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Tequesta Indians

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Tequesta Indians or Tekesta Indians – Meaning unknown.

Tequesta Connections. The language of this tribe was probably connected with the languages of the other peoples of the southeast coast of Florida and with that of the Calusa, and may have been Muskhogean.

Tequesta Location. In the neighborhood of Miami.

Tequesta Villages. Besides Tekesta proper, the main town, four villages are mentioned between that and the next tribe to the north, the Jeaga, to whom some of the villages may have belonged. These were, in order from south to north: Tavuacio, Janar, Cabista, and Custegiyo.

Tequesta History. The Tekesta do not appear in history much before the time of Fontaneda, who was a captive among the Calusa from 1551 to 1569. In 1566 we learn that they protected certain Spaniards from the Calusa chief, although the latter is sometimes regarded as their overlord. A post was established in their country in 1566 but abandoned 4 years later. Attempts made to convert them to Christianity at that time were without success. In 1573 they are said to have been converted by Pedro Menendez Marques, but later they returned to their primitive beliefs. It was these Indians who, according to Romans (1775), went to Cuba in 1763 along with some others from this coast.

Tequesta Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there were 1,000 Indians on the southeast coast of Florida. According to Romans those who went to Cuba in 1763 had 30 men. Adair (1775) says there were 80 families.

Connection in which they have become noted. Although the name has found no topographical lodgement, the Tekesta may be remembered as the earliest known body of people to occupy the site of Miami.


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