The Calusa kingdom was eventually devastated by European diseases as well as slave raids by enemy tribes. There are shell museums, shell craft shops, and even one enormous property known as Shell World. [1], Early Spanish and French sources referred to the tribe, its chief town, and its chief as Calos, Calus, Caalus, and Carlos. It appeared to have been varnished. However, that was the fate of the Calusa Indians. Tours are available here as well. The next day 80 "shielded" canoes attacked the Spanish ships, but the battle was inconclusive. By around 5000 BC, people started living in villages near wetlands. Calusa influence may have also extended to the Ais tribe on the central east coast of Florida. The Calusa painted their bodies on a regular basis, but there was no report of tattooing among them. The Spanish departed and returned to Puerto Rico. The chief also married women from subject towns and allied tribes. The Calusa lived on the sandy shores of the southwest coast of Florida. [2], Paleo-Indians entered what is now Florida at least 12,000 years ago. The Calusa made bone and shell gauges that they used in net weaving. Calusa Indian History: History and genealogy of the Calusa Indians. The chief's house, and possibly the other houses at Calos, were built on top of earthen mounds. He believed the details in the carvings revealed spiritual elements of the Calusas. The Calusa wove nets from palm-fiber cord. Archeologists have unearthed many wooden carvings and masks. Historical documents indicate that by the mid-1700s, the dwindling Calusa population had fled to Cuba, or the Florida Keys. They believed in three superior beings, one controlled the weather, the others ruled the welfare of the tribe and warfare. Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There is evidence that as early as 2,000 years ago, the Calusa cultivated papaya (Catrica papaya), a gourd of the species Cucurbita pepo, and the bottle gourd, the last two of which were used for net floats and dippers. While a few Calusa individuals may have stayed behind and been absorbed into the Seminole, no documentation supports that. The Spanish careened one of their ships, and Calusas offered to trade with them. In 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdoba landed in southwest Florida on his return voyage from discovering the Yucatán. There is evidence that the people intensively exploited Charlotte Harbor aquatic resources before 3500 BC. There are few written remnants of tribal culture, and what we have primarily are tools, jewelry and a few archaeological sites. "Calusa". The soul in the eye's pupil stayed with the body after death, and the Calusa would consult with that soul at the graveside. It's shorelines were home to an abundance of game. Tanned deerskin clouts with belts were worn by the men, indicating their positions within the tribe. By about 500 BC, the Archaic culture, which had been fairly uniform across Florida, began to devolve into more distinct regional cultures. Their estimated population in 1650 was 3,000 living in 50 villages. Calusa society developed from that of archaic peoples of the Everglades region. It served as the main highway inland to the Calusa Indians. [16][17], A few vocabulary examples from Granberry's work are listed below:[18]. The Mound House, built in 1906, sits on the mound and provides a beautiful view that overlooks Estero Bay. Their excursions leave the Fish Tale Marina on Fort Myers Beach, and include interpretations by owner Arden Arrington who is also a local noted author on Calusa Indians. The Calusa also used spears, hooks, and throat gorges to catch fish. The Caloosahatchee Region". This change may have resulted from the people's migration from the interior to the coastal region, or may reflect trade and cultural influences. Choose your favorite calusa designs and purchase them as wall art, home decor, phone cases, tote bags, and more! Photograph by … They were known for the high quality of their crafts. In a report from 1697, the Spanish noted 16 houses in the Calusa capital of Calos, which had 1,000 residents. Archaeologists excavate on Mound Key in Florida, the location of the long-lost Calusa king's house and a nearby Spanish fort. They wore their hair long. Undecorated pottery belonging to the early Glades culture appeared in the region around 500 BC. Among the most famous artifacts discovered was a statue of a panther or cat discovered in 1896 by archeologist Frank Hamilton Cushing. )[10], The Calusa lived in large, communal houses which were two stories high. Warriors killed all the adult men. He also speculated that the Calusas had the opportunity to delve into such intricate work due to the abundance of fish, and thus less time was spent in the search for food. Five friars who stayed in the chief's house in 1697 complained that the roof let in the rain, sun and dew. This timeframe coincided with the second phase of construction of Calusa king Caalus’ manor—a massive building that could hold 2,000 people at … This page was last edited on 5 January 2021, at 04:03. Hunting these animals and gathering roots and fruit that grew on trees was a mainstay until they discovered the waters contained a wealth of fish. Ferocious people. The same is that they both lived in Florida, used shells, and built their accessories the same. They were responsible for the death of the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon who traveled with Christopher Columbus on his second trip to America. This ability to travel on water was generally considered a great military advantage for them, helping the tribe dominate southern Florida for many years. Granberry has provided an inventory of phonemes to the sounds of the Calusa language.[18][17]. Soon 20 war canoes attacked the Spanish, who drove off the Calusa, killing or capturing several of them. When the Spanish explorers arrived in the area in the 1500's, they learned the Calusas had almost no interest in missionary activity. These were followed by the development of canals and embankments. Widmer cites George Murdock's estimate that only some 20 percent of the Calusa diet consisted of wild plants that they gathered. The Spanish founded a mission on Biscayne Bay in 1743 to serve survivors from several tribes, including the Calusa, who had gathered there and in the Florida Keys. "Chapter 10. At only six inches tall and carved by the Calusa Indians from native hardwood, the Key Marco Cat is a charismatic anthropomorphic feline statuette that was created hundreds of years ago. In R. D. Fogelson (Ed.). [7][8], Mollusk shells and wood were used to make hammering and pounding tools. Caloosahatchee means "River of the Calusa". Europeans attempted fighting them beginning in the 1500's, but the Calusas proved to be mighty warriors. Hardwood forests covered the land and the climate was much colder than it is today. Calusa Tribe. The Tekesta and Calusa Tribes: Ethnographic information about the Calusa Indians, including their religious and political structures. The Calusa were descended from people who had lived in the area for at least 1,000 years prior to European contact, and possibly for much longer than that. The Calusa tribe occupied a large area of the Southwest coast of Florida from the area west of Lake Okeechobee down to Cape Sable. The cost is $25 per person, and the tour is not recommended for children under the age of ten. Today we display them in collections and some clever folks make beautiful jewelry and crafts with them. Fontaneda was shipwrecked on the east coast of Florida, likely in the Florida Keys, about 1550, when he was thirteen years old. [14], Little is known of the language of the Calusa. Entitled "Calusa", the print is one of a limited edition of just 350 signed and numbered prints. Soil combined with additional marl raised the land level. They were supported by the labor of the majority of the Calusa. Among most tribes in Florida for which there is documentation, the women wore skirts made of what was later called Spanish moss. [19], The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition of 1528 and the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1539 both landed in the vicinity of Tampa Bay, north of the Calusa domain. Guests are treated to views of Calusa Indian canals and fish traps. (In 1954 a dugout canoe was found during excavation for a middle school in Marathon, Florida. If you want to learn more, there is so much information out there. The Spanish left less description on what the Calusa women wore. Decorative pieces like pendants and necklaces have beendiscovered. Later periods in the Caloosahatchee culture are defined in the archaeological record by the appearance of pottery from other traditions. The "nobles" resisted conversion in part because their power and position were intimately tied to the belief system; they were intermediaries between the gods and the people. Their society was somewhat closed to other cultures. Mollusks shells and shark teeth were used for grating, cutting, carving and engraving. Calusa political influence and control also extended over other tribes in southern Florida, including the Mayaimi around Lake Okeechobee, and the Tequesta and Jaega on the southeast coast of the peninsula. At the time of European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the historic Calusa were the people of the Caloosahatchee culture. [25], Native American people who lived on the coast and along the inner waterways of Florida's southwest coast, Approximate Calusa core area (red) and political domain (blue), Indigenous people of the Everglades region, Evidence for a Calusa-Tunica Relationship, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Calusa&oldid=998385438, Articles using infobox ethnic group with image parameters, Language articles with unreferenced extinction date, Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Bullen, Adelaide K. (1965). Feb 21, 2016 - Explore Etienne. They had the highest population density of South Florida; estimates of total population at the time of European contact range from 10,000 to several times that, but these are speculative. The Calusa (/kəˈluːsə/ kə-LOO-sə) were a Native American people of Florida's southwest coast. The Calusa gathered a variety of wild berries, fruits, nuts, roots and other plant parts. Julian Granberry has suggested that the Calusa language was related to the Tunica language of the lower Mississippi River Valley. [20][21], In 1566 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, founder of St. Augustine, made contact with the Calusa. Likewise, seawalls were constructed of shells and marl. The Calusa's language indicated possible travel to Florida from the outlying islands. The chief's house was described as having two big windows, suggesting that it had walls. The Calusa men were tall and well built with long hair. The Calusa believed that the three souls were the pupil of a person's eye, his shadow, and his reflection. My next efforts were to identify more intimate characteristics of the Calusas, not as hunters or builders, but simply as people. Morris. Jan 3, 2018 - Explore Charles Kropke's board "Calusa Indians" on Pinterest. This proved to be a bit more of a challenge. No Zamia pollen has been found at any site associated with the Calusas, nor does Zamia grow in the wetlands that made up most of the Calusa environment. In 1564, according to a Spanish source, the priest was the chief's father, and the military leader was his cousin. The remainder of their cities can be seen today as several small islands off the coast of Southwest Florida. A new tribe that entered Florida either from the islands or the north at the start of the Christian Era, the Calusa dominated South Florida with their statute, skills, and brutality. Fontaneda lived with various tribes in southern Florida for the next seventeen years before being found by the Menendez de Avilés expedition. Native American Facts For Kids was written for young people learning about the Calusas for school or home-schooling reports. More serious scholars can dig into a thick new resource from the University Press of Florida. Have students draw pictures and write notes/labels of the different things that they find interesting about the Calusa tribe into the first page of the flip book. [24] Cuban fishing camps (ranchos) operated along the southwest Florida coast from the 18th century into the middle of the 19th century. Calusas could canoe the Caloosahatchee River into Lake Okeechobee and access other tribal areas by way of the Kissimmee River. The plaques and other objects were often painted. The Calusa Indians were originally called the "Calos" which means "Fierce People". People commonly occupied both fresh and saltwater wetlands. They are notable for having developed a complex culture based on estuarine fisheries rather than agriculture. The most powerful ruler governed the physical world, the second most powerful ruled human governments, and the last helped in wars, choosing which side would win. A Spanish expedition to ransom some captives held by the Calusa in 1680 was forced to turn back; neighboring tribes refused to guide the Spanish, for fear of retaliation by the Calusa. If a Calusa killed such an animal, the soul would migrate to a lesser animal and eventually be reduced to nothing.[13]. This book describes the artifacts they left behind and the plants and animals that inhabited the landscape and the underwater world of their ecosystem. Frank Cushing also unearthed a wooden carving depicting the head of a doe. Standing a mere six inches high it was carved from dark brown wood. Nets were woven with a standard mesh size; nets with different mesh sizes were used seasonally to catch the most abundant and useful fish available. Pottery distinct from the Glades tradition developed in the region around AD 500, marking the beginning of the Caloosahatchee culture. MacMahon, Darcie A. and William H. Marquardt. Intricately designed canoes were carved from hollowed-out cypress logs. The first recorded contact between the Calusa and Europeans was in 1513, when Juan Ponce de León landed on the west coast of Florida in May, probably at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, after his earlier discovery of Florida in April. Carlos was succeeded by his cousin (and brother-in-law) Felipe, who was in turn succeeded by another cousin of Carlos, Pedro. One such island is called Mound Key. Artifacts related to fishing changed slowly over this period, with no obvious breaks in tradition that might indicate a replacement of the population. The other two souls left the body after death and entered into an animal. The Calusa were the last native Florida Indian people to succumb to colonization, but by the mid-1700s they had disappeared entirely. It was quite a complex structure involving nobility, commoners, and slaves. Many battles between them ensued. The priests wore carved masks, which were at other times hung on the walls inside a temple. The king entertained the governor in a building so large that 2,000 people could stand inside. All calusa artwork ships within 48 hours and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. They left 1,700 behind. Calusa ceremonies included processions of priests and singing women. Following this formation of a centralized government were the construction of a canal system, the beginnings of organized religion, and the creating of many art forms. By the time the English gained control in 1763, their numbers had been reduced to a few hundred. In 1711, the Spanish helped evacuate 270 Indians, including many Calusa, from the Florida Keys to Cuba (where almost 200 soon died). The chief and the priest demanded complete obedience from the villagers. Cultivated gourds were used as net floats, and sinkers and net weights were made from mollusk shells. THE CALUSA INDIANS OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA. According to eyewitness accounts, in 1566 over 4,000 people gathered to witness ceremonies in which the Calusa king made an alliance with Spanish governor Menéndez de Avilés. A team has uncovered the foundations of a large dwelling and this is allowing them to reconstruct the house. (1993). Conversion would have destroyed the source of their authority and legitimacy. It is based on the Creek and Mikasuki (languages of the present-day Seminole and Miccosukee nations) ethnonym for the people who had lived around the Caloosahatchee River (also from the Creek language). (*) denotes earlier century Calusa language records. [22], For more than a century after the Avilés adventure, there was little contact between the Spanish and Calusa. Quigley, a native Floridian, used Calusa artifacts and based his painting of a Calusa village layout on the results of actual archeological investigations. They built their cities on them. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, an early chronicler of the Calusa, described "sorcerers in the shape of the devil, with some horns on their heads," who ran through the town yelling like animals for four months at a time. These "Shell People" took advantage of most of this region's various species of seashells. The Calusa Indians were more fierce than the Timucua Indians, for example the Timucua Indians didn’t set anybody on fire that walked in their tribe like the Calusa Indians did. (2004). Reservations aren't taken so visitors are advised to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to departure. A few leaders governed the tribe. The Calusa remained committed to their belief system despite Spanish attempts to convert them to Catholicism. He struck an uneasy peace with their leader Caluus, or Carlos. [5] The contemporary archeologists MacMahon and Marquardt suggest this statement may have been a misunderstanding of a requirement to marry a "clan-sister". [12], The Calusa believed that three supernatural people ruled the world, that people had three souls, and that souls migrated to animals after death. Everglades National Park is an American national park that protects the southern twenty percent of the original Everglades in Florida.The park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States, and the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River.An average of one million people visit the park each year. Tequesta & Keys The Tequesta occupied southeastern Florida from near present day Boca Raton southward to the Florida Keys. (1964). They had great sailing abilities. They were descendants of Paleo-Indians who inhabited Southwest Florida approximately 12,000 years ago. Along the southwest Gulf coast lived the Calusa (Caloosa) Indians. After suffering decimation by disease, the tribe was destroyed by Creek and Yamasee raiders early in the 18th century. There was little change in the pottery tradition after this. Florida's climate had reached current conditions and the sea had risen close to its present level by about 3000 BC. This became the island's foundation. A wife and mother of five, she bases many of her articles and stories on travel adventures with her family. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda tells us that Calusa means "Ferocious People" and underlined the control that Carlos exercised over numerous peoples and towns in la Florida. Also known as the "Shell People" the later Calusas, from approximately the 1500's to their demise in the early 1800's, used seashells as foundations. The women's clothing often consisted of a woven garment of moss and leaves. The Calusa were well established, with a population of several thousand. Archeologists today speculate it may have been repeatedly dipped or washed in the fat of slain victims, animal or human. The tours are offered on Thursdays, departing the marina at 1:00. It is reported that the few survivors followed the Spanish to Cuba. Marquardt quotes a statement from the 1570s that "the Bay of Carlos ... in the Indian language is called Escampaba, for the cacique of this town, who afterward called himself Carlos in devotion to the Emperor" (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor). Quigley, a native Floridian, used Calusa artifacts and based his painting of a Calusa village layout on the results of actual archeological investigations. Two other photos of Quigley's paintings "Solitude" and another unnamed show the Calusa's actively engaged in hunting and fishing. During Menéndez de Avilés's visit in 1566, the chief's wife was described as wearing pearls, precious stones and gold beads around her neck. Senquene succeeded his brother (name unknown), and was in turn succeeded by his son Carlos. The find is being linked to a powerful Native American people, the Calusa that have fascinated historians and anthropologists for centuries. It doesn't take a masters in communications to understand it either, in fact it doesn't take being a master of anything, all it takes is passion for what you are learning. Calusa Written accounts by Spanish missionaries, shipwreck survivors, and chroniclers help us to imagine the Calusa people who built and lived upon the massive artificial shell constructions of southwestern Florida.The cultural traditions of the Calusa were deeply rooted in Estero Bay, Charlotte Harbor and neighboring areas. However, in my visits to these businesses I have yet to find anyone who use seashells as a means of survival. This new food source required significantly less time than hunting and gathering their food, and allowed the Calusas time to establish their own system of government. In 1521 Ponce de León returned to southwest Florida to plant a colony, but the Calusa drove the Spanish out, mortally wounding Ponce de León. 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