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The Tequesta
Tequesta
(also Tekesta, Tegesta, Chequesta, Vizcaynos) Native American tribe, at the time of first European contact, occupied an area along the southeastern Atlantic
Atlantic
coast of Florida. They had infrequent contact with Europeans and had largely migrated by the middle of the 18th century.

Contents

1 Location and extent 2 Origins and language 3 Diet 4 Housing, clothing and tools 5 Customs 6 Miami Circle 7 Post-European-contact 8 See also 9 Footnotes 10 References

Location and extent[edit] The Tequesta
Tequesta
lived in the southeastern parts of present-day Florida. They had lived in the region since the 3rd century BCE (the late Archaic period of the continent), and remained for roughly 2,000 years,[1] having disappeared by the time that Spanish Florida
Florida
was traded to the British, who then established the area as part of the province of East Florida. The Tequesta
Tequesta
tribe lived on Biscayne Bay[2] in what is now Miami-Dade County and at least the southern half of Broward County. Their territory may have also included the northern half of Broward County and southern and central Palm Beach County. They also occupied the Florida
Florida
Keys at times, and may have had a village on Cape Sable, at the southern end of the Florida
Florida
peninsula, in the 16th century. Their central town (called "Tequesta" by the Spaniards in honor of the chief) was on the north bank of the Miami River. A village had been at that site for at least 2,000 years.[3] The Tequesta
Tequesta
situated their towns and camps at the mouths of rivers and streams, on inlets from the Atlantic
Atlantic
Ocean to inland waters, and on barrier islands and keys.[4] The Tequesta
Tequesta
were more or less dominated by the more numerous Calusa of the southwest coast of Florida. The Tequesta
Tequesta
were closely allied to their immediate neighbors to the north, the Jaega.[5] Estimates of the number of Tequesta
Tequesta
at the time of initial European contact range from 800 to 10,000, while estimates of the number of Calusa
Calusa
on the southwest coast of Florida
Florida
range from 2,000 to 20,000. Occupation of the Florida
Florida
Keys may have swung back and forth between the two tribes. Although Spanish records note a Tequesta
Tequesta
village on Cape Sable, Calusa artifacts outnumber Tequesta
Tequesta
artifacts by four to one at its archaeological sites. On a map the Dutch cartographer Hessel Gerritsz
Hessel Gerritsz
published in 1630 in Joannes de Laet's History of the New World, the Florida
Florida
peninsula is labeled "Tegesta" after the tribe.[6] A map from the 18th century labeled the area around Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
"Tekesta".[7] A 1794 map by cartographer Bernard Romans labeled this area "Tegesta".[8] Origins and language[edit]

Tequesta

Region Florida

Extinct 18th century

Language family

unclassified (Calusa?)

Language codes

ISO 639-3 None (mis)

Linguist List

07y

Glottolog None

The archaeological record of the Glades culture, which included the area occupied by the Tequestas, indicates a continuous development of an indigenous ceramics tradition from about 700 BCE until after European contact.[9] The Tequesta
Tequesta
language may have been closely related to the language of the Calusas of the southwest Florida
Florida
coast and the Mayaimis who lived around Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
in the middle of the lower Florida
Florida
peninsula. There are only ten words from the languages of those tribes for which meanings were recorded.[10] The Tequesta were once thought to be related to the Taino, the Arawakan people of the Antilles, but most anthropologists now doubt this, based on archaeological information and the length of their establishment in Florida. Carl O. Sauer
Carl O. Sauer
called the Florida
Florida
Straits "one of the most strongly marked cultural boundaries in the New World", noting that the Straits were also a boundary between agricultural systems, with Florida
Florida
Indians growing seed crops that originated in Mexico, while the Lucayans of the Bahamas grew root crops that originated in South America.[11] Diet[edit] The Tequestas did not practice any form of agriculture. They fished, hunted, and gathered the fruit and roots of local plants. Most of their food came from the sea. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, who lived among the tribes of southern Florida
Florida
for seventeen years in the 16th century, described their "common" diet as "fish, turtle and snails, whale, ; the "sea-wolf" (Caribbean monk seal) was reserved for the upper classes. According to Fontaneda, a lesser part of the diet consisted of trunkfish and lobster. The "fish" caught included manatees, sharks, sailfish, porpoises, stingrays, and small fish. Despite their local abundance, clams, oysters and conches were only a minor part of the Tequesta
Tequesta
diet (their shells are much less common at Tequesta
Tequesta
archeological sites than they are at Calusa
Calusa
or Jaega
Jaega
sites). Venison
Venison
was also popular; deer bones are frequently found in archeological sites, as are terrapin shells and bones. Sea turtles and their eggs were consumed during the turtles' nesting season.[10] The Tequesta
Tequesta
gathered many plant foods, including saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) berries, cocoplums (Chrysobalanus icaco), sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera), prickly pear (nopal) fruits ( Opuntia
Opuntia
spp.), gopher apples ( Licania
Licania
micbauxii), pigeon plums (Cocoloba diversifolia), palm nuts, false mastic seeds, cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), and hog plum (Ximenia americana). The roots of certain plants, such as Smilax
Smilax
spp. and coontie (Zamia integrifolia), were edible when ground into flour, processed to remove toxins (in the case of coontie), and made into a type of unleavened bread. (Archaeologists have commented, however, on the lack of evidence for coontie use in excavated sites.) Briton Hammond, the sole survivor of an English sloop that was attacked by Tequestas after grounding off Key Biscayne in 1748, reported that the Tequestas fed him boil'd corn.[12] The Tequestas changed their habitation during the year. In particular, most of the inhabitants of the main village relocated to barrier islands or to the Florida
Florida
Keys during the worst of the mosquito season, which lasted about three months. While the resources of the Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
area and the Florida
Florida
Keys allowed for a somewhat settled non-agricultural existence, they were not as rich as those of the southwest Florida
Florida
coast, home of the more numerous Calusa.[13] Housing, clothing and tools[edit] Briton Hammon
Briton Hammon
reported that the Tequesta
Tequesta
lived in huts or in 5 story houses. Other tribes in southern Florida
Florida
lived in houses with wooden posts, raised floors, and roofs thatched with palmetto leaves, something like the chickees of the Seminoles. These houses may have had temporary walls of plaited palmetto-leaf mats to break the wind or block the sun. Clothing was minimal. The men wore a sort of loincloth made from deer hide, while the women wore skirts of Spanish moss or plant fibers hanging from a belt. Customs[edit] By one account, when the Tequestas buried their chiefs, they buried the small bones with the body, and put the large bones in a box for the village people to adore and hold as their gods. Another account says that the Tequestas stripped the flesh from the bones, burning the flesh, and then distributed the cleaned bones to the dead chief's relatives, with the larger bones going to the closest relations. The Tequesta
Tequesta
men consumed cassina, the black drink, in ceremonies similar to those common throughout the southeastern United States. The Spanish missionaries also reported that the Tequesta
Tequesta
worshipped a stuffed deer as the representative of the sun, and as late as 1743 worshipped a picture of a badly deformed barracuda crossed by a harpoon, and surrounded by small tongue-like figures painted on a small board. There was also a god of the graveyard, a bird's head carved in pine. The painted board and bird's head were stored in a temple in the cemetery, along with carved masks used in festivals. By this time the tribe's shaman was calling himself a bishop. The Tequesta
Tequesta
also believed that humans have three souls. One in the eyes, one in the shadow, and one in the reflection. The Tequestas may have practiced human sacrifice. While en route from Havana
Havana
to Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
in 1743, Spanish missionaries heard that the Indians of the Keys (apparently including the Tequestas) had gone to Santaluz (the village of Santa Lucea was at the St. Lucie Inlet) for a celebration of a recent peace treaty, and that the chief of Santaluz was going to sacrifice a young girl as part of the celebration. The missionaries sent a message to the chief begging him not to sacrifice the girl, and the chief relented. Miami Circle[edit] The Miami Circle
Miami Circle
[14] is located on the site of a known Tequesta village south of the mouth of the Miami River (probably the town of Tequesta). It consists of 24 large holes or basins, and many smaller holes, which have been cut into bedrock. Together these holes form a circle approximately 38 feet in diameter. Other arrangements of holes are apparent as well. The Circle was discovered during an archeological survey of a site being cleared for construction of a high-rise building. Charcoal samples collected in the circle have been radiocarbon-dated to approximately 100 CE, 1,900 years ago. Radiocarbon-dating of sea shells eaten at the site date back as far as 730 BCE, and suggest a permanent settlement was established here more than 2,700 years ago. The circle is on the south side of the Miami River. Recent archaeological work has found a larger Tequesta
Tequesta
site on the north side of the river that likely existed concurrently with the Miami Circle.[15] Post-European-contact[edit] In Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
stopped at a bay on the Florida
Florida
coast that he called Chequesta, which apparently was what is now called Biscayne Bay. In 1565 one of the ships in Pedro Menéndez de Avilés' fleet took refuge from a storm in Biscayne Bay. The main Tequesta
Tequesta
village was located there, and Menéndez was well received by the Tequestas. The Jesuits with him took the Tequesta
Tequesta
chief's nephew with them back to Havana, Cuba, to be educated, while the chief's brother went to Spain
Spain
with Menéndez, where he converted to Christianity. In March 1567, Menéndez returned to the Tequesta[2] and established a mission within a stockade, situated near the south bank of the Miami River below the native village. Menendez left a contingent of thirty soldiers and the Jesuit
Jesuit
brother Francisco Villareal to convert the Tequestas to Christianity. Villareal had learned something of the Tequesta
Tequesta
language from the chief's nephew in Havana. He felt he had been winning converts until the soldiers executed an uncle of the chief. Brother Francisco was forced to abandon the mission for a while, but when the chief's brother returned from Spain, Brother Francisco was able to return. However, the mission was abandoned shortly thereafter, in 1570. Starting in 1704, it was the policy of the Spanish government to resettle Florida
Florida
Indians in Cuba
Cuba
so that they could be indoctrinated into the Catholic faith. The first group of Indians, including the cacique of Cayo de Guesos (Key West), arrived in Cuba
Cuba
in 1704, and most, if not all of them, soon died. In 1710, 280 Florida
Florida
Indians were taken to Cuba, where almost 200 soon died. The survivors were returned to the Keys in 1716 or 1718. In 1732 some Indians fled from the Keys to Cuba. In early 1743 the Governor of Cuba
Cuba
received a petition from three Calusa
Calusa
chiefs who were visiting in Havana. The petition, which was written in good Spanish and showed a good understanding of how the government and church bureaucracies worked, asked that missionaries be sent to the Cayos ( Florida
Florida
Keys) to provide religious instruction. The Governor and his advisors finally decided it would be cheaper to send missionaries to the Keys rather than bringing the Indians to Cuba, and that keeping the Indians in the Keys would mean they would be available to help shipwrecked Spanish sailors and keep the English out of the area. The governor sent two Jesuit
Jesuit
missionaries from Havana, Fathers Mónaco and Alaña, with an escort of soldiers. On reaching Biscayne Bay, they established a chapel and fort at the mouth of a river feeding into Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
that they called the Rio Ratones. This may have been the Little River, in the northern part of Biscayne Bay, or the Miami River. The Spanish missionaries were not well received. The Keys Indians, as the Spanish called them, denied that they had requested missionaries. They did permit a mission to be established because the Spanish had brought gifts for them, but the cacique denied that the King of Spain had dominion over his land, and insisted on tribute for allowing the Spanish to build a church or bring in settlers. The Indians demanded food, rum and clothing, but refused to work for the Spanish. Father Morano reported attacks on the mission by bands of Uchizas (the Creeks who later became known as Seminoles). Fathers Mónaco and Alaña developed a plan to have a stockade manned by twenty-five soldiers, and to bring in Spanish settlers to grow food for the soldiers and the Indians. They felt that the new settlement would soon supplant the need for St. Augustine. Father Alaña returned to Havana, leaving twelve soldiers and a corporal to protect Father Mónaco. The governor in Havana
Havana
was not pleased. He ordered that Father Mónaco and the soldiers be withdrawn, and the stockade burned to deny it to the Uchizas. He also forwarded the missionaries' plan to Spain, where the Council of the Indies
Council of the Indies
decided that the proposed mission on Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
would be costly and impractical. The second attempt to establish a mission on Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
had lasted less than three months. When Spain
Spain
surrendered Florida
Florida
to Britain in 1763, the remaining Tequestas, along with other Indians that had taken refuge in the Florida
Florida
Keys, were evacuated to Cuba.[1][16] In the 1770s, Bernard Romans reported seeing abandoned villages in the area, but no inhabitants. See also[edit]

Pompano Beach Mound: another Tequesta
Tequesta
archaeological site

Footnotes[edit]

^ a b "Questions of preservation after ancient village found in downtown Miami". CNN. February 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-05. According to Ryan Franklin of the Archaeological
Archaeological
and Historical Conservancy], the Tequesta
Tequesta
lived in south Florida
Florida
for roughly 2,000 years....[T]hey had disappeared by the time Britain took control of Florida
Florida
from the Spanish in 1763, with the remnants of their population believed to have migrated to Cuba...  ^ a b "The Caloosa Village Tequesta
Tequesta
A Miami of the Sixteenth Century by Robert E. McNicoll", Florida
Florida
International University ^ Frank 2017: 1-7 ^ Hann 2003:140-1 ^ Hann 2003:139 ^ Ehrenberg, Ralph E. "Marvellous countries and lands," Notable Maps of Florida, 1507-1846, Broward County Library ^ "Old Florida
Florida
Maps", University of Miami Libraries ^ "Old Florida
Florida
Maps", University of Miami Libraries ^ Florida
Florida
Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. P. 89 ^ a b Austin ^ Sauer, p. 51. ^ Austin Hann 2003:147 ^ Hann 2003:146 ^ "Miami Circle", Florida
Florida
Division of Historical Resources ^ Carr, Robert (2014). Digging Miami. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.  ^ "Native Peoples", National Park System, United States Department of the Interior

References[edit]

This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

State of Florida
Florida
Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. "Chapter 12. South and Southeast Florida: The Everglades Region, 2500 B.P.-Contact". Historic Contexts. Version of 9-27-93. Downloaded from [1] on March 27, 2006 Austin, Daniel W. (1997). "The Glades Indians and the Plants they Used. Ethnobotany of an Extinct Culture." The Palmetto, 17(2):7 -11.[2] - accessed December 4, 2005 Brickell Point - Home of the Miami Circle
Miami Circle
(State of Florida
Florida
site) - accessed December 4, 2005 Bullen, Adelaide K. (1965). " Florida
Florida
Indians of Past and Present". In Ruby L. Carson & Charlton Tebeau (Eds.), Florida
Florida
from Indian trail to space age: a history (Vol. I, pp. 317–350). Southern Publishing Company. Escalente Fontaneda, Hernando de. (1944). Memoir of Do. d'Escalente Fontaneda respecting Florida. Smith, B. (Trans.); True, D. O. (Ed.). Miami: University of Miami & Historical Association of Southern Florida. Frank, Andrew K. (2017). Before the Pioneers: Indians, Settlers, Slaves, and the Founding of Miami. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Goddard, Ives. (2005). The indigenous languages of the Southeast. Anthropological Linguistics, 47 (1), 1-60. Hann, John H. (1991). Missions to the Calusa. Gainesville: University of Florida
Florida
Press. Hann, John H. (2003). Indians of Central and South Florida: 1513-1763. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-2645-8 Sauer, Carl Otwin. 1966. (Fourth printing, 1992.) The Early Spanish Main. The University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01415-4 Sturtevant, William C. (1978). "The Last of the South Florida Aborigines". In Jeral Milanich & Samuel Proctor (Eds.). Tacachale: Essays on the Indians of Florida
Florida
and Southeastern Georgia during the Historic Period. Gainesville, Florida: The University Presses of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-0535-3 Tebeau, Charlton W. (1968). Man in the Everglades (pp. 37–45). Coral Gables, Florida: University of Miami Press. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68-17768 The Tequesta
Tequesta
of Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
- accessed December 4, 2005 Wenhold, Lucy L. (Ed., Trans.). (1936). A 17th century letter of Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderón, Bishop of Cuba, describing the Indians and Indian missions of Florida. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 95 (16). Washington, D.C.: Smiths

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