About Sarasota

Sarasota County anchors the middle of Florida’s western coast, approximately 60 miles south of Tampa Bay. It includes the cities of Sarasota, Venice and North Port, and the Town of Longboat Key.

  • The county was formerly inhabited by Calusa, Tocobaga, and Seminole Indigenous peoples and was also once inhabited by a free Angolan community of maroons.
  • The county is home to approximately 433,742 permanent residents (2020 Census).
  • The community encompasses 575 square miles of land and is surrounded by 37 miles of open shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Lido Beach is on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

The Calusa and Their Legacy

The Calusa and Their Legacy is the first popular book focusing on the Calusa Indians, their ancestors, and the coastal water world in which they lived. It also takes a look at the arts and culture of contemporary south Florida Indian people–the Seminole and Miccosukee. This wonderfully illustrated volume is a delightful rendering of one of the truly unique archaeological and natural areas in the Americas. Anyone interested in North American Indians, Florida, and the natural history of coastal environments of yesterday and today will love this book.”–From the foreword, by Jerald T. Milanich

This history, rich with photographs and colorful drawings of the remarkable Calusa Indians who controlled all of South Florida when Europeans first colonized the New World, presents a vivid picture of the luxurious natural environment that sustained the Calusa–the teeming estuaries along Florida’s coasts, which have supported people for thousands of years.

The Calusa were the last native Florida Indian people to succumb to colonization, but by the mid-1700s they had disappeared entirely. This book describes the artifacts they left behind and the plants and animals that inhabited the landscape and the underwater world of their ecosystem. It also discusses their traditions that survive to the present day among modern fisherfolk and the vibrant culture of Native Americans in south Florida–the Seminole and Miccosukee peoples.

The strength of this book is its dual treatment of both culture and environment. The authors’ premise is that culture affects every aspect of people’s existence and that to understand a culture, one must first appreciate the environment in which it develops. By learning about both, modern citizens will be better equipped to make the right decisions for wise stewardship of the earth.

Darcie A. MacMahon is assistant director of exhibits at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. William H. Marquardt is curator in archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and also associate director of the University of Florida Institute of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies.

Purchase ‘The Calusa and their Legacy’ here: https://upf.com/book.asp?id=9780813027739

Who Were the Tocobaga?

Looking for Angola: Manatee County’s First Black Community

Newtown Alive

A new book about the history of Sarasota’s African American community is now available. Find out why early settlers came to the tiny fishing village, how they made a living, and why they organized a self-sustaining neighborhood. The book also describes their religious and social traditions, medical and military history, and their emphasis on education. Whether you are new to Sarasota, a frequent visitor, an educator, historian, or a longtime resident trying to connect the dots in your family tree, we believe in the personal stories of courage, dignity, and determination of Newtown and Overtown residents will be enlightening and inspiring.

Purchase Newtown Alive here: http://www.newtownalive.org/product/newtown-alive-book/