Historic Markers Across Florida

Vicente Martinez-Ybor

Marker ID:  
Location: on 7th at 16th St, Tampa, FL
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 57.623    W 082° 26.492
  27.96038333    -82.44153333
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: WMV57N


Vicente Martinez-Ybor~Pioneer
of the cigar industry in Florida and founder of Ybor City

Born in Valencia, Spain on September 7, 1818, died in Ybor City on December 14, 1896 and was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery in Downtown Tampa.

In 1832, at an early age, the adventurous Spaniard left his native country and traveled to Cuba which was under the dominance of Spain. In 1852 he established his first cigar factory and produced the world renowned "El Principe de Gales" ("The Prince of Wales") cigar brand.

Because of his support for Cuban independence in 1969 he fled Cuba and moved to Key West where he opened another factory and continued manufacturing "El Principe de Gales" cigar brand.

In 1885, at the age of 67, he purchased 40 acres of palmetto and scrub pine flats in the hamlet of Tampa, which by 1886 he had transformed into the city of his dreams that would bear his name-Ybor City. Other prominent cigar manufactures joined Ybor and eventually Tampa became known as "The Cigar Capital of the World."

Upon his death on December 14, 1896, the Tampa Weekly Times wrote the following: "Don Vicente Martinez-Ybor is dead, one of Tampa's greatest benefactors and the country's most prominent and successful businessman."

Sculptor: Steven Dickey

Sponsored by The City of Tampa, Dick Greco-Mayor
July 11, 2001