Calusa Indians On The Islands     

A Tribute to the People and Nation - Also known as The Caloosa - Caloosahatchee

A Bit About Pat O'Connor

Originally, a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, I moved to Oregon in 1967 and lived in Portland until 1989. I attended Portland Community College, where I served a year as president of the Associated Student Body. Subsequently, I also attended Portland State University, where I served two terms/years as student body president as well and graduated with degrees in history and social sciences.

I have some four dozen other sites, blogs and groups scattered throughout the internet and as time permits I will post links to them.

Lymphedema People

Creative Brooding

The Life and Times of Pat O'Connor

Iconoclastic Eclectic

Pat O'Connor

Pat O'Connor - Spaces Live

Zany for Zinnias


Cosmos Flowers


Snap Dragons



My Life with Lymphedema


Trisomy Disorders

Fungus Infections

Disorders of the Lymph System

Lymphedema ville


Edema and Related Medical Conditions

Developmental Disorders of the Lymphatics

Bacterial Infections

All About Lymphedema

Visit two archaeological sites to view the intricate water courts, canal systems, burial mounds, pottery pieces and enormous shell mounds left behind by the Calusa Indians thousands of years ago. Piece together the clues that scientists from around the world use to learn about how the earliest settlers lived their daily lives on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.

The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is an historic, mystical place whose story begins 12,000 years ago and runs through momentous occasions in history, from European exploration to American expansion to modern marvels of the 21st century. But no matter how much this charming community evolves, it is intrinsically tied to the area's forefathers – the Calusa Indians.

Early Calusa Culture 

About 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, rushing rivers deposited an enormous amount of silt in the Gulf of Mexico forming the tropical barrier islands along the Southwest Florida coast. Its newly formed islands and bays were awash with a bountiful supply of fish and shellfish that attracted archaic peoples from across southern Florida who established a permanent settlement. These people were the early predecessors of the Calusa Indians.

The Calusa set up villages near their life source – the water. There was not enough land to grow the amount of crops needed to feed all the tribe members, so the Calusa looked to the bays, streams, rivers and Gulf and turned up a smorgasbord of shrimp, crab, trout, snook, and just about every possible delectable seafood.

Without the worry of where the next meal would come from, the Calusa were free to develop a complex society, which they did at an astonishing rate. There was a two-tier caste system, a well-armed, highly structured military and an extended noble family. Common people provided food, dug canals and labored at the construction of immense, complex shell works and water systems.

Mound Key                      

A significant example of the Calusa's achievements can be seen at Mound Key State Archaeological Site, a 125-acre sub-tropical island in the center of Estero Bay. The entire island is constructed of shells discarded by the Calusa. On the mound, contained within its dramatic ridges, are inland water courts, canals and shell mounds that reveal Mound Key had been inhabited for almost 2,000 years.

Many scientists and researchers believe that Mound Key was
"Calos" the capital city of the Calusa Indians. Positions of the mounds and the layout of the canal system offer support to this theory. On shell ridges and high spots sat the houses of the people who lived on this island, including Native Florida Indians, Spanish fisher folk, and twentieth-century Euro-Americans, each of whom altered the landscape in their own way. Any handful of sand can turn up broken pottery or shell pieces that help archaeologists solve this gigantic jigsaw puzzle of the past.

Pineland: A Key To The Past
Another archaeological site is
Pineland, which the Calusa occupied for more than 1,500 years. Today the Randell Research Center at Pineland consists of 240 acres of the original village. Scientists from around the world come here to study the enormous shell mounds that overlook the waters of Pine Island Sound and the remains of many centuries of Indian village life that blanket pastures and citrus groves. Remnants of an ancient canal that reached across Pine Island are found throughout the complex, and sand burial mounds stand secluded and mysterious in the woods. Historic structures representing Florida's early pioneer history still stand at Pineland as well. The Randell Research Center offers walking tours (both self-guided and led by docents) at its Calusa Heritage Trail and also offers kayak tours of the area. Visitors learn about the Calusa's livelihood and culture buttressed by scientific evidence.

While visiting Pineland you can see gopher tortoises and bald eagles, as well as otters and alligators, just as they would have appeared 2,000 years ago. What makes the site so important is that its waterlogged deposits preserve artifacts not found in dry sites. The remains of many centuries of Calusa daily life reveal the fascinating, complex world that existed before the arrival  of Europeans.

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

The Calusa by Pat O'Connor

A History of the Calusa

The Calusa: "The Shell Indians"

Calusa Indian Art, Artifacts and Anecedotes

Calusa Artifacts Remnants of a Vanished Culture

The Calusa on the Pine Island Sound

Calusa Indian History 

Calusa "Fierce ones" turn up in 1711 in Cuba