History of Broward County, Florida, Part 1: Before the Europeans

A generation ago, the “history” of Florida, and specifically Broward County, began with it’s discovery and conquest by 16th century Europeans. At some point in recent history, historians realized that human beings lived in what is now Broward County for a long time. Thousands of years, it is believed. Here’s what is thought to have occurred:1

  • Skeletal remains of big-game hunters who lived 10,000 years ago have been found as near as Vero Beach on the east coast and Charlotte Harbor on the west.
  • When the big-game became extinct, about 8,000 years ago, the Indians turned to a diversified pattern of hunting and gathering and made use of every edible resource they could find. It is Indians of this type, known to archaeologists as “Archaic,” who were Broward’s first known residents.
  • These Indians wandered in Broward County 2,000 – 4,000 years ago, sustained by a diet of shell-fish and fish, game such as deer and bear, plants such as seagrape and prickly pear . Their settlements were small and transitory. The major village of Tequesta, near the mouth of Miami River, probably was not more than a couple of centuries old when the Spanish visited it in 1567. There is a good article2 about at important archaeological site in downtown Miami, connected to the Tequestas.

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