According the City of Belle Glade, Florida website, Belle Glade is the largest city within the 2,862,00-acre subtropical Everglades in the heartland of Florida. Belle Glade was originally referred to as Hillsboro. The earliest known inhabitants of the Belle Glade area were the Calusa Indians. Their prehistoric habitation and burial mounds are located just west of Belle Glade in Chosen which is known by many as the "Indian Mound." These sites were excavated by the Smithsonian Institution during the early 1930's and later by archaeologists from the Florida State Museum in Gainesville. The Seminole Indians generally associated with this part of Florida are descendants of tribes from Georgia and Alabama who moved further and further south as white men pushed for expansion and development of new lands. It was the Seminole who gave the lake region the name of "Okeechobeeland," meaning Land of Big Water.
One of the colorful versions concerning the naming of the community tells that a blackboard was placed in a hotel lobby where suggestions could be written on the board. The suggestion receiving the most votes was that it should be called Belle Glade since the settlement was "the belle of the Glades. The Hillsboro Community Council was formed in 1919 and operated as the town's governing body until its incorporation on April 9, 1928.