Picture credit: A Public Domain image of Jacques le Moyne ??
Florida’s First People
Today’s Blog is about one of the very earliest residents of Florida, the Timucuan Indians.
It is pronounced, tee-MOO-qua.
Our home here in Central Florida is on land where these Ancient people once lived.
The St. John’s River, which flows from South to North, not far from us, was of great historical importance to the Timucuans and several other local tribes here in Central Florida.
The Timucuans, were a rather tall, and slim race of Native people, who lived in this area, in the 1500’s and were estimated to number between 50,000 to 200,000 at the time.
But, by 1700, thanks to the diseases brought by the invading Spanish, their numbers had dwindled down to around 1,000.
By 1800, they were considered to be likely completely eliminated or extinct.
Interbreeding with the “ invaders” was the final blow to these once thriving Native people, who lived in nearly perfect harmony with their lush environment.
The Timucua existed in many Chiefdoms and were either hunters and gatherers or farmers, depending on which part of the state that they lived in.
The areas of Florida where they lived were rich and plentiful, with every kind of food that they needed to thrive, from game, reptiles and fish, to berries and plants.
They hunted with bows and arrows and other weapons and when the seasons changed, they dried what they wanted to save to use later.
In the Northern parts of the state, some of the Natives grew crops, like the ” three sisters,” of corn, beans and squash.
Florida was at that time, before the “invaders” came, a virtual paradise.
Today, these Ancient Indians, who were here long before any outsiders ever stepped foot on this land,
are not often spoken of in our local schools, in the news or even on web sites, which claim to be historical
reference places for their individual counties.
This is sad because so many of the names and places here reflect the importance and influence
that these Ancient people had, on not only this area, but on the entire state of Florida.
Map credit: Unknown
Here are a few places to learn more about the First People of Florida: