The Apalachee Indians are thought to have lived in round, thatched houses. They often built these houses on top of mounds of earth, some of which can still be seen today around Lake Jackson, Fla. The Apalachee lived in large villages scattered through what is now Northwest Florida.
The Apalachee were a highly organized Native American tribe. Their leaders were strong and powerful, and researchers believe that each village had its own chief, whose home was located on top of the largest mound in that village. Their capital is thought to have been located near Lake Jackson. The Apalachee were a farming tribe; they grew corn, beans and squash and also hunted for deer and small game. For entertainment, villages of Apalachee challenged one another to a ball game known as the "Apalachee ball game," which was played with a small clay ball covered in buckskin. They had a matriarchal society, and a child born became part of its mother's clan.
Populations of Apalachee began to decline in the 1500s, after contact with the Spanish conquistadors introduced contagious diseases and led to deadly battles. In the late 1700s, the few remaining Apalachee people relocated to Rapids Parish, La., and some of their descendants still live in this area, as of 2014.