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Who are the Timucua Indians?

By Heather Phillips
Updated May 17, 2024
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The Timucua Indians were an Native American tribe that inhabited the northern part of Florida and southern part of Georgia. They no longer exist as an Indian nation. The Timucua had a culture that was both agrarian and included hunting and gathering. There were at least three different Florida tribes referred to as Timucua Indians. These each had their own chiefs, or leaders, and were often in conflict with each other. Their languages were similar, but different dialects set each group apart.

Timucua Indians typically lived in villages. Their homes were often round dwellings made from small tree trunks, the thicker end of which was put into the ground. The thinner tops of these buildings were joined together overhead, and palm leaves covered the top to keep water out. The dwellings were lined with benches for sleeping and featured an open smoke hole in the roof. Often, the Timucua would light small fires that would smoke under the benches to keep insects away. It seems that the Timucua spent most of their time outdoors, reserving the dwellings mostly for sleeping.

In addition to growing crops — such as gourds for storage and foods like corn, squash, sunflowers, and pigweed — the Timucua Indians also hunted, fished, and harvested oysters and snails. They would often fish using either hooks and lines, or weirs — wooden walls which fish would be able to swim over during high tide, but would trap them as the tide went out. The Timucua also gathered blueberries, cherries, blackberries, and various other fruits and nuts that grew in the region.

Timucua Indians made tools for hunting, fishing, and their agricultural pursuits. They generally hunted with bows and arrows, spears, clubs, and blow pipes. In addition to hook-and-lines and weirs, the Timucua also sometimes fished with nets, harpoons, and lassoes. They also made woven baskets for gathering, and used digging sticks, hoes, and shovels for working in fields.

Traditional Timucua clothing consisted of deerskin or other animal skin garments. They also made and wore woven cloth. Men typically had long hair, some of which was gathered into a topknot.

One of the theories as to why the Timucua Indians disappered is that their population was depleted as this generally peaceful tribe fought with arriving European settlers in the mid-1600s. As their numbers dwindled from fighting, they also fell victim to a smallpox epidemic that further reduced the population. It is possible that there were some survivors, however, who may have joined the Seminole Indians.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1006570 — On Apr 06, 2022

The mounds were large oyster shell mounds built up over centuries of use. They are called oyster middens. During hot summer months, the Timucuans would live nearer the cooler coastlines and harvest oysters and fish.

By whitesand — On Nov 05, 2011

@goldensky - The dirt mounds you are referring to are called burial mounds, and yes, they do still exist in Georgia and Florida. They're historical Indian cemeteries that are protected and preserved throughout the southeast.

The Timucua Indians didn't actually leave the dead lying around. They just didn't dig holes to bury them in. Traditionally they would cover them with dirt, sand and sometimes oysters and other seashells. They've grown into hills and mounds over the yeas.

The dead were always laid side by side to form a sort of sacred burial ground. They would often bury other things like pottery or arrowheads with the body. The more items that were placed with the body symbolized their importance. A chief would have the largest mound.

By goldensky — On Nov 04, 2011

I heard that the Timucua Indians never buried their dead. Is it true that Florida and Georgia have huge dirt mounds that have formed up over the years covering the remains of the dead Indians? Was this part of the Timucua religion? Because it kind of sounds a little sacrilegious if you ask me.

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