The origin of Miami
Was considered a delicacy reserved only for the tribe leaders.
They were also quite the handy craftsmen, using the leftovers from their hunts and plants around them to make jewelry, pots, miscellaneous things and weapons with shark teeth.
When the Settlers arrived at the dawn of the 1500s, the Tequesta Indians were not very happy. In fact they even had battles with the Spanish before they could be coaxed by them with colorful cloth, knives and rum.
Before long, the Tequesta Indians, whom stood 800 strong, began to die out from disease, brought on by the Spanish, and from slavery. After a long battle, only a very small amount of survivors were left, and were dispersed into other tribes nearby.
But who were these settlers? In 1493, Juan Ponce de León sailed with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage back to the Americas. He and the rest of his family were quickly posted on the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and became a military commander who later took up the title of Deputy Governor. By 1506, Ponce de León and his men discovered a nearby island named Borinquen where he found large amounts of gold. Soon after he discovered gold in Borinquen, Ponce de Leon left the island to go back home and take his prize to King Ferdinand II of Spain.
He returned two years later by the King’s order to govern the island he himself discovered. Ponce de León renamed the island Puerto Rico.
Not even two years passed before he was assigned in Puerto Rico when Juan Ponce de León was replaced by Columbus’ son by the King’s order. The King’s action caused him so much sadness and anger that Ponce de León decided to sail again; this time more north bound through the Bahamas and towards Florida where he hoped to strike it rich again. He had also heard rumors from local Indians of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola that the land to the north had lots of gold and housed the famous fountain of youth.
This intrigued him enough to make the journey to more fame and recognition.
In late March, 1513, they struck land and docked in presentday St. Augustine. Fascinated by the lush vegetation and sparkling beaches, Juan Ponce de León named his new discovery «La Florida», meaning «place of flowers». Elated by his discovery he decided to travel down the coast to see if he could spot anymore wonders. Along the way he began to name different areas of the East Coast, like the naming Cape Canaveral all the way to Dry Tortuga.
When he tried to travel up the west coast of Florida, he encountered the Calusa tribe, one of the fiercer tribes of the Florida coast. The Calusa tribe then proceeded to chase away Ponce de Leon and his men.
Determined to settle down in La Florida, Ponce de León returned with 200 settlers, tools, horses and seeds to build a bustling farmers’ village. Unfortunately for Ponce de León, the Calusa tribe returned with a vengeance, chasing away Not only Ponce de León but most of his settlers. But before he could escape, a Calusa Indian shot Ponce de León on his thigh, seriously injuring him. He died in Cuba from his fatal wound at the age of 61.
Yet, even though Ponce de León died from a thigh wound and escaped with all the settlers he brought onto Florida’s coast, he gave other explorers and conquistadores the thirst to explore the fatal Florida and its treasures and mysteries. Ponce de León lit the way for future explorers to attempt colonization and let grow to the city we know today.
L. Caldera, Miami, Florida.