When the first Europeans arrived off Florida’s coasts the land was not uninhabited virgin territory but was occupied by many distinct peoples organized into flourishing, complex, chiefdom-level societies of a non-egalitarian nature. Those societies included the Calusa of the Gulf coast from the Charlotte Harbor area southward to the tip of the Florida peninsula; Tocobaga and others who occupied the shores of Tampa Bay and their hinterland; Ais of the Indian River area and its hinterland; various autonomous Timucua-speaking groups of south Georgia and north Florida from the east coast westward to the Aucilla, Withlacoochee, and Oklawaha rivers; Apalachee whose domain extended from the Aucilla to just beyond the Ochlockonee River; Guale of coastal Georgia from the Altamaha River northward; and the Escamacu-Orista and Cayagua along the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River north to the Charleston region.
Hann, John H.
"Political Leadership Among the Natives of Spanish Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 71:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol71/iss2/6