Right here in Jacksonville, you can explore the Timucuan Preserve, which houses 6,000 years of history and covers 46,000 acres of wetlands, waterways, and other habitat. Established in 1988, this preserve is a favorite destination for nature lovers, history buffs, and people interested in learning a bit more about Jacksonville.
Here are some interesting facts about the preserve that might pique your curiosity and inspire you to visit.
The Preserve Was Named After the Indigenous People in the Area
The Timucua people lived in northern Florida and southern Georgia and were some of the earliest inhabitants of the region. Their population was about 200,000 before European colonists arrived and they lived primarily as hunters and gatherers. Though this group of people spoke dialects of the same language, they were not considered a solitary culture – rather they were a diverse group of people in different territories with various customs and beliefs. Tragically, this culture was destroyed by colonizers and one of this preserve’s missions is to keep their history and culture alive.
Some of the Oldest Pottery in the U.S. Was Found Here
Archeologists have made exciting finds in the area in recent years, including some of the oldest pottery ever found in the country. Much of the pottery dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, some of it Spanish, and some of it identified as belonging to the Mocama people (a sub-group distinct from the Timucuan), who lived in the area and were some of the first indigenous people encountered by colonists.
You’ll Find the Oldest Standing Plantation in the State Here
This area became a place where many came to find fortune, including Zephaniah Kingsley, who established the Kingsley Plantation. The Kingsleys occupied this plantation from 1814 to 1837. Here, you’ll find the original slave quarters and the preserve’s attempts to learn as much as possible from this time in history. Because enslaved people were not allowed to read or write, there is little known about those who lived here during the plantation’s operational years. However, historians and archeologists have done their best to piece together their stories in order to teach and remember.
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