Arawak Indians, Arawakan Colony. In addition to the many proofs of constant communication between the tribes of Florida and those of the West Indian Islands from the earliest period, it is definitely known that a colony of Indians from Cuba, in quest of the same mythic fountain of youth for which Ponce de Leon afterward searched, landed on the south west coast of Florida, within the territory of the Calusa, about the period of the discovery of America, and that they were held as prisoners by the chief of that tribe and formed into a settlement whose people kept their separate identity as late at least as 1570. This tradition of a wonderful spring or stream upon the mainland of Florida or on one of the adjacent Bahama Islands was common to all the tribes of the larger islands as far south as Puerto Rico, and it is probable that more than one party of islanders made a similar attempt. According to Brinton and other investigators the Indians of Cuba, as well as of the Bahamas and the larger islands, were of the great Arawakan stock, which extends in South America as far as south Brazil and Bolivia.
For Further Study
For the Cuban settlement in Florida see:
- Contact Between the Southern Indians and Mexico.
- Fontaneda, Memoir, Smith trans, 1854.
- Barcia, Ensayo, introd., 1723.
- Herrera, Hist. Gen., I, 1720.