We know abut the Calusa Indians because of the many mounds and canals they left behind. In and around the Charlotte Harbor are some 26 mounds and earthworks built by the fishing-hunting-gatherers from around 800 B.C. to about the 1700s, when they died of the diseases brought by the Spanish. The largest and most significant of these monumental earthworks in Charlotte County is Big Mound Key ( pictured right). Big Mound Key Archaeological site is within the Charlotte Harbor State Preserve in Cape Haze. It is a acre site consisting of four large shell mounds, four sets of semi-circular ridges and a central canal. Carbon dating has the construction of the mound site around 1000 A.D., exactly the new dates for the even larger Big Mound City archaeological Site in the C.W. Corbett Wildlife Preserve in Palm Beach County. Not only were these two sites being constructed by thousands of volunteers at the same time in south Florida, they are aligned on a straight east/west line. The site was registered as a National Historic Place in . Dr. Julian Granberry, a linguist believes that the Calusa immigrated here from Louisiana. Big Mound Key has a special layout only seen in one other site, Poverty Point in Louisiana. Big Mound key borders Boggess Ridge and Boggess Hole named after Capt. Francis Calvin Morgan Boggess on the west and Whidden Creek, named after John Wesley Whidden on the east.
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With the Spanish leaving Florida after not finding gold, Indians from the new southern states of the U.S., crossed over to what is now Florida. So did many runaway slaves. They not only found abundant lands with great hunting and fishing but also herds of cattle left by the Spanish grazing on the prairies and forests know known as Paynes Prairie, east of Jacksonville. It was truly a mix of races and people settling Florida after the departure of the first immigrants of 1000 B.C.. The peace soon ended when whites crossing over from the southern U.S. wanted all their lands and all their cattle. Manifest Destiny under the leadership of people like General Andrew Jackson wanted Florida for the United States and for its new white voters. Jackson illegally invaded Florida after his defeat of the British in New Orleans. Soon the Seminole, had no other recourse than to defend their people, their lands and their cattle. Soon Florida was a series of Forts attempting to protect both the interest of the whites and the Seminole. But by mid-19th century, with all treaties broken by the U.S. government, it was the job to force all the Seminole out of Florida and resettle them in the Indian Territory ( Oklahoma). What resulted was the longest, bloodiest and most costly Indian conflict in American History. All of what is now Charlotte County, was the land of the Seminole, as well as the promised lands to the Seminole under treaty. The original pioneers of Charlotte County before 1853, settled here in violation of and despite the land belonging to the Seminole.
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