Florida Guide > Florida History
The Appalachians in Florida
The Appalachian Indian were the Native Americans who lived in an area that went from the Georgia state line to the Gulf of Mexico. At one time there was as many as 50000 Appalachians living in smallish village groups. What was considered to be a large village would only comprise around 100 houses and there would be occasional single family farm steads.
The women grew the crops of beans, corn and squash and the men were the hunters. They would be tracking deer, bears and other small game.
This tribe lived very succesful lives and the men wereknown to be fearsome; they would scalp their enemy and display said scalp as a badge of honour.
They played a game which had some references to English football; this was played with a small hard ball and the teams had several dozen men per side. Each village would play the other and the best players were revered so this game played a very important part in their lives.
Lake Jackson was their captal and there was an awesome mound here befitting the chief.
Typically the women wore skirts made of spanish moss. Spanish moss is the fluffy looking growth that hangs off the branches of trees; when you are in Florida you re bound to have seen this.
Men wore loin cloths made from bear skin. Men going into battle would daub themselves with ochre and wear feathers in their hair. The men smoked tobacco. The language spoken was Muskogean which is no longer spoken anywhere.
The first Europeans these Native Americans would have encountered was the Spanish explorers lead by Panfilo de Narugez; they were in search of gold and the year was 1528.
11 years later Hernando de Soto and his folloers were unwelcome visitors to Anhaica and this is when they were exposed to European diseases that were to prove so devastating to these folk with no defences against these strange illnesses. De Soto fed 600 men and over 200 horses on the Appalachians stored food.
The Spanish challenged their traditional belifs and around 10% converted to Catholicism and a mission was built in which 1500 Spaniards and Appalachians lived. This mission was destroyed in 1704 by the British and the Creeks and the Native Americans tht were not killed or taken as slaves dispersed to St Augustine, Creek terrotories or Mobile.
The only survivors today live in Louisiana and number no more than a paltry 300.
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