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The Archaic Period of Lake Okeechobee

Archaeologists define the Archaic Period in southern Florida as lasting from around 7500 BC to around 500 BC.1 During the first half of this period, there were (in geological time) rapid environmental changes in the Florida Peninsula. In the latter half of this period, there were rapid cultural changes in Southeastern North America, but it is not known at the present time how completely those changes were manifested in southern Florida. A cultural connection between the Lake Okeechobee Basin and northeast Georgia remains little known, both inside and outside the archaeology profession. The Younger Dryas Stadial was a (1,300 ± period of cold climatic conditions and drought which occurred between approximately 10,800 and 9,500 years BC.2 Climatologists believe that the Gulf Stream shut down during this period. This could have potentially caused stark environmental changes in the Florida Peninsula, since heat energy would have not been transported across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Between 11,000 and 7,000 BC there was widespread extinction of large mammals in North America. Notable extinctions in Florida during this period included the American Mastodon, Florida Speckled Bear and Giant Sloth.3 No evidence has been found of mastodons living in South Florida. There were no natural barriers between southern and northern Florida, which would have blocked migration, but the southern part of the peninsula may have lacked suitable vegetation for the mastodon diet. Early Archaic Period (8000 BC to 6000 BC) During this period, ocean levels rose dramatically, due to the melting of the North American glacial sheet.4 This resulted in both the land area declining rapidly and water tables rising in the remaining landscape....

Early Human’s Presence around Lake Okeechobee

Anthropologists believe that mankind has lived somewhere in southern Florida for at least 12,000 years. Its sub-tropical climate, abundance of water and fertile peat soils produces a diverse range of animal and vegetative food sources for humans year round. However, to date no Paleo-American artifacts have been discovered in or along the shores of the lake. Such evidences of the past are probably buried deep under the peat in scattered locations. They have been found in abundance about 88 miles (110 km) to the northwest in two natural springs near Sarasota, FL.

Lake Okeechobee Geology

Okeechobee is the Anglicization of the Itsate Creek (Miccosukee) words Oka chopi, which mean “Water Big.” Its aboriginal inhabitants called the lake either Maya-imi, which apparently means “Maya Water or Mayakaa, which means Maya People in several northern South American tongues. The Spanish called it Laguna de Mayaco or on some maps Laguna de Espiritu Santo. However, that name more typically applied to the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee River. In 1821, when Florida was ceded to the United States, the earliest English language maps generally retained the Mayaco name, but some called it Macaco.

Plans for the Colonization and Defense of Apalache, 1675

Florida June 15, 1675 To His Majesty D. Pablo de Yta Salazar1 hereby renders account of the investigation made in regard to the most suitable places in these Provinces for settlement by Spanish families. All are agreed that the town of Apalache2 and the surrounding territory is best because of the great fertility of the soil. If the settlers be farmers the crops will be abundant on account of the richness of the land, as may be seen by the wheat which the friars3 sow for their sustenance. Pablo de Yta Salazar gives in detail the immense advantages of sending these families not only to Apalache but to the other provinces. They will serve as a check to the enemy English and French who have settled on the bay of Mexico and are trying to advance into this territory because of the rumor of its great fertility. A declaration of this has been made by an adjutant of that garrison who came from Apalache and brought testimony. Moreover it is suggested that these families and the necessary supplies could be brought with very little cost from the provinces of Canaria4 by chartering a ship which would go directly to those provinces, stopping only at Habana. This stop would serve to familiarize these settlers with the culture of cotton and indigo, for if there be no one who understands the matter, little progress would be made. My Lady: Having inquired into and investigated the most suitable places in these provinces to make a settlement of Spanish families, by reason of the interest displayed by Your Majesty in former years and...

The Chickasaws

Conquest or Progress! It is the same, since it is with blood that the book of humanity is written. The pages here devoted to the narrative of the Chickasaw Indians is not an exception; theirs, too, is stained with the seemingly inevitable sanguinary horrors, but nowhere is the trace inexplicable. To some it may seem useless and even wrong to recall these pages of history so distant in the past, which began in wrong, continued in wrong and will end, so for as human observation can judge, in wrong, and then ask nothing better than to be forgotten. Alas, experience has shown that to change the mode of life of a primitive race is to condemn it to death; since always regarded as an inferior race by their conquerors, they have been swept away without justice or mercy a people who had existed in an unbroken line of descent from prehistoric ages unknown. East of the Mississippi River was also the Chickasaws hereditary domain, handed down through a long line of ancestry during ages unknown, and who, like the Choctaws, were first made known to the Eastern world by Hernando De Soto who invaded their country in the month of November, 1540; but beyond which, except through the tradition of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, as before related, the faintest glimmerings of vague tradition has afforded scarcely a ray of light to penetrate the darkness which envelops their history with its mantle of silence; yet has also opened a wide field to those dreamy speculations of which the imagination is so fond, and in which it so delights to indulge. Ah, would not there ancient history, if known, present as...

North America Indian Names of Places in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana

The Indians all over this continent had names, traditions, religions, ceremonies, feasts, prayers, songs, dances all, more or less, with symbolism and allegory, adapted to circumstances, just as all other races of mankind. But the world has become so familiar with the continued and ridiculous publications in regard to everything touching upon that race of people that a universal doubt has long since been created and established as to the possibility of refinement of thought and nobleness of action ever having existed among the North American Indian race, ancient or modern; and so little of truth has also been learned regarding the real and true inner life of that peculiar and seemingly isolated race of mankind, that today only here and there can one be found who, from a lifetime association and intimate acquaintance, is well versed in Indian thought, feeling and character, and able to unfold and record the solution of that imagined mystery known as “The Indian Problem,” since they learned it from the Indians themselves. From the Indians own lips they were taught its elucidation, and only as it could be taught and learned, but never again can be taught and learned. Even as various nations of antiquity of, the eastern continent have left the evidences of their former occupation by the geographical names that still exist, so to have the North American Indians left their evidences upon the western (in dependent of all written history) that they have likewise possessed this continent during unknown ages of the past. The artificial mounds, fortifications, lakes and ponds with their original names and those of rivers, creeks, mountains,...

Memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom

I will here present to the reader the memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom the oldest of the three brothers who cast their lot in their morning” of life among” the Choctaws, and became the fathers of the Folsom House in the Choctaw Nation, as related by himself to the missionary, Rev. Cyrus Byington, June, 1823, and furnished me by his grand-daughter Czarena Folsom, now Mrs. Rabb. “I was born in North Carolina, Rowan County, May 17th, 1756. My father was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut. My mother was born in New Jersey. My parents moved to Georgia, and there my father sent me to school about six months, during which time I learned to read and write. My mother taught me to read and spell at home. My father had a great desire to go to Mississippi to get money; they said money grew on bushes! We got off and came into the Choctaw Nation. The whole family came; we hired an Indian pilot who led us through the Nation to Pearl River, where we met three of our neighbors who were re turning on account of sickness. This alarmed my father, who then determined to return to North Carolina. We came back into the Nation to Mr. Welch’s, on Bok Tuklo (Two Creeks), the father of Mr. Nail. At this time I was about 19 years of age. At that place we parted. My father knocked “me down”. I arose and told him I would quit him, and did so by walking straight off before his face. I do not remember what I did, but I always thought I...

The Native American History of Levy County Florida

An overview of the Native American History of Levy County Florida from the earliest cultural periods: looking at the Levy County area during each of the Native American cultural periods up until the final Seminole surrender. Richard also discusses the Cedar Key Shell Mounds, found within Levy County, providing a brief view of the archeological findings.

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