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    Ybor City in Tampa, Florida, would never have existed if not for the enterprising arrangements of cigar manufacturers in the late 19th century. In 1885, Vicente Martinez Ybor bought 40 acres of land on which to build a new cigar factory for his company, as well as several hundred casitas, or "little houses," to attract permanent workers with the promise of eventual ownership. Thousands of professional cigar rollers flooded into the Tampa area, and the town the cigar manufacturer had built came to be known as Ybor City, and in the next few decades, cigar production grew to rival that of the Cuban stronghold of Havana, giving Ybor City the title of Cigar Capitol of the World.

     

    Many of the cigar rollers who moved into Ybor City were Spanish and Cuban immigrants, and they brought the specialized skills they had learned in Cuba with them to create cigars that held the same high caliber of quality found in the Caribbean. The international draw of Ybor City extended beyond that of Latin America, however; the cigar city attracted immigrants from China, Romania, and Germany, as well. Many German immigrants found a place in the cigar industry with their skills in lithography, and the printing and engraving techniques and innovations they brought with them to Ybor City gave birth to the now-ubiquitous commercial art form of the cigar label. German lithographers further influenced the cigar industry with the advent of the beautifully designed cigar box; what were once merely containers for shipping products became a marker of branding and style, and several cigar box factories that the Ybor City cigar manufacturers patronized were owned by German businessmen.

     

    Today, Ybor City's history with cigars can be seen in the brick buildings still standing throughout the area. Vicente Martinez Ybor's three-story cigar factory, which was the largest cigar factory in the world when it was built, is now part of the US National Register of Historic Places. Several cigar manufacturers and shops still operate in Ybor City to this day, including Covadonga Cigars, who have continued the tradition of the cigar manufacturers of the past in their dedication to trading only in 100% handmade cigars made by Cuban craftsmen. These craftsmen have years of experience in rolling cigars of the finest quality, and in the spirit of the rich traditions of Ybor City, Covadonga Cigars aims to provide only the best to its clients at reasonable prices.