Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa, Florida

This was our second visit to the Tampa Bay History Center. Seems the first time we went I did not take any pictures and did not post anything on my blog. This time we went with our friends Tom and Jenanne. 

The Center highlights the history of the Tampa area, going back hundreds of years as Florida's first people clash with conquistadors; Seminole Indians who journey into Spanish-controlled Florida; and tens of thousands of "Latin" immigrants who sought work in Tampa's "Cigar City."

Dugout Canoe

The time was about 1,000 years ago and the dugout canoe shown above was the best way to transport goods through the shallow waters. 

Seminole Dolls 1930-1960
Seminole dolls were originally made from rags and sticks but are now made from Cypress wood and palmetto husks. Dolls were created for both the tourist trade and for personal use.

The Seminole people were resourceful and persevered by integrating the cultures of escaped slaves, pioneering Europeans, and several distinct American Indian groups. Their earliest homelands extended to cover most of north and central Florida, reaching as far south as Tampa Bay. The northern border was a place of tension between the constantly growing Seminole population and encroaching white settlers who claimed land ownership and wished to create grazing lands and homesteads on traditionally un-owned land. 

Coacoochee 1808-1857
Coacoochee was both a war leader and holder of the hereditary right to be a "chief" of the Seminoles during the Second Seminole War. Born in north Florida around 1808, the young leader was known as Wild Cat by most whites. The forced removal of Coacoochee and his people effectively ended the Second Seminole War.

Lieutenant John T. Sprague 1810-1878
Lieutenant John T. Sprague is responsible for much of the information we have about the Second Seminole War. His keen observations and candid assessments provide rare insights. Sprague's book, The Florida War (first published in 1848), is a compilation of his notes, letters and official reports. His book is still considered one of the most important resources for the Second Seminole War.

Osceola 1804 - 1838
Osceola, unlike Coacoochee, was not destined to be a political leader or chief. However, his incredible charisma and drive won him a place within the tribe's military leadership, especially after the successful attack at Fort King (where Osceola killed the American Indian Agent, Wiley Thompson), and the battle with Major Francis L. Dade's men in December 1835.

With Florida becoming a U.S. territory in 1821, the government began sending Indian agents to meet with the Seminoles in an effort to recapture runaway slaves that had joined the tribe, discourage repeated cattle raids among the Seminoles and settlers, and to contain the Seminoles on a reservation in central Florida. 

The Treaty of Moultrie Creek (1823) accomplished this, but also stipulated the removal of the Seminoles from Florida within 20 years. Only 11 years into the
"agreement," a new treaty, the Treaty of Payne's Landing shaved 9 years off of the deadline, stating that all Seminoles would leave immediately. Opposition to relocate resulted in a series of conflicts -- the Seminole Wars.

The First Seminole War lasted from 1817 to 1818. The Seminoles occupied rich land in northern Florida, which at the time was still a Spanish possession. The First Seminole War began when white settlers attacked them, rustling cattle and demanding the return of slaves. The Seminoles retaliated by raiding isolated wherein the Seminoles and many black allies moved south.

The Second Seminole War began in 1835 and ended in 1842. The U.S. government declared that the removal of Indians in Florida to the Indian territory in the west was the best solution for persistent conflict between the Indians and encroaching white settlers. The Indians united in their resistance to relocation. The Second Seminole War was the most costly Indian war in U.S. history in terms of money spent and lives lost. By the end of the 7 year war, all but a few hundred Seminoles had been removed from Florida.

The Third Seminole War started in 1855 through 1858. For the third time in 40 years the U.S. government penetrated the Seminole lands promoting the campaign to remove them to the west. The remaining Seminole leader was O-lac-to-mi-co (Billy Bowlegs), a chief from the ruling family. Following years of bloody conflict, Bowlegs agreed to leave Florida for Oklahoma with about 165 members of his tribe. A few organized bands, including one led by Abiaka (Sam Jones) remained in the Big Cypress Swamp and other secluded places in Florida.

Seminole County, Oklahoma ~~ In the new Indian Territory, the Seminoles were first forced to share space with their distant relatives - the Creeks. Most eventually moved within the territory to a more suitable location. Though linked by family and cultural ties, the Seminoles in Florida see themselves as distinct from those in Oklahoma. In November 1907, Oklahoma became a state and land which was designated for the Seminole people became Seminole County.


Tampa is also well-known for its cigar production. You may ask ~ why Tampa? A humid climate, like that of Cuba, was suitable for cigar production. There were established transportation systems which included port and railroad facilities. Land was widely available. "U.S. Made" meant no import taxes. Tampa was close to Cuba - the supplier of the world's favorite tobacco.

One person rolling machine
In a further effort to increase production and reduce costs, owners began installing rolling machines in the factories. This simple, hand-operated machine allowed an inexperienced worker to roll cigars.

Tramp Art Guitar
During the Great Depression, out of work craftsmen began turning found materials into a wide variety of items, including folk art. Some items were functional, like this cigar box guitar.

Supporting two cities (Tampa and West Tampa), the cigar industry was the cornerstone of the area's economy from the late 1880s to the mid-1920s. Hand rolled cigars, crafted by immigrants from Cuba, Spain and Sicily, and their native-born descendents, literally put Tampa on the map. The city's name was so linked to cigars that some out-of-town companies put "Tampa" in their brand names to boost sales.

Free Roaming Cattle
During the late 1600s, despite cattle fever ticks, storms, swamps, and snakes Florida's cattle industry spread from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the Panhandle. By the mid 1800s, cattle shipments to Cuba further strengthened the industry and gave rise to the state's first cattle barons. By the end of the 19th century, railroads reached Florida. Ranches and towns sprang up, and more people arrived from other states.

Cowhunters and their families braved unpredictable weather and an unfriendly landscape to sell cattle that fed families thousands of miles away. Storms or wild animals could scare and disperse the herd, so the roundup was a never-ending job. Cowhunters moved slowly, allowing the already small cows to graze and increase in size. If the herd was pushed too fast, the cattle would be reduced to skin and bones, making them difficult to sell.

In addition to cigars and cattle, Florida is also famous for ~ you guessed it ~~ ORANGES!!

Florida's two largest natural resource industries, citrus and cattle, thrive together -- and for good reasons. Researches have worked to develop citrus pulp into cattle feed. Cane molasses, a by-product of sugar cane processing, has also been developed into an excellent feed supplement for cattle. Both of these products were once considered to have little value, but today both are shipped all over the world.

The formal cultivation of citrus began in 1821, the year Florida became a U.S. territory. Today, Florida leads the nation in the number of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and tangelos grown. The Tampa area ranks 12th in citrus production for the state. Plant City is considered the Word's Winter Strawberry Capital. Florida is the only state with commercial lime and mango crops and is the national leader in the production of sugarcane, bell peppers, sweet corn, snap beans, squash, radishes, and eggplant. 

Today nearly one-half of Florida'a agricultural land is involved in cattle production. With 4 million acres of pasture-land and 1 million acres of grazed woods and scrubland, cattle grazing areas also also important green spaces for wildlife and native plant habitat, and aquifer recharge. 

The Seabreeze Restaurant, a cultural landmark located near Tampa's shrimp docks on McKay Bay, was famous for its sunset views, devil crabs, and this mermaid that welcomed diners. 

For thousands of years human survival depended upon fishing the sea with hooks and nets. The riches of Tampa Bay attracted Spanish net fishermen as early as the mid-17th century. As early as 1700, American Indians traded salted mullet to the Spanish. By 1877, Cuban fishermen were taking mullet at established fishing "ranchos." By 1895, Florida industries included fishing, oystering, sponging, and the taking of sea turtles and alligators. Eventually, commercial shrimping began and by the 1950s, fishermen were pulling up millions of pounds of "pink gold." 


Cigars, oranges, cattle, and organized crime. Florida sure has quite a history. The era of corruption came to a head in 1950 when Senator Estes Kefauver's traveling investigation on organized crime in America came to Tampa. Witnesses, including Charlie Wall, Tampa's first major crime boss, and Hillsborough County Sheriff Hugh Culbreath were called forward to explain the city's checkered past.

And let's not forget that Florida is known for the "hanging chads" during the 2000 U.S. Presidential election. The outcome was finally decided more than a month after after voting due to the extended process of counting then recounting Florida's presidential ballots.

The final exhibit was about the "Treasure Seekers" - conquistadors, pirates and shipwrecks. 

Iron Cannon circa. 1700s
This is one of four cannons found on the site of Mediterranean Sea shipwreck. Based on the cannons and small swivel guns found, the ship was a probably a Xebec, a small and fast Mediterranean sailing vessel. They also used oars for additional speed, a favorite of the Barbary Pirates of North Africa (who were actually Muslim Pirates). The Barbary Pirates were a constant threat at the end of the 18th century, holding ships' crews and cargo hostage for cash ransoms. The following is a detailed description of the Barbary Pirates:

A 232-year history of our fight against Islam & why it is no longer taught in our public schools... When Thomas Jefferson saw there was no negotiating with Muslims, he formed what is now the Marines (sea going soldiers). These Marines were attached to U. S. Merchant vessels. When the Muslims attacked U.S. merchant vessels they were repulsed by armed soldiers, but there is more.
The Marines followed the Muslims back to their villages and killed every man, woman, and child in the village. It didn't take long for the Muslims to leave U.S. Merchant vessels alone. English and French merchant vessels started running up our flag when entering the Mediterranean to secure safe travel. Why the Marine Hymn contains the verse, "To the Shores of Tripoli ".

This is very interesting and a must read piece of our history. It points out where we may be heading. Most Americans are unaware of the fact that over two hundred years ago the United States had declared war on Islam, and Thomas Jefferson led the charge! At the height of the 18th century, Muslim pirates (the "Barbary Pirates") were the terror of the Mediterranean and a large area of the North Atlantic.

They attacked every ship in sight, and held the crews for exorbitant ransoms.
Those taken hostage were subjected to barbaric treatment and wrote heart-breaking letters home, begging their governments and families to pay whatever their Mohammedan captors demanded. These extortionists of the high seas represented the North African Islamic nations of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers - collectively referred to as the Barbary Coast - and presented a dangerous and unprovoked threat to the new American Republic.

Before the Revolutionary War, U.S. merchant ships had been under the protection of Great Britain. When the U.S. declared its independence and entered into war, the ships of the United States were protected by France.
However, once the war was won, America had to protect its own fleets.
Thus, the birth of the U.S. Navy. Beginning in 1784, 17 years before he would become president, Thomas Jefferson became America's Minister to France. That same year, the U.S. Congress sought to appease its Muslim adversaries by following in the footsteps of European nations who paid bribes to the Barbary States rather than engaging them in war.

In July of 1785, Algerian pirates captured American ships, and the Dye of Algiers demanded an unheard-of ransom of $60,000. It was a plain and simple case of extortion, and Thomas Jefferson was vehemently opposed to any further payments. Instead, he proposed to Congress the formation of a coalition of allied nations who together could force the Islamic states into peace. A disinterested Congress decided to pay the ransom. 
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli's ambassador to Great Britain to ask by what right his nation attacked American ships and enslaved American citizens, and why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

The two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran that all nations who would not acknowledge their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise."

Despite this stunning admission of premeditated violence on non-Muslim nations, as well as the objections of many notable American leaders, including George Washington, who warned that caving in was both wrong and would only further embolden the enemy, for the following fifteen years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to over 20 percent of the United States government annual revenues in 1800. Jefferson was disgusted. Shortly after his being sworn in as the third President of the United States in 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli sent him a note demanding the immediate payment of $225,000 plus $25,000 a year for every year forthcoming.

That changed everything. Jefferson let the Pasha know, in no uncertain terms, what he could do with his demand. The Pasha responded by cutting down the flagpole at the American consulate and declared war on the United States.
Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers immediately followed suit. Jefferson, until now, had been against America raising a naval force for anything beyond coastal defense, but, having watched his nation be cowed by Islamic thuggery for long enough, decided that it was finally time to meet force with force.

He dispatched a squadron of frigates to the Mediterranean and taught the Muslim nations of the Barbary Coast a lesson he hoped they would never forget. Congress authorized Jefferson to empower U.S. ships to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli and to "cause to be done all other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war would justify". When Algiers and Tunis, who were both accustomed to American cowardice and acquiescence, saw the newly independent United States had both the will and the right to strike back, they quickly abandoned their allegiance to Tripoli. The war with Tripoli lasted for four more years, and raged up again in 1815. The bravery of the U.S. Marine Corps in these wars led to the line "to the shores of Tripoli" in the Marine Hymn, and they would forever be known as "leathernecks" for the leather collars of their uniforms, designed to prevent their heads from being cut off by the Muslim scimitars when boarding enemy ships. Islam, and what its Barbary followers justified doing in the name of their prophet and their god, disturbed Jefferson quite deeply. 

America had a tradition of religious tolerance. In fact Jefferson, himself, had co-authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, but fundamentalist Islam was like no other religion the world had ever seen. A religion based on supremacy, whose holy book not only condoned but mandated violence against unbelievers, was unacceptable to him. His greatest fear was that someday this brand of Islam would return and pose an even greater threat to the United States.

This should concern every American. That Muslims have brought about women-only classes and swimming times in America at taxpayer-funded universities and public pools; that Christians, Jews, and Hindus have been banned from serving on juries where Muslim defendants are being judged; Piggy banks and Porky Pig tissue dispensers have been banned from workplaces because they offend Islamist sensibilities; ice cream has been discontinued at certain Burger King locations because the picture on the wrapper looks similar to the Arabic script for Allah; public schools are pulling pork from their menus; on and on and on and on...

It's death by a thousand cuts, or inch-by-inch as some refer to it, and most Americans have no idea that this battle is being waged every day across America. By not fighting back, by allowing groups to obfuscate what is really happening, and not insisting that the Islamists adapt to our culture, the United States is cutting its own throat with a politically correct knife, and helping to further the Islamists' agenda. Sadly, it appears that today America's leaders would rather be politically correct than victorious!


Western half of a world map by Diego Ribero, 1529. It shows the routes taken, known as Carrera de Indias (route of the Indies), between Europe and the Americas. 

The Y at Amsterdam, 1673
From beads of glass to bars of gold - trading was an important aspect of life.

Human Cargo
Beginning in the early 1600s, a new cargo was added to ship manifests: slaves. The African slave trade resulted in millions of African-born people being shipped to North and South America to toil in fields and mines. The enslavement of Africans was permanent and applied to subsequent generations. The slave trade became part of the "Triangle Trade" that included sugar shipments to the British Colonies of North America and distilled rum to Europe.

The design for the Galleon was based on the carrack, but with some important modifications. English sailor John Hawkins began altering the front of the carrack in 1570, focusing on reducing the forecastle and making the hull longer. The large ships (more than 1,000 tons) became the mainstay of the European fleets.

The Corvettes were small, agile and fast sailing ships that were ideal for coastal duty. They displaced between 40 and 70 tons and, when outfitted as a warship, carried four to eight smaller guns. Though able to make a transatlantic voyage, corvettes were more often used for coastal trading and patrol.

Barques were sailing vessels that had three or more masts and a specific sail configuration. Square sails were used on the main mast, and a combination of square and lateen (triangular) sails were rigged fore and aft. They varied in displacement tonnage, between 250 and 700 tons, but all were stable ocean going vessels.

Originally differentiated by sail type (brigs did not have topsails), by the 17th century the terms brig and brigantine became interchangeable. Prior to the 17th century, brigs were mostly military vessels with a displacement of around 300 tons. Both carried two masts and square mainsails. This ship is from the 17th - 18th century, Atlantic.

At more than 1,000 tons, the carrack was the largest ship in any European fleet in the 1400s. This Spanish ship was the workhorse of the transatlantic trade through the mid-1500s, when its design flaws grew more obvious. Its high forecastle at the bow acted as a rudder, pushing the ship leeward (downwind).

The only Dutch-designed ship, the fluyt was very efficient and inexpensive to construct and operate. It was designed to optimize cargo space while requiring a smaller crew to operate. One weakness was that they were generally lightly armed, making them easy targets for pirates and privateers.

Smaller than the barque and brigantine at 250 tons, the caravel was a three-masted ship with a prominent main mast and smaller masts fore and aft. The sails were either square-rigged or lateen-rigged. Though small, the ships were still seaworthy. The Nina and Pinta were caravels.

The xebec was very popular among Mediterranean sailors, particularly the Barbary pirates of North Africa. The ship was built for speed and warfare, with a low hull that would allow a greater capacity to direct a broadside cannon barrage at its enemy. The three masts were raked (slanted back) and all rigged with lateen sails.

Of the ships listed here, schooners are still fairly common among private sailors. They usually have two masts, though some have three, and one -- the modern Thomas W. Lawson -- had seven masts. The fore and aft rigging made schooners efficient to operate, meaning fewer crew members were needed. Schooners ranged in size from 150 to 700 tons.

Sloops are very small, single-masted vessels with a displacement in the range of 25 tons. The mast is fore and aft rigged, with a large sail affixed to the mast and to the rear of the ship, usually along a boom. They have at least one jib sail at the bow rigged to a spar. Sloops are still used today as pleasure craft and for racing.

Spanish Body Armour

Early Spanish Helmet

Piracy on the High Seas
Piracy is almost as old as seaborne commerce itself. As maritime exploration spread around the world, so did pirates. Though the Golden Age of Piracy lasted less than 100 years, from roughly 1650 to 1720, pirate activity began in the New World in the early 1500s and continued into the early 1800s. The first pirates in the Caribbean, including Florida, were likely privateers. They were, in effect, legally sanctioned pirates who carried letters of marque, or legal licenses issued by a nation, to attack the shipping of that nation's enemies. Many of those privateers turned to piracy when when their letters of marque expired or were revoked.

One such pirate crew was led by John "Calico Jack" Rackham and Anne Bonny. Originally members of another ship's crew, Rackham led a mutiny and became captain of his own crew. In August 1720, under the cover of darkness, they successfully stole a 12-ton sloop called the William from New Providence in the Bahamas. The ship's owner, Jack Ham, was friendly with the governor of the Bahamas, which led to the hasty pursuit of Rackham and Bonny. The William would attack three more vessels before the ship's capture off of Negril Point near Jamaica. Despite the courage of Bonny, along with crewmate and fellow female pirate Mary Read, they were overwhelmed, as Rackham and many of his crew were too intoxicated below deck to join in the defense of their ship. Bonny was quoted as saying to Rackham, "If you would have fought like a man, you wouldn't have to die like a dog."

Women were traditionally barred from serving as crew members on ships, but that did not stop some from becoming pirates. These women wore loose-fitting clothing to disguise themselves as men and, though few in number, were just as formidable as their male counterparts. Several women, including Anne Bonny and Mary Read, fought courageously in battle and played a key role in attacking and raiding ships.

Ship Raids and Hand-to-Hand Combat
Many words and phrases in use today have their roots in maritime history. For thousands of years, the navigation of the sea was vital to the survival and livelihood of people living in maritime communities throughout Europe, and the result was the common usage of nautical terms in our everyday language:

"Chewing the fat" ~~ Today, it refers to having a friendly conversation. It is derived from the sailor's daily ration of salted pork or beef which was tough and chewy.

"Dungarees" ~~ This comes from an 18th century Hindi word "dungri" - a cloth for making sails.

"Even Keel" ~~  Today it means to be calm and steady; like a boat that floats upright without listing.

"Holy Mackerel" ~~ This fish spoils quickly so it was allowed to be sold on Sundays despite English blue laws of the 17th century.

"Idle" ~~ Workers who were off watch duty at night such as cooks and sailmakers were called "idlers".

"Jury Rig" ~~ To assemble something in a makeshift manner for a temporary solution comes from the term jury mast which was a temporary pole to replace the damaged one.

"Let the cat out of the bag" ~~ Today, this means to reveal a secret, but it originally comes from a cat-o'-nine-tails, a whip that was kept in a bag until it was taken out and used to punish a seaman.

"Marooned" ~~ Dates back to the early 1700s and it describes the act of being "put ashore on a desolate island or coast and [be left] to one's fate" according to the Merriam Webster dictionary. In the previous century, it described escaped slaves from the West Indies or Guiana or their descendants.

"Overwhelm" ~~ Comes from a Middle English word meaning to capsize; as in a vessel. Today it refers to being defeated or overcome.

"Passing with Flying Colors" ~~ Derived from when ships wanted to be identified at sea; they would hoist their flags and pennants. Today it is said when we refer to someone who has passed a test or trial by a large amount.

"Mind your P's and Q's" ~~ Sailors were responsible for paying their tabs at local taverns. On a chalkboard, barmen tallied their drinks under a "P" for pint and "Q" for quart. Today, it means to stay well behaved.

"Tally" ~~ Counting cargo on a vessel was done with a stick called a tally.

"Under the weather" ~~ Referred to going below decks where there was protection from wind and rain.

"Whole nine yards" ~~ Meant that all the sails were up. The three masts on old square riggers had three yards of sail each.

"Zigzag" ~~ This is the action of tacking a sailboat to windward.

There are also some things about pirates that one hears about and wonder if they are true or false. Here are some of the facts about pirates:

Some of the actual pirates were Captain Henry Morgan (of the rum brand) and Captain William Kidd. Captain Kidd was born in the early 1650s and was executed in London for piracy in 1701.

Pirates were not generally known to bury their treasure. Captain Kidd was the only one to bury a small amount of treasure on Gardiner's Island near Long Island, NY.

Pirates often favored Parrots as pets; they did not make "treasure maps." 

Keelhauling was a form of punishment, though walking the plank was not. Keelhauling was a gruesome punishment where the victim was tied by ropes and dragged under the barnacle-covered hull of the ship from the bow to stern along the keel. The idea of walking the plank came from pirate-themed literature and artwork of the late 19th and early 20th century.

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