USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

Latin American Flavor

Florida began its recorded history discovered by Spaniards, so much of the culture, and therefore much music, has Spanish roots. Especially prevalent in the central and southern regions of Florida are communities developed by immigrants from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Ybor City and Miami are best known for collections of people celebrating their Cuban heritage. The Cuban Club, founded in 1899 in Ybor City, fosters the history and development of people native to Cuba. This club has saved such documents as sheet music and, very notably, the famous zarzuelas. The zarzuela, most popular between the years 1850 and 1950, was a short Spanish operetta; its two main forms were the genero grande (three acts long lasting a few hours) and genero chico (one act lasting about an hour, therefore better-suited to the general public because of the cheaper-priced tickets).