Tampa HistoryYbor City

tobacco pioneers

In the 1800s and 1900s millions of immigrants came to this country hoping to escape religious and social discrimination, political unrest and financial struggles. In the following stories you will learn about three of these immigrants who believed America would provide them with unlimited opportunities. Their individual achievements would ultimately impact the cigar industry in Tampa and in the world.

El Lector Series

Tobacco leaf selectors.

In our factory, the rezagadores (selectors) sit on opposite sides of a broad barrel sorting tobacco leaves in the good strong light coming in the large north facing windows. Two men sit at each barrel. The rezagadores pay close attention to the leaves used as wrappers as they sort according to size, the look of the veins, and dry or oily texture.

Tampa History

S.P .Burgert and Sanfeliz 1900

José Ramón Sanfeliz was born in Havana, Cuba, on September 21, 1870, and by age ten was working in a cigar factory. He found employment at the Hijos de Cabaña y Cajal Factory stripping the stems from the tobacco leaves. Two years later he worked with his father at La Concordia Sugar Mill and then, at age fourteen, began an apprenticeship at El Nuevo Mundo Cigar Factory.