History of Sarasota FL

The original inhabitants of this area were the Calusa people. They called their village “Tanpa” and it was located on the northern edge of what is now known as Payne’s Creek in the city of Sarasota. They were a group of Native Americans who belonged to the larger cultural complex known as the Floridian mound builders. It is believed that between 1000 and 1500 AD, they created a shell mound beside a river which flowed into what is now Tampa Bay. The exact location has not been determined by any archeological excavation, but it was somewhere within present day Manatee or Sarasota counties close to today’s Riverview High School Enterprise Road and US 301. Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first documented the existence of “Tanpa” in 1513.

Sarasota Cremation Service

The Spanish became interested in Florida after they destroyed Havana, Cuba in 1538. They wanted to establish a colony on the coast of Florida to protect shipping from pirates and also use it as a base for future colonization of other lands. The Spaniards made only two attempts at colonization in Florida, both ending badly. In 1521 Panfilo de Narvaez left Spain with 600 men and 300 horses for an expedition that ended up being a disaster. Only four men survived the trip back to Europe.

In 1527, Pánfilo de Narváez’s half-brother, Hernando de Soto, organized an expedition that brought a large fleet of 11 ships, 1,500 soldiers and hundreds of support crew as far north as the current site of Memphis TN. The colonists did not bring sufficient food or supplies. They started to build boats for an escape by sea but many were killed by storms at sea, starvation, drowning and/or attacks by Native Americans. By the time de Soto died in 1542 only 300 survived out of more than 1,600 who had originally landed on this Florida coast.

Today many people visit the site of “Tanpa” where a marker commemorates the original inhabitants. The historic plaque was placed in 1934 by historical interests and provides Native American history about this area. It is located on private property, but it can be viewed from a roadside parking area across from Riverview High School at 3125 Enterprise Road, Sarasota, Florida.

Additionally there is a marker on the south bank of Payne’s Creek at its juncture with the Tamiami Trail. It reads: “Site of Fort Tanpa – Here, in 1743, a band of Spaniards built a wooden stockade and named it Fort Tanpa across from an Indian village called Tanpa. Both were destroyed by Native Americans before any garrison could occupy them.”

Tampa Bay was the site that Spanish explorers first landed when they began their quest to colonize Florida. The first documented European expedition took place in 1528 when explorer Pánfilo de Narváez arrived here in search for gold after being told about it by Native Americans in Cuba who stole his ship. He encamped on Tampa Bay with 300 men and spent the winter, but was later attacked by Native Americans and only four of his men survived.

Today many people visit the site of “Tanpa” where a marker commemorates the original inhabitants. The historic plaque was placed in 1934 by historical interests and provides Native American history about this area. It is located on private property, but it can be viewed from a roadside parking area across from Riverview High School at 3125 Enterprise Road, Sarasota, Florida.