Calusa houses didn’t have any walls. They were more like canopies–roofs of palm leaves supported by wooden poles.
Their estimated population in 1650 was 3,000 living in 50 villages. The Calusa relied more on the sea than on agriculture for their livelihood. They made tools and weapons of seashells and fish bones. Their dwellings were of wood, built on piles, and their sacred buildings were erected on flat-topped mounds.
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.
The Seminole are a Native American people originally from Florida. Today, they live in Oklahoma and Florida, and comprise three federally recognized tribes: the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, as well as independent groups.
Little is known about Calusa religion. They believed in three superior beings, one controlled the weather, the others ruled the welfare of the tribe and warfare. Each human had three souls, present in his shadow, his reflection in water and in the pupil of his eye.
The Calusa tribe died out in the late 1700s. Many Calusa were captured and sold as slaves. In addition, diseases such as smallpox and measles were brought into the area from the Spanish and French explorers and these diseases wiped out entire villages.
The Europeans brought diseases with them that the Timucua easily caught and died from, since their bodies did not have natural resistance to the diseases. The Spanish taught the Indians how to live like Spanish did.
What Happened to Them? In approximately 1528, Pánfilo de Narváez, a Spanish explorer, arrived in the Tampa Bay area. He and his men found the Tocobaga and brought disease and violence to the tribe’s peaceful existence. As a result, the Tocobaga Indians became extinct within the next 100 years.
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.
Calusa Indian Language (Caloosa) Although the Calusa tribe was once extremely powerful (defeating the Spanish on numerous occasions) and technologically advanced (building canals and artificial islands), they were devastated by European diseases and the tribe essentially disbanded in the early 18th century.
The Calusa Indians were originally called the “Calos” which means “Fierce People.” They were descendants of Paleo- Indians who inhabited Southwest Florida approximately 12,000 years ago.
The Tequesta (tuh-KES-tuh) were a small, peaceful, Native American tribe. They were one of the first tribes in South Florida and they settled near Biscayne Bay in the present-day Miami area. They built many villages at the mouth of the Miami River and along the coastal islands.
Once a month, every man, woman and child in the tribe gets a check for $1,000 – up from $300 a year ago. The money is generated from the tribe’s gaming tables, with revenue divided equally among members after expenses.
Almost all of the tribe’s $525 million in annual dividends flows from the Seminoles ‘ seven Florida casinos, which are worth an estimated $10.4 billion.
By May 10, 1842, when a frustrated President John Tyler ordered the end of military actions against the Seminoles, over $20 million had been spent, 1500 American soldiers had died and still no formal peace treaty had been signed.