When the conquistadors arrived in Florida in the early sixteenth century, as many as 350,000 native Americans lived in the territory. For more than twelve centuries their ancestors had resided here, fishing, hunting, gathering wild plants, and sometimes cultivating crops. Two and a half centuries later, Florida's Indians were gone. Focusing on those native peoples and their interactions with Spanish and French explorers and colonists, Jerald Milanich delineates this massive cultural change.
This history, rich with photographs and colorful drawings of the remarkable Calusa Indians who controlled all of south Florida when Europeans first arrived in the New World, presents a vivid picture of the luxurious natural environment that sustained the Calusa--the teeming estuaries along Florida's coasts, which have supported people for thousands of years.
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This publication includes over 100 heritage tourism destinations throughout the state and provides an account of the 12,000-plus years of Native American presence and significance in Florida, special interest topics, and biographies of individuals important to Florida's Native American heritage written by archaeologists and living descendants of Native Americans.
The history of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes dates back to the 1500s, when most of Florida as well as much of the United States was uninhabited. During the early 19th century, the tribes moved into the South Florida interior, living on remote tree islands throughout the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. These self-reliant people kept mostly to themselves. Their struggles have included disease, poverty, relocation, and three wars with the U.S. Army. Nevertheless, these resilient tribes survived and have become a vital part of the country's history and a unique and highly popular feature of South Florida tourism. Today, these tribes are busy creating economic opportunity for members, preserving their heritage and culture, and protecting their homeland.
The missions of Spanish Florida are one of American history's best kept secrets. Between 1565 and 1763, more than 150 missions with names like San Francisco and San Antonio dotted the landscape from south Florida to the Chesapeake Bay. Drawing on archaeological and historical research, much conducted in the last 25 years, Milanich offers a vivid description of these missions and the Apalachee, Guale, and Timucua Indians who lived and labored in them. First published in 1999 by Smithsonian Institution Press, Laboring in the Fields of the Lord contends the missions were an integral part of Spain's La Florida colony, turning a potentially hostile population into an essential labor force. Indian workers grew, harvested, ground, and transported corn that helped to feed the colony. Indians also provided labor for construction projects, including the imposing stone Castillo de San Marcos that still dominates St. Augustine today. Missions were essential to the goal of colonialism. Together, conquistadors, missionaries, and entrepreneurs went hand-in-hand to conquer the people of the Americas. Though long abandoned and destroyed, the missions are an important part of our country's heritage. This reprint edition includes a new, updated preface by the author.
Among the most well known of Florida's native peoples, the Seminole Indians frustrated troops of militia and volunteer soldiers for decades during the first half of the nineteenth century in the ongoing struggle to keep hold of their ancestral lands. While careers and reputations of American military and political leaders were made and destroyed in the mosquito-infested swamps of Florida's interior, the Seminoles and their allies, including the Miccosukee tribe and many escaped slaves, managed to wage war on their own terms. The study of guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the Seminoles may have aided modern American forces fighting in Vietnam, Cambodia, and other regions. Years before the first shots of the Civil War were fired, Florida witnessed a clash of wills and ways that prompted three wars unlike any others in America's history, although many of the same policies and mistakes were made in the Indian wars west of the Mississippi.
The Apalachee Indians of northwest Florida and their Spanish conquerors come alive in this story -- lavishly illustrated with 120 color reproductions -- story of their premier community, San Luis. With a cast of characters that includes friars, soldiers, civilians, a Spanish governor, and a diverse native population, the book portrays the dwellings, daily life, religious practices, social structures, and recreation activities at the mission. From their prehistoric ancestors and first contact with Europeans in the 1500s to their dispersal following attacks by the English and by their Native American allies in the early 1700s, the Apalachee played important roles in the history of Florida and of native peoples throughout the Southeast. The San Luis community near Tallahassee, the most thoroughly investigated mission in Florida, served as Spain's provincial capital in America. From 1656 to its conquest by the English, it flourished as the only significant Spanish settlement in Florida outside of St. Augustine.