Florida Guide > Florida History
The Native Americans were the most important part of Floridas history and here is a little about the Timucuan Indians who lived from approximately 3000 years ago to as recently as the 18th century.
They were settled mainly in the northern areas of Florida and lived mainly in forests by water. At one time there aere around 50000 Tuucuans settled in Florida and Georgia.
You can divide these people into 7 tribes all speaking a variation of the same language and they were further divided into 35 Chiefdoms. You could then separate them into family clans most of whom took animal names.
Each village had around 35 homes and 300 inhabitants. These homes measured around 18 feet across and were circular with a roof made of palms. In the roof was a hole for ventilation. Anyone who has been to Florida in the summer will marvel at how they could sleep without our welcome air con. These holes in the roof also allowed smoke to escape.
These hunter/ gatherers also grew crops in time; these would have included squash, beans and corn. They also grew tobacco. In addition to the normal fish they also ate manatee and alligator;
All this good food made the Timucuans a tall people for their time; a fact that was accentuated by their habit of wearing high turban like head pieces. This was a surprise to the rather short Spaniards at a later stage of the Timucuans history.
They wore clothes made from animal skins and fashioned jewellry and tools out of shells, bones and gourds They were also heavily tatooed according to rank. They cooked in a fire pit and had a gathering hall for social occasions.
Many of you will have visited St Augustine and the Timucuans were thought to have been the first to see Ponce De Leon land here in 1513. It was all downhill for the Native Americans from here on since the Spanish missionaries brought diseases to their villages and reduced the population by three quarters.
In 1513, Hernando De Soto cut a swathe through their villages and killed the men and took their wives. Later in 1821, the British along with some smaller groups took some as slaves and killed others and so it was that as we get to 1821 only 5 of these proud peoples remained.
A good place to visit to learn about these particular Native Americans is the permanent village in Orange City; call 386 774 7202 for more info on that
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Page added on: 11 August 2009
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