When Christopher Columbus arrived in the "New World," he believed he had reached the islands of Asia, and he called the inhabitants he met los indios, or "Indians." This has become the collective name for all native peoples of North and South America, despite their diverse and unique cultures. The original Americans had no collective identity and merely called themselves by their cultural, tribal, or individual names. There were multiple cultures existing in the Florida peninsula at the time of European contact, among them the Calusa, Tequesta, Apalachee, Aix, and Timucua.
First Peoples (The Earliest Americans - read more here)
Though the Pre-Columbian population of Florida is hard to estimate, the various native peoples may have numbered as many as 3 million. These were generally formed into local chiefdoms. Alliances and confederacies arose between the chiefdoms from time to time, but they were seldom organized into a single political unit. These various groups are typically identified by language group, though they practiced several different cultural traditions. These indigenous peoples were a semi-nomadic, semi-agricultural, neolithic society. Tools and cultural artifacts were almost exclusively of organic materials such as stone, wood, bone and clay. Some small ornamental pieces of copper and gold have been found, but there is no evidence of metalworking of any significance, and these may have been acquired through trade and salvage of European shipwrecks.
Last updated: April 2, 2018