6,000 years ago — Lake Okeechobee forms
1500's — Tequesta, Mayaimi and Calusa tribes inhabit territory around Lake Okeechobee
1700's — Seminole tribe moves to the lake and calls it Okeechobee, which means big water
1837 — American troops discover Lake Okeechobee in territorial battle against the Seminoles
1839 — Federal Armed Occupation Act encourages Americans to settle Florida
1845 — Florida becomes a state
1881 — Hamilton Disston buys 4 million acres of land around Lake Okeechobee and begins to drain the land and connect the lake to the Caloosahatchee River
1905 — Gov. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward creates the Everglades Drainage District and vows to drain South Florida swamps.
1915 — first settlers arrive in Clewiston
1926 — hurricane kills 400 in Moore Haven
1928 — hurricane kills 2,000 to 3,000 in Belle Glade
1929 — Okeechobee Flood Control District forms
1930 — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers instructed to build a 68-mile levee on Lake Okeechobee's southern edge.
1947 — hurricanes cause major flooding south of Lake Okeechobee.
1948 — Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes instructs the Army Corps to extend levee around the lake and to dredge and straighten the Caloosahatchee, Kissimmee and St. Lucie rivers for navigation.
1971 — Kissimmee River straightening complete
1975 — scientists begin to link blue-green algae blooms in Caloosahatchee River to phosphorus pollution coming from Lake Okeechobee
1986 — a gigantic blue-green algae bloom, fed by phosphorus pollution, slimes Lake Okeechobee
1988 — federal Government sues state and South Florida Water Management District for channeling polluted lake to Everglades National Park.
1992 — state and Federal government settle suit with a consent decree that instructs the state to reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Okeechobee and to treat water before it enters the Everglades. Congress also instructs Army Corps to re-study the Central and Southern Project for Flood Control.
1994 — state Legislature passes the Everglades Forever Act
2000 — re-study results in 30-year, $8 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and Army Corps begins a new water regulation schedule meant to manage the lake at around 15 feet above sea level so that habitat can grow back
LIQUID HEART: LAKE OKEECHOBEE
- PODCAST: Hear a report about the Daily News' three-part series on the health of Lake Okeechobee
- AUDIO: Listen to audio interviews related to the three-day series on Lake Okeechobee
- PHOTO GALLERY: See photos about Lake Okeechobee
- ON THE WEB: South Florida Water Management District -- Lake Okeechobee
- ON THE WEB: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- Lake Okeechobee
- ARCHIVE: Find more coverage in our archive of Lake Okeechobee stories
- MORE COVERAGE: Read more stories in the three-day series on Lake Okeechobee
2001 — billions of gallons of lake water flushed to the estuaries to bring the lake level down, followed by record drought that dropped the lake to about 9 feet.
2004 — Hurricane rains muddy lake water and raise the water level to about 18 feet.
2005 — more hurricanes churn up the lake and keep water levels too high. More than 965 billion gallons of water flushed from lake to Caloosahatchee River.
2006 — estimated cost of the restoration climbs to $10.8 billion. Half the land needed for the project has been acquired.