieutenant of the Royal Spanish Navy, who achieved great fame as a pirate headquartered on Florida´s Gulf Coast.

As leader of a mutinous uprising, Lt. Gaspar seized command of the Spanish war sloop Florida Blanca in 1783 known as "Gasparilla, " he captured and destroyed thirty six or more ships in twelve years of piracy, a career ended with an attack upon a U.S. Navy warship disguised as a merchantman. He was drowned when he leaped into the sea to avoid capture.

Gaspar,illa´s spirit lives on as Ye Mystic Krewe boards the Jose Gasparilla each February to besiege the city´s defenses with shot and shell, a tradition since May, 1904.

Successful in battle Ye Mystic Krewe parades triumphantly through the streets of Tampa. Holding the city in a week-long festival of merrymaking, the joyous pirates pledge allegiance to a newly-rowned King Gasparilla and his Queen.

By mandate of the Pirate King - Ye Mystic Krewe boards the ship "Jose Gasparilla" the second Saturday in February departing to return February next.


City: Tampa, FL