Welcome to KarmaToursFlorida: Six Hour Lost Treasure Tour which starts at Kelly Park East on Merritt Island. Our first stop will be the Mel Fisher Museum. We will then head over to Mo-Bay Jamaican Grill for a yummy lunch. We will then proceed to our last stop at the McLarty Treasure Museum. We will then return to Kelly Park East on Merritt Island.
Mel Fisher Musuem
The museum offers exhibits and research into the maritime history of Florida and the Carribbean. The exhibits include; the 1622 Fleet; Henrietta Marie, St John’s Wreck, Pirates and The Last Slave Ships. There are many interactive exhibits that let you see and touch history
Is a tropical-themed Jamaican/American restaurant, famous for its fresh seafood. Wesley Campbell the owner was born into the restaurant business watching his parents make dishes in their restaurant in Jamaica. Wesley began his first job in food preparation at the Half Moon Resort in Jamaica.
McLarty Treasure Musuem
The museum occupies what was once the site of the Survivors and Salvagers Camp 1715 Fleet and is part of the Sebastian Inlet State Park. The museum houses exhibits on the history of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet and features artifacts, displays, and an observation deck that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. An A&E Network production the Queen’s Jewels and the 1715 Fleet is shown. The Sebastian Inlet park has facilities for swimming and surfing so bring your towels, bathing suits and snorkeling equipment.
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
Established by an executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt, Pleican Island was the first National wildlife refuge in the United States. It was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting. Pelican Island has hundreds of species of animals. The wetlands are an incubator of life providing an ecosystem that supports a great diversity of life. Fifteen federal listed endangered species live in the preserve.
Before heading back to Kelly Park Merritt Island we will scour the beach for some lost treasure.
Florida is rich in nature and history. Our tours focus on the history of
The African Americans and Native Americans who were the indigenous peoples of Florida.
The African presence in Florida extends as far back as the 1500’s with Hernando DeSoto’s explorations and settlement. Later in the early 1700’s many African slaves fled from other southern states to escape slavery into the swamps of Florida. Later Florida would become a confederate state and slavery supported the agrarian economy. After the civil war right up threw the civil rights era of the 1960’s African Americans were persecuted and disenfranchised. As a result, many fled to northern cities during the great migration.
The indigenous peoples of Florida lived for more than 12,000 years before the time of first contact with Europeans. It is theorized that they crossed the land bridge connecting Asia to North America between 30,000 and 18,000 years ago and migrated south reaching all parts of North and South America. The early Native Americans found the Indian River a most favorable location. This is because the Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere. It is an incubator of sea life and provided ample food supplies to enable their cultures to excel. Unfortunately, the indigenous Floridians had largely died out or had been forcibly removed by the early 19th century. The majority of Native Americans that survived disease and other persecution were marched out to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears under the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Florida's environment at the end of the last Ice Age was very different from that of today. Because of the enormous amount of water frozen in ice sheets during the last glacial period, sea level was at least 330 ft lower than now. Florida had about twice the land area, its water table was much lower. Its climate also was cooler and much drier. There were few running rivers or springs in what is today's Florida. The few water sources in the interior of Florida were rain-fed lakes and water holes over relatively impervious deposits of marl, or deep sinkholes partially filled by springs.
With water available only at scattered locations, animals and humans would have congregated at the water holes to drink. The concentration of animals would have attracted hunters. Many Ice Age artifacts and animal bones showing butchering marks have been found in Florida rivers, where deep sinkholes in the river bed would have provided access to water. Sites with Ice Age Native American artifacts also have been found in flooded river valleys as much as 17 feet under the Gulf of Mexico.
Archaeologists have found direct evidence that Ice Age Native Americans in Florida hunted mammoths, mastodons, Bison antiquus, and giant tortoises. The bones of other large and small animals, including ground sloths, tapirs, horses, camelids, deer, fish, turtles, shellfish, snakes, raccoons, opossums, and muskrats are associated with Paleoindian sites.
On our Central Brevard tour we visit the Windover Archeological Site and the Brevard Musuem which highlights this an Early Archaic (6000 to 5000 BC) archaeological culture. Windover is a muck pond where skeletal remains of 168 individuals were found buried in the peat at the bottom of the pond. The skeletons were well preserved because of the characteristics of peat. In addition, remarkably well-preserved brain tissue has been recovered from many skulls from the site. DNA from the brain tissue has been sequenced. The collection of human skeletal remains and artifacts recovered from Windover Pond represent among the largest finds of each type from the Archaic Period. It is considered one of the most important archeological sites ever excavated.
According to Dr. Ben Brotemarkle is executive director of the Florida Historical Society, When Juan Ponce de León “discovered” Florida in 1513, native people had been living here for more than 10,000 years.
The native population had complex societies, elaborate systems of trade, and their own ancient religions. They had villages with large ceremonial centers surrounded by buildings built on shell mounds. Villages throughout this land had council houses built of wood and thatch that could hold more than 1,000 people.
It was the Ais people that Ponce De Leon first encountered as he made stops along the Florida coast in 1513. Ais villages could be found throughout what is now Brevard County. Their territory began north of today’s Titusville and continued down the east coast all the way into present-day Martin County. the Indian River was known as the "River of Ais" to the Spanish. The Ais language has been linked to the Chitimacha language by linguist Julian Granberry, who points out that "Ais" means "the people" in the Chitimacha language.
When a small group of Ponce’s men came ashore, the Ais gave them a greeting that let them know they were not welcome.
When Ponce came back to Florida in 1521 with the intention of establishing a permanent colony here, the Calusa attacked the Spanish crew. Ponce was wounded and taken to Cuba where he died.
Ponce’s death did not stop the Spanish, or the French and British who followed. Over the next century and beyond Europeans worked to change Florida’s native cultures by making them abandon their ancient religions and accept Christianity. They enslaved and killed native Floridians by the thousands. Finally, the unfamiliar diseases the Europeans brought to the “New World” proved to be too much for the indigenous people to fight.
In the centuries following European contact, the great native societies of Florida collapsed and the people disappeared. Those last remaining were probably absorbed into other Native American groups such as the Seminoles, who arrived in Florida from the north in the 1700s.