Talk:Punta Rassa, Florida

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I noticed there is some info on punta rassa that should be in here, but isn't. Punta Rassa was very likely the spot where De Leon put ashore during his first trip to Florida in 1513. It was (and still is) the only place on the west coast of Florida where a true, natural, deep water channel runs right next to high ground. As such, it is possible to pull a ship right up to the shore and on/off load via gangplank. In front of the channel, there is a flat. During his first trip, De Leon careened his ships for hull cleaning. This is the only convenient spot in the area where such an operation could be performed. (Careening involves intentionally grounding a ship at high tide, so that it lays over onto one side during low tide, enabling the sides to be cleaned). Pine tar, derived from the locally growing pine trees was used to coat the ship to make it impervious to shipworm. De Leon left 6 spanish missionaries at Punta Rassa during the first voyage. They attempted to settle in an abandoned village at Wulfert on the bay side of nearby Sanibel Island. This abandoned village was likely a village of the dead, a part of the burial practice of the Calusa. Relics from these original settlers (including a gold crucifix and chain) have been periodically found in Blind Pass, the channel that runs past Wulfert and separates Sanibel from Captiva. Punta Rassa continued as a site of Spanish mission activity and was home base for missionaries from 1513 onward. Juan Rogel was based out of Punta Rassa for awhile when he was in the area. In the 1740's, the spanish mission at Punta Rassa served as a place of refuge for the Yamasee indians displaced from the grounds to the north of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine when the town was burned by the Brittish. Under Brittish control, Punta Rassa was left mainly to missionaries and fishermen. Mullet fishing (both for mullett and roe) was the staple in the area. This would continue up into the early 1800's when the area was taken over by the US. The fishing villages were known locally as ranchos. The families that fished the area were cuban/indian. By the late 1700's, the Calusa had vanished as a people, and become intermingled with the Spanish/Cubans. Once the United States took over the area, Creek indians began to populate the area under the name Seminole. Fort Dunlavy was established on the site as 'indian country' was across the river in the land between the peace river and the caloosahatchee. Punta Rassa became an important shipping point for cattle after the end second indian war created a situation that allowed cattle to be driven from the peace river basin down to the yucca pens in the area that's now north cape coral. They would then be herded across the caloosahatchee river at a crossing upriver from where downtown fort myers is now located and herded down what is now summerlin road (named for cattle baron jacob summerlin) to the docks at punta rassa before being shipped to cuba. (talk) 16:39, 26 June 2011 (UTC)