Calusa Key, Florida: The Island Capital of the Calusa — Mounds, Ancient Canals, & An Influence from the Maya

Note: the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks has descriptions, illustrations, and photos of many of the Calusa complexes in Florida.

Around 0 AD a village was founded on an island near what is now Charlotte Harbor on the southwestern tip of Florida.  It was just one of many small fishing villages that composed what archaeologists label the Caloosahatchee Culture. The village slowly grew in population and evolved culturally to the point that it was the capital and major population center for a province that covered much of southwestern Florida.  By the 1500s when the Spanish arrived in Florida, the Calusa People occupied coastal towns and villages from Tampa Bay to the Keys, and also had villages about half the distance inland to Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.

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