Ancient Civilization and Early History
The first residents of Florida were Paleo-Indians who moved into the peninsula around 12,000 b.c. These groups were largely nomadic, following their food sources. The first permanent settlements weren’t established until around 5000 b.c., when Early Archaic groups established fishing villages along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Between that time and about a.d. 500, these groups began segmenting into the distinct regional groups that would give way to Native American groups, which had a cultural identity similar to that of the Mississippian peoples.
The major groups in Florida were the Ais (along the mid-southern Atlantic coast), Apalachee (mid-Panhandle), Caloosahatchee or Calusa (southwest Gulf coast), Mayaimi (around Lake Okeechobee), Tequesta (modern-day Miami-Dade County), and Tocobaga (middle Gulf coast). The Timucua people lived throughout central and northeastern Florida, but were connected more by a common language than by cultural traits.
The Seminole people didn’t develop until the late 18th century, when members of the Creek nation began migrating into Florida from Georgia and Alabama as a result of an internecine conflict; their numbers included members of other far-flung nations as well as freed African American slaves. The Micosukee people also migrated to Florida in the late 18th century, and its members are related to the Seminoles due to their shared Creek lineage, but they speak a different language and originally hail from Tennessee.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition