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Friday, November 4, 2011


In the 1500s the Calusa still controlled much of the southwest of Florida. They defended their lands against other peoples including European explorers. The Spaniards knew them as fierce. The Calooshahatchee River, with its mouth on the southwest coast of Florida, was theirs.

They lived mostly along the inland waterways and developed them for transportation and food production. The sea was also a source of food for them. They left middens of seashells large enough to compete in size with their mounds and other earthworks. They trapped fish and caught them on hooks and in nets..

The Calusa had a strong influence on the tribes around them. That influences may have stemmed  from their wide trading activities more than from their fierceness.  They typically used dugouts of 15' in length for use at sea and along inland waterways. They also built and used larger vessels. They visited Cuba regularly and probably sailed farther into the Gulf and the Caribbean.

Their homes were built on platforms on pilings over the water. The were attractively roofed with palmetto leaves. It is said that some of their 'houses' might have been large enough to hold 2ooo persons.

They were excellent wood workers and some of their remaining wood carvings has been called examples of artful sculpting.

Please add to our information about the Calusa and please help me to correct errors I have made here.

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