Shark Valley is a geological depression at the head of the Shark River Slough and is located in western Miami-Dade County and is part of Everglades National Park. It empties into the Shark River in Ten Thousand Islands in Monroe County and has a sawgrass prairie that floods during the rainy season.
There are large expanses of oolitic limestone both exposed and overlain by marl. The area has a brief hydroperiod and is seasonally submerged with sawgrass being the dominant vegetation. Shark Valley does not contain standing water year-round like the Shark River Slough. Wildlife includes alligators, ibis, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, raccoons, white-tailed deer and various amphibians.
History of Shark Valley includes a well-known episode during the Second Seminole War. In 1838, groups of Spanish Indians successively raided a guarded trading post on the Caloosahatchee River and committed a massacre on Indian Key in 1840. Residing with Southwest Florida, the Spanish Indians were a mix of Creek refugees and people of mixed Native American and Spanish. Some believe they might have been of Calusa descent. Responding to attacks by the Spanish Indians, on December 4, 1840, 90 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel W. S. Harney targeted one of their key leader, Chakaika. At times, his name has been spelled Chekika. They had departed from Fort Dallas, which was at the mouth of the Miami River, and is now Downtown Miami. When they found Chakaika with some of his rebels, they shot him and had him hanged on “Chakaika’s island,” a tree island in the Everglades. Located at the beginning Shark Valley, this tree island is believed to be present-day Chekika Island.