How the Everglades Got Its Name

Everglades swamp tour

The Florida Everglades, or simply the “Glades.”

The Everglades, sometimes affectionately referred to simply as the “Glades,” is a name which encompasses much of the interior of Southern Florida, though it is also the most sparsely populated area of the state. But how did the Everglades get its name?

The first written mention of the Everglades appears on Spanish maps from the 1700’s, on which the area was referred to as Laguna del Espíritu Santo, or “Lake of the Holy Spirit.” The name was given by Spanish explorers who had never even seen the land, land which remained unexplored for decades after. Native Americans at the time referred to the land as “impenetrable,” and Spanish and British surveyors simply did not have the means to explore the land past the coastlines.

A British Surveyor who mapped the coast of Florida in 1773 called the area the “River Glades,” after which cartographers began substituting “Ever” for “River.” The actual name “Everglades” first appeared on a map in 1823, although it was also spelled as “Ever Glades” on maps as late as 1851.

Even though the area was once mysterious and considered impenetrable, these days, everyone can visit the area by taking an Everglades swamp tour. The wildlife and scenery available on airboat tours through the Everglades are images that you are guaranteed to never forget, and can be enjoyed by the whole family and people of all ages.