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A Journey Through Time In Okeechobee, Florida

Incorporated in 1917 and celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a centennial celebration on June 13, Okeechobee County was named after lake Okeechobee which was itself named for the Hitchiti words “oka” (water) and “chobi” (big).

The earliest record of the lake was by Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a Spanish shipwreck survivor who lived among the Florida Indians for 17 years and whose memoirs are considered the most valuable account of American Indian life from that period.  By the 18th century, the area had become widely well known by British mapmakers and chroniclers who referred to it as Laguna de Espiritu Santo and in the 19th century, it became known as Mayacco Lake after the Mayaca people who had moved to the area.

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