An early Spanish writer. Gov. Mendez de Canço, writing in 1598 or 1599, says that the Indians of southern Florida did not live in settled villages because they had no corn, but wandered about in search of fish and roots. Fontaneda, whose information dates from a very early period, has the following to say about
All of the Indians of southern Florida on the western side of the peninsula, from the Timucua territories as far as and including the Florida Keys, belonged to a confederacy or overlordship called Calusa or Calos. On the eastern coast were a number of small independent tribes, each usually occupying only one settlement. The most
Guacata – An inland Calusa village on Lake “Mayaimi” or Okechobee, south Florida, about 1570. Elsewhere in his memoir Fontaneda refers to it as a distinct but subordinate tribe. Guacata, Cuacata – In one place Fontaneda speaks of this as a town on Lake Mayaimi (Okeechobee) and elsewhere as one of the provinces of the
Calusa Indians. An important tribe of Florida, formerly holding the southwest coast from about Tampa Bay to Cape Sable and Cape Florida, together with all the outlying keys, and extending inland to Lake Okeechobee. They claimed more or less authority also over the tribes of the east coast, north to about Cape Canaveral. The name,
Calusa Tribe. Said by a Spaniard, Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, who was a captive among them for many years, to mean “fierce people,” but it is perhaps more probable that, since it often appears in the form Carlos, it was, as others assert, adopted by the Calusa chief from the name of the Emperor Charles
The Calusa held the southwestern extremity of Florida, and their tribal name is left recorded in Calusahatchi, a river south of Tampa bay. They are called Calos on de Bry’s map (1591), otherwise Colusa, Callos, Carlos, and formed a confederacy of many villages, the names of which are given in the memoir of Hernando d Escalante Fontanedo.