Last updated
Approximate Calusa core area (red) and political domain (blue)
Total population
Extinct as a tribe
Regions with significant populations
United States (Florida)

The Calusa ( /kəˈlsə/ kə-LOO-sə) were a Native American people of Florida's southwest coast. Calusa society developed from that of archaic peoples of the Everglades region. Previous indigenous cultures had lived in the area for thousands of years.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

Florida State of the United States of America

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.


At the time of European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the historic Calusa were the people of the Caloosahatchee culture. They are notable for having developed a complex culture based on estuarine fisheries rather than agriculture. Calusa territory reached from Charlotte Harbor to Cape Sable, all of present-day Charlotte and Lee counties, and may have included the Florida Keys at times. They had the highest population density of South Florida; estimates of total population at the time of European contact range from 10,000 to several times that, but these are speculative.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

The Caloosahatchee culture is an archaeological culture on the Gulf coast of Southwest Florida that lasted from about 500 to 1750 CE. Its territory consisted of the coast from Estero Bay to Charlotte Harbor and inland about halfway to Lake Okeechobee, approximately covering what are now Charlotte and Lee counties. At the time of first European contact, the Caloosahatchee culture region formed the core of the Calusa domain.

Charlotte Harbor (estuary) Large bay on the southwest coast of Florida

Charlotte Harbor Estuary, the second largest bay in Florida, is located on the Gulf of Mexico coast of west Florida, mostly (2/3) in Charlotte County, Florida with the remaining 1/3 in Lee County. The harbor's mouth is located behind Gasparilla Island, one of the many coastal barrier islands on the southwest coast of Florida, with access from the Gulf of Mexico through the Boca Grande Pass between Gasparilla Island on the north and Lacosta Island on the south. Charlotte Harbor covers about 270 sq mi (700 km2)

Calusa political influence and control also extended over other tribes in southern Florida, including the Mayaimi around Lake Okeechobee, and the Tequesta and Jaega on the southeast coast of the peninsula. Calusa influence may have also extended to the Ais tribe on the central east coast of Florida. [1]

Mayaimi Native American people

The Mayaimi were Native American people who lived around Lake Mayaimi in the Belle Glade area of Florida from the beginning of the Common Era until the 17th or 18th century. In the languages of the Mayaimi, Calusa, and Tequesta tribes, Mayaimi meant "big water." The origin of the language has not been determined, as the meanings of only ten words were recorded before extinction. The linguist Julian Granberry states that the language of the Calusa, Mayaimi and Tequesta people is related to the Tunica language. The current name, Okeechobee, is derived from the Hitchiti word meaning "big water". The Mayaimis have no linguistic or cultural relationship with the Miamis of Great Lakes region. The city of Miami is named after the Miami River, which derived its name from Lake Mayaimi.

Lake Okeechobee freshwater lake in the state of Florida

Lake Okeechobee, also known as Florida's Inland Sea, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the eighth largest natural freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest natural freshwater lake contained entirely within the contiguous United States. Okeechobee covers 730 square miles (1,900 km2), approximately half the size of the state of Rhode Island, and is exceptionally shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet. The Kissimmee River, located directly north of Lake Okeechobee, is the lake's primary source. The lake is divided between Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, and Hendry counties. All five counties meet at one point near the center of the lake.

Tequesta Native American people

The Tequesta Native American tribe, at the time of first European contact, occupied an area along the southeastern Atlantic coast of Florida. They had infrequent contact with Europeans and had largely migrated by the middle of the 18th century.


Early Spanish and French sources referred to the tribe, its chief town, and its chief as Calos, Calus, Caalus, and Carlos. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a Spaniard held captive by the Calusa in the 16th century, recorded that Calusa meant "fierce people" in their language. By the early 19th century, Anglo-Americans in the area used the term Calusa for the people. It is based on the Creek and Mikasuki (languages of the present-day Seminole and Miccosukee nations) ethnonym for the people who had lived around the Caloosahatchee River (also from the Creek language). [2]

Spanish Empire world empire from the 16th to the 19th century

The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies". It also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom.

Juan Rogel, a Jesuit missionary to the Calusa in the late 1560s, noted the chief's name as Carlos but wrote that the name of the "kingdom" was Escampaba, with an alternate spelling of Escampaha. Rogel also stated that the chief's name was Caalus, and that the Spanish had changed it to Carlos. Marquardt quotes a statement from the 1570s that "the Bay of Carlos ... in the Indian language is called Escampaba, for the cacique of this town, who afterward called himself Carlos in devotion to the Emperor" (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor). Escampaba may be related to a place named Stapaba, which was identified in the area on an early 16th-century map. [2]

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

A cacique is a leader of an indigenous group, derived from the Taíno word kasikɛ for the pre-Columbian tribal chiefs in the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. In the colonial era, Spaniards extended the word as a title for the leaders of practically all indigenous groups that they encountered in the Western Hemisphere. In Spanish America, Brazil, Spain, and Portugal, the term also has come to mean a political boss or leader who exercises significant power in the political system known as caciquismo.


Paleo-Indians entered what is now Florida at least 12,000 years ago. By around 5000 BC, people started living in villages near wetlands. Favored sites were likely occupied for multiple generations. Florida's climate had reached current conditions and the sea had risen close to its present level by about 3000 BC. People commonly occupied both fresh and saltwater wetlands. Because of their reliance on shellfish, they accumulated large shell middens during this period. Many people lived in large villages with purpose-built earthwork mounds, such as those at Horr's Island. People began creating fired pottery in Florida by 2000 BC. [3]

Paleo-Indians classification term given to the first peoples who entered the American continents

Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleoamericans is a classification term given by scholars to the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios (παλαιός), meaning "old" or "ancient". The term "Paleo-Indians" applies specifically to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic".

Mound Artificial heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris

A mound is a heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. Most commonly, mounds are earthen formations such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. A mound may be any rounded area of topographically higher elevation on any surface. Artificial mounds have been created for a variety of reasons throughout history, including ceremonial, burial (tumulus), and commemorative purposes.

Horrs Island archaeological site archaeological site in Florida, US

The Horr's Island archaeological site is a significant Archaic period archaeological site located on an island in Southwest Florida formerly known as Horr's Island. Horr's Island is on the south side of Marco Island in Collier County, Florida. The site includes four mounds and a shell ring. It has one of the oldest known mound burials in the eastern United States, dating to about 3400 radiocarbon years Before Present (BP). One of the mounds has been dated to as early as 6700 BP. It was the largest known community in the southeastern United States to have been permanently occupied during the Archaic period.

By about 500 BC, the Archaic culture, which had been fairly uniform across Florida, began to devolve into more distinct regional cultures. [3] Some Archaic artifacts have been found in the region later occupied by the Calusa, including one site classified as early Archaic, and dated prior to 5000 BC. There is evidence that the people intensively exploited Charlotte Harbor aquatic resources before 3500 BC. Undecorated pottery belonging to the early Glades culture appeared in the region around 500 BC. Pottery distinct from the Glades tradition developed in the region around AD 500, marking the beginning of the Caloosahatchee culture. This lasted until about 1750, and included the historic Calusa people. By 880, a complex society had developed with high population densities. Later periods in the Caloosahatchee culture are defined in the archaeological record by the appearance of pottery from other traditions.

The Caloosahatchee culture inhabited the Florida west coast from Estero Bay to Charlotte Harbor and inland about halfway to Lake Okeechobee, approximately covering what are now Charlotte and Lee counties. At the time of first European contact, the Caloosahatchee culture region formed the core of the Calusa domain. Artifacts related to fishing changed slowly over this period, with no obvious breaks in tradition that might indicate a replacement of the population. [4]

Between 500 and 1000, the undecorated, sand-tempered pottery that had been common in the area was replaced by "Belle Glade Plain" pottery. This was made with clay containing spicules from freshwater sponges ( Spongilla ), and it first appeared inland in sites around Lake Okeechobee. This change may have resulted from the people's migration from the interior to the coastal region, or may reflect trade and cultural influences. There was little change in the pottery tradition after this. The Calusa were descended from people who had lived in the area for at least 1,000 years prior to European contact, and possibly for much longer than that. [4]


Diorama of a Calusa chief at the FMNH Flmn chiefshut.JPG
Diorama of a Calusa chief at the FMNH

The Calusa had a stratified society, consisting of "commoners" and "nobles" in Spanish terms. A few leaders governed the tribe. They were supported by the labor of the majority of the Calusa. The leaders included the tribal chief, or "king"; a military leader (capitán general in Spanish); and a chief priest. In 1564, according to a Spanish source, the priest was the chief's father, and the military leader was his cousin. The Spanish documented four cases of known succession to the position of paramount chief, recording most names in Spanish form. Senequne succeeded his brother (name unknown), and was in turn succeeded by his son Carlos. Carlos was succeeded by his cousin (and brother-in-law) Felipe, who was in turn succeeded by another cousin of Carlos, Pedro. The Spanish reported that the chief was expected to marry his sister. [5] The contemporary archeologists MacMahon and Marquardt suggest this statement may have been a misunderstanding of a requirement to marry a "clan-sister". The chief also married women from subject towns and allied tribes. This use of marriages to secure alliances was demonstrated when Carlos offered his sister Antonia in marriage to the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1566. [5]

Material culture


The Calusa diet at settlements along the coast and estuaries consisted primarily of fish, in particular pinfish ( Lagodon rhomboides ), pigfish (redmouth grunt), ( Orthopristis chrysoptera) and hardhead catfish (Ariopsis felis). These small fish were supplemented by larger bony fish, sharks and rays, mollusks, crustaceans, ducks, sea turtles and land turtles, and land animals. When Pedro Menéndez de Avilés visited in 1566, the Calusa served only fish and oysters to the Spanish. An analysis of faunal remains at one coastal habitation site, the Wightman site (on Sanibel Island), showed that more than 93 percent of the energy from animals in the diet came from fish and shellfish, less than 6 percent of the energy came from mammals, and less than 1 percent came from birds and reptiles. By contrast, at an inland site, Platt Island, mammals (primarily deer) accounted for more than 60 percent of the energy from animal meat, while fish provided just under 20 percent. [6]

Some authors have argued that the Calusa cultivated maize and Zamia integrifolia (coontie) for food. But Widmer argues that the evidence for maize cultivation by the Calusa depends on the proposition that the Narváez and de Soto expeditions landed in Charlotte Harbor rather than Tampa Bay, which is now generally discounted. No Zamia pollen has been found at any site associated with the Calusas, nor does Zamia grow in the wetlands that made up most of the Calusa environment. Marquardt notes that the Calusa turned down the offer of agricultural tools from the Spanish, saying that they had no need for them. The Calusa gathered a variety of wild berries, fruits, nuts, roots and other plant parts. Widmer cites George Murdock's estimate that only some 20 percent of the Calusa diet consisted of wild plants that they gathered. However, no evidence of plant food was found at the Wightman site. There is evidence that as early as 2,000 years ago, the Calusa cultivated papaya (Catrica papaya), a gourd of the species Cucurbita pepo, and the bottle gourd, the last two of which were used for net floats and dippers. [6]


Calusa carving of an alligator's head Calusa carved gator head.jpg
Calusa carving of an alligator's head

The Calusa caught most of their fish with nets. Nets were woven with a standard mesh size; nets with different mesh sizes were used seasonally to catch the most abundant and useful fish available. The Calusa made bone and shell gauges that they used in net weaving. Cultivated gourds were used as net floats, and sinkers and net weights were made from mollusk shells. The Calusa also used spears, hooks, and throat gorges to catch fish. Well-preserved nets, net floats, and hooks were found at Key Marco, in the territory of the neighboring Muspa tribe. [7] [8]

Mollusk shells and wood were used to make hammering and pounding tools. Mollusks shells and shark teeth were used for grating, cutting, carving and engraving. The Calusa wove nets from palm-fiber cord. Cord was also made from Cabbage Palm leaves, saw palmetto trunks, Spanish moss, false sisal ( Agave decipiens) and the bark of cypress and willow trees. The Calusa also made fish traps, weirs, and fish corrals from wood and cord. [9] [8] Artifacts of wood that have been found include bowls, ear ornaments, masks, plaques, "ornamental standards," and a finely carved deer head. The plaques and other objects were often painted. To date no one has found a Calusa dugout canoe, but it is speculated that such vessels would have been constructed from cypress or pine, as used by other Florida tribes. The process of shaping the boat was achieved by burning the middle and subsequently chopping and removing the charred center, using robust shell tools. (In 1954 a dugout canoe was found during excavation for a middle school in Marathon, Florida. It was not conserved and is in poor shape, but it is displayed at the nature center in Marathon. It has been speculatively identified as Calusa in origin.) [10]


The Calusa lived in large, communal houses which were two stories high. When Pedro Menéndez de Avilés visited the capital in 1566, he described the chief's house as large enough to hold 2,000 without crowding, indicating it also served as the council house. When the chief formally received Menéndez in his house, the chief sat on a raised seat surrounded by 500 of his principal men, while his sister-wife sat on another raised seat surrounded by 500 women. The chief's house was described as having two big windows, suggesting that it had walls. Five friars who stayed in the chief's house in 1697 complained that the roof let in the rain, sun and dew. The chief's house, and possibly the other houses at Calos, were built on top of earthen mounds. In a report from 1697, the Spanish noted 16 houses in the Calusa capital of Calos, which had 1,000 residents. [11]

Clothing and personal decoration

The Calusa wore little clothing. The men wore a deerskin breechcloth. The Spanish left less description on what the Calusa women wore. Among most tribes in Florida for which there is documentation, the women wore skirts made of what was later called Spanish moss. The Calusa painted their bodies on a regular basis, but there was no report of tattooing among them. The men wore their hair long. The missionaries recognized that having a Calusa man cut his hair upon converting to Christianity (and European style) would be a great sacrifice. Little was recorded of jewelry or other ornamentation among the Calusa. During Menéndez de Avilés's visit in 1566, the chief's wife was described as wearing pearls, precious stones and gold beads around her neck. The heir of the chief wore gold in an ornament on his forehead and beads on his legs. [12]


The Calusa believed that three supernatural people ruled the world, that people had three souls, and that souls migrated to animals after death. The most powerful ruler governed the physical world, the second most powerful ruled human governments, and the last helped in wars, choosing which side would win. The Calusa believed that the three souls were the pupil of a person's eye, his shadow, and his reflection. The soul in the eye's pupil stayed with the body after death, and the Calusa would consult with that soul at the graveside. The other two souls left the body after death and entered into an animal. If a Calusa killed such an animal, the soul would migrate to a lesser animal and eventually be reduced to nothing. [13]

Calusa ceremonies included processions of priests and singing women. The priests wore carved masks, which were at other times hung on the walls inside a temple. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, an early chronicler of the Calusa, described "sorcerers in the shape of the devil, with some horns on their heads," who ran through the town yelling like animals for four months at a time.

The Calusa remained committed to their belief system despite Spanish attempts to convert them to Catholicism. The "nobles" resisted conversion in part because their power and position were intimately tied to the belief system; they were intermediaries between the gods and the people. Conversion would have destroyed the source of their authority and legitimacy. The Calusa resisted physical encroachment and spiritual conversion by the Spanish and their missionaries for almost 200 years. After suffering decimation by disease, the tribe was destroyed by Creek and Yamasee raiders early in the 18th century. [14]


Extinct ca. 1800
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog calu1239 [15]

Little is known of the language of the Calusa. A dozen words for which translations were recorded and 50 or 60 place names form the entire known corpus of the language. Circumstantial evidence, primarily from Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, suggests that all of the peoples of southern Florida and the Tampa Bay area, including the Tequesta, Mayaimi, and Tocobago, as well as the Calusa, spoke dialects of a common language. This language was distinct from the languages of the Apalachee, Timucua, Mayaca, and Ais people in central and northern Florida. Julian Granberry has suggested that the Calusa language was related to the Tunica language of the lower Mississippi River Valley. [16] [17]


A few vocabulary examples from Granberry's work are listed below: [18]

(*) denotes earlier century Calusa language records.


Granberry has provided an inventory of phonemes to the sounds of the Calusa language. [18] [17]


Fricatives, śh



A Calusa ś sound is said to range between a /s/ to a /ʃ/ sound.

European contact

At the time of First Contact CalusaTerritory.png
At the time of First Contact
De Soto route and indigenous groups at time DeSoto Map Leg 1 HRoe 2008.jpg
De Soto route and indigenous groups at time

The first recorded contact between the Calusa and Europeans was in 1513, when Juan Ponce de León landed on the west coast of Florida in May, probably at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, after his earlier discovery of Florida in April. The Calusa knew of the Spanish before this landing, however, as they had taken in Native American refugees from the Spanish subjugation of Cuba. The Spanish careened one of their ships, and Calusas offered to trade with them. After ten days a man who spoke Spanish approached Ponce de León's ships with a request to wait for the arrival of the Calusa chief. Soon 20 war canoes attacked the Spanish, who drove off the Calusa, killing or capturing several of them. The next day 80 "shielded" canoes attacked the Spanish ships, but the battle was inconclusive. The Spanish departed and returned to Puerto Rico. In 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdoba landed in southwest Florida on his return voyage from discovering the Yucatán. He was also attacked by the Calusa. In 1521 Ponce de León returned to southwest Florida to plant a colony, but the Calusa drove the Spanish out, mortally wounding Ponce de León. [19]

The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition of 1528 and the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1539 both landed in the vicinity of Tampa Bay, north of the Calusa domain. Dominican missionaries reached the Calusa domain in 1549 but withdrew because of the hostility of the tribe. Salvaged goods and survivors from wrecked Spanish ships reached the Calusa during the 1540s and 1550s. The best information about the Calusa comes from the Memoir of Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, one of these survivors. Fontaneda was shipwrecked on the east coast of Florida, likely in the Florida Keys, about 1550, when he was thirteen years old. Although many others survived the shipwreck, only Fontaneda was spared by the tribe in whose territory they landed. Warriors killed all the adult men. Fontaneda lived with various tribes in southern Florida for the next seventeen years before being found by the Menendez de Avilés expedition. [20] [21]

In 1566 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, founder of St. Augustine, made contact with the Calusa. He struck an uneasy peace with their leader Caluus, or Carlos. Menéndez married Carlos' sister, who took the baptismal name Doña Antonia at conversion. Menéndez left a garrison of soldiers and a Jesuit mission, San Antón de Carlos, at the Calusa capital. Hostilities erupted, and the Spanish soldiers killed Carlos, his successor Felipe, and several of the "nobles" before they abandoned their fort and mission in 1569. [22]

For more than a century after the Avilés adventure, there was little contact between the Spanish and Calusa. Re-entering the area in 1614, Spanish forces attacked the Calusa as part of a war between the Calusa and Spanish-allied tribes around Tampa Bay. A Spanish expedition to ransom some captives held by the Calusa in 1680 was forced to turn back; neighboring tribes refused to guide the Spanish, for fear of retaliation by the Calusa. In 1697 Franciscan missionaries established a mission to the Calusa but left after a few months. [23]

After the outbreak of war between Spain and England in 1702, slaving raids by Uchise Creek and Yamasee Indians allied with the English Province of Carolina began reaching far down the Florida peninsula. The English supplied firearms to the Creek and Yemasee, but the Calusa, who had isolated themselves from Europeans, had none. Ravaged by new infectious diseases introduced to the Americas by European contact and by the slaving raids, the surviving Calusa retreated south and east.

In 1711, the Spanish helped evacuate 270 Indians, including many Calusa, from the Florida Keys to Cuba (where almost 200 soon died). They left 1,700 behind. The Spanish founded a mission on Biscayne Bay in 1743 to serve survivors from several tribes, including the Calusa, who had gathered there and in the Florida Keys. The mission was closed after only a few months.

When Spain ceded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1763, they evacuated the last remnants of the tribes of south Florida to Cuba. While a few Calusa individuals may have stayed behind and been absorbed into the Seminole, no documentation supports that. [24] Cuban fishing camps (ranchos) operated along the southwest Florida coast from the 18th century into the middle of the 19th century. Some of the "Spanish Indians" (often of mixed Spanish-Indian heritage) who worked at the fishing camps likely were descended from Calusa. [25]

See also


  1. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 1-2
  2. 1 2 Marquadt 2004, pp. 211–212
    Hann 2003, pp. 14–15
  3. 1 2 Milanich 1994, pp. 32–35
    Milanich 1998, pp. 3–37
  4. 1 2 Milanich 1993.
    Milanich 1995.
  5. 1 2 MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 78-79, 86
    Widmer, pp. 5-6
  6. 1 2 Widmer:224–31
    Marquardt 2004:206
    Hann 2003:31–2
  7. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 69–70
  8. 1 2 Marquardt 2004, pp. 206–207
  9. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 69–71
  10. MacMahon and Marquardt: The Calusa and Their Legacy p.73
  11. Hann 2003, pp. 35–36
  12. Hann 2003, pp. 33–35
  13. Winn, pp. 16–17
  14. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 82–85, 87
  15. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Calusa". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  16. Granberry, Julian (2011). The Calusa: Linguistic and Cultural Relationships. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press. pp. 19–24. ISBN   978-0-8173-1751-5.
  17. 1 2 Granberry, Julian (1994). Evidence for a Calusa-Tunica Relationship.
  18. 1 2 Granberry 2011: 27-38
  19. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 115–116
  20. Bullen
  21. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 116–117
  22. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 86, 117
  23. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 117–118
  24. MacMahon and Marquardt, pp. 118-121
  25. Marquardt 2004, p. 211
Calusa Calusa.png

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Key Marco Archaeological site in Florida, US

Key Marco was an archaeological site (8CR48) consisting of a large shell works island next to Marco Island, Florida. A small pond on Key Marco, now known as the "Court of the Pile Dwellers," (8CR49) was excavated in 1896 by the Smithsonian Institution's Pepper-Hearst Expedition, led by Frank Hamilton Cushing. Cushing recovered more than 1,000 wooden artifacts from the pond, the largest number of wooden artifacts from any prehistoric archaeological site in the eastern United States. These artifacts are described as some of the finest prehistoric Native American art in North America. The Key Marco materials are principally divided between the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; and the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. The original pond was completely excavated and refilled. It is now covered by a housing subdivision. Excavations of small parts of the site were also conducted in 1965 and 1995..

The Mocama were a Native American people who lived in the coastal areas of what are now northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. A Timucua group, they spoke the dialect known as Mocama, the best-attested dialect of the Timucua language. Their territory extended from about the Altamaha River in Georgia to south of St. Augustine, Florida, covering the Sea Islands and the inland waterways, including the mouth of the St. Johns River in present-day Jacksonville and the Intracoastal. At the time of contact with Europeans, there were two major chiefdoms among the Mocama, the Saturiwa and the Tacatacuru, each of which evidently had authority over multiple villages.

Useppa Island island in the United States of America

Useppa Island is an island located near the northern end of Pine Island Sound in Lee County, Florida, United States. It has been known for luxury resorts since the late 19th century, and it is currently the home of the private Useppa Island Club. On May 21, 1996, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, due to its archaeological significance. The Barbara Sumwalt Museum is located on the island.

The indigenous people of the Everglades region arrived in the Florida peninsula of what is now the United States approximately 14,000 to 15,000 years ago, probably following large game. The Paleo-Indians found an arid landscape that supported plants and animals adapted to prairie and xeric scrub conditions. Large animals became extinct in Florida around 11,000 years ago. Climate changes 6,500 years ago brought a wetter landscape. The Paleo-Indians slowly adapted to the new conditions. Archaeologists call the cultures that resulted from the adaptations Archaic peoples. They were better suited for environmental changes than their ancestors, and created many tools with the resources they had. Approximately 5,000 years ago, the climate shifted again to cause the regular flooding from Lake Okeechobee that gave rise to the Everglades ecosystems.

Timucua Native American people

The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the Timucua language. At the time of European contact, Timucuan speakers occupied about 19,200 square miles (50,000 km2) in the present-day states of Florida and Georgia, with an estimated population of 200,000. Milanich notes that the population density calculated from those figures, 10.4 per square mile (4.0/km2) is close to the population densities calculated by other authors for the Bahamas and for Hispaniola at the time of first European contact. The territory occupied by Timucua speakers stretched from the Altamaha River and Cumberland Island in present-day Georgia as far south as Lake George in central Florida, and from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Aucilla River in the Florida Panhandle, though it reached the Gulf of Mexico at no more than a couple of points.

The indigenous peoples of Florida lived in what is now known as Florida for more than 12,000 years before the time of first contact with Europeans. However, the indigenous Floridians have largely died out with some completely by the early 18th century. Some Apalachees migrated to Louisiana, where their descendants now live, some were taken to Cuba and Mexico by the Spanish in the 18th century, and a few may have been absorbed into the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes.


Mocoso was the name of a 16th-century chiefdom located on the east side of Tampa Bay, Florida near the mouth of the Alafia River, of its chief town and of its chief. Mocoso was also the name of a 17th-century village in the province of Acuera, a branch of the Timucua. The people of both villages are believed to have been speakers of the Timucua language.

Safety Harbor culture Archaeological culture practiced by Native Americans living on the central Gulf coast Florida

The Safety Harbor culture was an archaeological culture practiced by Native Americans living on the central Gulf coast of the Florida peninsula, from about 900 CE until after 1700. The Safety Harbor culture is defined by the presence of Safety Harbor ceramics in burial mounds. The culture is named after the Safety Harbor Site, which is close to the center of the culture area. The Safety Harbor Site is the probable location of the chief town of the Tocobaga, the best known of the groups practicing the Safety Harbor culture.

Northern Utina

The Northern Utina, also known as the Timucua or simply Utina, were a Timucua people of northern Florida. They lived north of the Santa Fe River and east of the Suwannee River, and spoke a dialect of the Timucua language known as "Timucua proper". They appear to have been closely associated with the Yustaga people, who lived on the other side of the Suwannee. The Northern Utina represented one of the most powerful tribal units in the region in the 16th and 17th centuries, and may have been organized as a loose chiefdom or confederation of smaller chiefdoms. The Fig Springs archaeological site may be the remains of their principal village, Ayacuto, and the later Spanish mission of San Martín de Timucua.

The Yustaga were a Timucua people of what is now northwestern Florida during the 16th and 17th centuries. The westernmost Timucua group, they lived between the Aucilla and Suwannee Rivers in the Florida Panhandle, just east of the Apalachee people. A dominant force in regional tribal politics, they may have been organized as a loose regional chiefdom consisting of up to eight smaller local chiefdoms.

Muspa was the name of a town and a group of indigenous people in southwestern Florida in the early historic period, from first contact with the Spanish until indigenous peoples were gone from Florida, late in the 18th century.

Pohoy was a chiefdom on the shores of Tampa Bay in present-day Florida in the late sixteenth century and all of the seventeenth century. Following slave-taking raids by Hichiti language-speaking Muscogee people at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the surviving Pohoy people lived in several locations in peninsular Florida. The Pohoy disappeared from historical accounts after 1739.