History of Florida
By Jerry Wilkinson
(These six Florida history pages are presented as reference.     JW)

        From the beginning, the human race has progressed to higher and more efficient life styles. The various Indian cultures banded together into what we now call tribes. Those that were here when Columbus made his voyage are referred to as historic Indians or pre-Columbian Indians. Therefore, with the arrival of the white man and his written language, out went the prehistoric times and in came the historic times. Fragments of written evidence, such as hand written ship logs and guides (derroteros) began to appear.
        At the beginning of the historic period, in 1492 AD, it is conservatively estimated that there were about 100,000 Indians living in Florida. Some estimate as many as 350,000. Accepting the first estimate, the distribution is thought of as this: Timucuans in the northeast, 40,000; Apalachee and Pensacola in the northwest, 25,000; Tocobaga in the west-central, 8,000; Calusa in the southwest, 20,000; Tequesta in the southeast, 5,000; Jeaga, Jobe and Ais in the east-central, 2,000. There were others, as well as sub-groups, i.e., Saturiwa, Santaluces, Boca Ratones, Tocobaga, etc. By the late 1700s, it is thought that all of these indigenous Indians were gone. Also, note that there is no mention of the Seminoles, as they did not enter Florida until the early 1700s.
        Please be aware that all these Indian names, and those given later, were names given by their so called educated new-world explorers, primarily Europeans. The presumed names would be recorded phonetically by each writer. Even the Seminoles, who are not indigenous Florida Indians, never did -and still do not- call themselves Seminoles when speaking privately among themselves.
       There exists considerable debate about which historic Indians were the early inhabitants of the Keys. Historians are relatively certain that the Florida West Coast Calusa was dominant and exercised political control over the east coast Tequesta’s. However, the two tribe’s pottery differs and fragments of pottery found in the Keys often indicate presence of the Tequesta, but the living areas (middens) were shell mounds indicating Calusa. There is also mounting evidence that the Caribbean Island Indians may have also inhabited the Keys. The present archaeological evidence is not conclusive, other than the general reference by early European travelers to the Matecumbes as the Keys Indians.
       Another explanation is that the Calusa was actually a confederation of other tribes including the Tequesta, Ais, Jeaga and others. All of these major tribes are thought to have been composed of sub-tribes usually named after their respective chiefs, possibly giving rise to names like Matecumbes, Bahiahondas and Biscaynos. The latter were the names prevalently used by the early European travelers to the Keys and the former names to those of the mainland. This compares with a person who could be described as Irish, American, Floridian, Dade Countian and Miamian, but there is still only one person. Ethnology deals with not only the place of origin, but with subsequent divisions and distributions.
       For a more detailed rendition of the above period,  Click HERE, then use back arrow to return. 
       I recommend that the serious Florida Keys' Indian student consult a 1991 and 1994 published books by John Hann titled Missions to the Calusa and Florida’s First People by Robin C. Brown. One problem that I found was when the Spanish used the word transcribed as " Cayo or Key", how does one know if it is the Monroe County Keys or some other Florida Key such as those on Florida’s west coast. The only time I feel certain is when they refer to the Martyrs. 
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