Charlotte's long history with Cuba

The City of Punta Gorda starts its history with Isaac Trabue , a developer in 1886. The real history goes back many years before. The city's Spanish name gives clues not only to its history but to its ties to the island of Cuba. At the beginning of the 1th century, the area around Charlotte Harbor was inhabited by a truly multi-cultural community of Native-Americans, black plantation owners and Cuban fishing ranchos. They lived in peace and cooperation. June 17, 1821,  The Cowetas, allies to Andrew Jackson's efforts to claim Florida and be its first governor, raided the Cuban fishing ranchos communities on Charlotte Harbor, imprisoning the inhabitants that included Indians and blacks, and stealing their cattle.

Over the next years, diplomatic envoys for the area traveled to Havana asking repeatedly for help and protection of their lands. Help was never given. Jackson and a flood of white settlers  drove further south in Florida, taking the Indian cattle herds and their homesteads. This resulted in all out war lasting decades. With the Indians removed or killed, the cattle barons who had suffered great losses at the port at Tampa during a long draught moved and consolidated their holdings in Fort Ogden. Led by cattleman Ziba King in 1869, they chose Fort Center for it was the futherest north on the Peace River that steamer could navigate. They chose Fort Ogden since they would ship the cattle from the wide point ( Punta Gorda ). For years before the railroad. Florida's cattlemen worked a lucrative trade with cattle for beef for Cuba. Residents got their goods and guns from Havana.

Archaeologists have found the remains of one of the Cuban fishing ranchos settlements, nestled near the Calusa burial mound and midden on Cayo Pelau, an island owned by both Lee and Charlotte Counties in  the  Charlotte Harbor.

Link to more information on Cayo Pelau Archaeological Site