Carlos was chief of the most powerful indigenous group in southern Florida. He attempted to form an alliance with Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in order to establish an alliance against his enemies, the Tocobaga people (Tampa Bay).
Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda tells us that Calusa means "Ferocious People" and underlined the control that Carlos exercised over numerous peoples and towns in la Florida.
Sacred Rain Calusa
Rich inshore food resources were vital to the coastal Calusa, who were primarily a fishing people. The mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and mud flats near the coast provided the energy base for a complex food web, as well as nutrition and safe havens for small fish.
Calusa people preparing for fishing in the estuary.