When the first peoples arrived in what is now Florida during the last glacial period, sea levels were lower and the peninsula much wider. Freshwater was scarce and so people gathered around sinkholes and rain catchment basins. By the 16th century, the peninsula was populated by dozens of distinct tribes and peoples. The Apalachee were one of the larger tribes, with over 50,000 people living in the area between the Aucilla and Ochlockonee Rivers. They lived in large and dense settlements made possible by agricultural cultivation and participated in a trade network that extended up to the Great Lakes and west to present-day Oklahoma. Some of the tribe’s descendants, who refer to themselves as the Talimali Band of Apalachee, live in Louisiana.

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