How the Indian River Got its Name

The Indian River Lagoon is an amazing estuary that is home to thousands of species of plants and animals. It’s been supplying Central Florida with food, fantastic views, and exciting activities that 321 Boat Club members can take advantage of all year round. While the Indian River Lagoon has been around for thousands of years, its name has not been. So as you embark on your Thanksgiving boat trip this weekend, here’s some trivia you can share with your out-of-town relatives escaping the cold for a beautiful Florida holiday.

Hundreds of years ago the Ais Indian tribe called what is now Brevard County home. They lived along the shores of the Indian River and when the Spanish came over in the 1500s, they named it Rio de Ais after the tribe. After the Spanish got the boot and English-speaking immigrants took over the semi-tropical area, they renamed the the lagoon to “River of the Ais.” This revolutionary name change eventually gave way to the lagoon’s current name, the Indian River Lagoon.

While the Indian River Lagoon encompasses all three of the lagoons, there are two separate lagoons with interesting origin stories:

The Banana River: Back in the 1500s, and more likely earlier than than that, the area of the Banana River was inhabited by the Ais Indians as well as a more peaceful, agricultural tribe the Timucuan. European settlers didn’t show up or inhabit the area for many years. They were nervous about the native tribes, who have been historically noted as as warring cannibals. It wasn’t until after the Louisiana Purchase was made that American Settlers began to inhabit the area. The lighthouse keeper at Cape Canaveral, Captain M.O. Burnham, named the Banana River after the wild bananas that grew along its banks.

The Mosquito Lagoon: Like many of the rivers and islands of Florida’s central coast, the mosquito lagoon was a no-brainer namer. The lagoon is surrounded by marshy wildlife area and is a breeding ground for the blood-sucking bugs. Mosquito Lagoon is called Mosquito Lagoon because it is ripe with mosquitos. Just go there and see for yourself. An exciting part about the Mosquito Lagoon is that part of it lies on the Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge, and on it you can see some of the Florida’s native wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, Scrub Jays, and Spoon Bills.

So this Thanksgiving while you’re carting around your relatives and in-laws in the Pontoon you reserved for the weekend, tell them all about how the Lagoon was named and a bit about its storied history. Don’t wait to make your boat reservation! Call us today and choose the boat that will fit your families needs this holiday.