A Bayou Hoodoo Herbal: History and the Region Defined

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The French, Spanish, and English played ping pong with a lot of territory for a few hundred years, sometimes claiming and ceding it aso quickly it’ll give you whiplash trying to keep up. And of course there were already people living in these areas while the European kingdoms were playing king of the mountain, such as the Calusa (in what is today Southwest Florida) who were trading with Cuba before the Spanish ever got there; the Apalachee, living in what is today’s Florida Panhandle; the Chitimacha (in what is today South Central Louisiana), the Karankawa (along the coast of what is now Texas, from about Galveston Bay to about Corpus Christi Bay); the Atakapa (on the coast of what is today Texas and Louisiana); the Tocobaga (around Tampa Bay); Mississippi Choctaw, Natchez, and Chickasaw. The Pensacola (in what is now western Florida and eastern Alabama) had long-established relationships with people like the Creek from a little further west — and so these arbitrary European ways of marking boundaries and dividing up land that we see on maps can often obscure significant routes of cultural, economic, and population exchange that predate them and that don’t align with those European-imposed boundaries. And these existing relationships and alliances can have a huge impact on the ultimate fortunes of a region that’s coveted by a different king or country and has to be constantly defended by standing military and/or ad hoc militias.