Florida Guide > Florida History
The Jeagas in Florida.
The Jeaga Indian tribe lived on what is now known as Palm Beach County. You may also have heard them called geiga, xega or jobe Unlike their peace loving neighbours the Tequesta, the Jeagans were war like aggresive and frightening. At one point their number seems to have numbered around 2000 souls.
The Jeagans can be safely dated back to 1000 BC; well after the Native Americans of the more northern counties. This could well be because of the mosquito problem in the more southern areas. They lived mainly on the food from the sea and who could blame them with such fertile waters nearby.
These people did not farm the land but would have gathered sea grapes and other wild fruits. Their lack of enthusiasm for growing crops is mysterious given the fertile nature of the lands and indeed other Native American groups farmed with enthusiasm. On ceremonial occasions the men would have drunk black drink which was a highly caffeinated drink that was made from roasted roots and leaves. So potent was this drink that it eventually have caused the men to vomit.
They were once probably part of the Ais tribe and indeed later in their history were again merged.
Jonathan Dickinson mentions them in his journals; The Jeagans held him for some days along with his group. This was in 1695.
If you want to learn more about the Jeagan life then you should visit Boynton Indian Mounds which consist of many mounds (rubbish tips) that vary in size from 200 to a few feet across. The mounds are a perfect way to trace the history and habits of all the Native American tribes. Each layer reveals another era.
Unfortunately the largest mound is covered by an apartment block so it will be impossible to unlock its secrets until it is demolished. The respect for these historic sites was not observed until more recent times which is most unfortunate.
Other mounds have pottery, marine vertabrae and turtle shells that date back to 600 B. C. Rather mysteriously one of the mounds is covered in white sand and this has never been explained.
In the seventeen hundreds the Jeagas merged with the Tequesta and Ais tribes and were later forced to go to Cubaagainst their will. Later the triple curse of disease, slavery and expulsion wiped them out completely and this was the end of the centuries old Jeaga era.
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Page added on: 6 October 2009
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