Tampa (pronounced /'tæm.p?/) is a Gulf Coast city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2000 was 303,447. According to the 2008 estimates, the city's population had grown to 340,882, making it the 53rd largest city in the United States.
The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by various indigenous cultures, most recently the Tocobaga. It was spotted by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s, but there was no permanent American or European settlements in the area until 1824, when the US Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the site of today's Tampa Convention Center. The village of Tampa began as a small group of pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the Seminole population in the area.