History of Sanibel Island

Sanibel Aerial

What began as a sandbar is now Sanibel, a barrier island fringed with mangrove trees, shallow bays, and white sandy beaches located off the southwest coast of Florida.

For over 2,000 years the Calusa Indians made the lush island, with its ready source of food from the sea, their home. By the mid 1800s, European settlers arrived and soon displaced the Calusa tribe.
For years the island was mainly used by farmers until a fierce hurricane in 1926 destroyed the agriculture industry. Construction of the Sanibel causeway in 1963 opened way for tourism on the island.