The Settlement Of The Atlantic Seaboard
Fray Luís Cancer.—Meanwhile Florida and the Philippines had been conquered and colonized. Shortly after Coronado returned from New Mexico, the Moscoso party reached Pánuco. Viceroy Mendoza, in spite of previous failures, was willing to try his hand in ill-fated Florida, and he offered to equip Moscoso and his men for another attempt, but they declined. Florida had been "running with the blood of Indians," but Fray Luís Cancer, a disciple of Las Casas, offered to try to subdue it by peaceful methods. With a royal license he equipped a vessel at Vera Cruz, and with a few companions went in 1549 to Florida to convert the natives. He was murdered by them, however, and his companions returned.
De Luna and Villafañe.—But Florida was thought to be rich, especially at Coca, in northern Alabama, and new attempts at settlement were made. In 1558 the new viceroy was ordered to colonize Santa Elena, the scene of Ayllón's failure on the Carolina coast, and some other point not specified, the missionary work to be entrusted to the Dominicans. In the following year, therefore, Velasco sent Tristán de Luna, Coronado's second in command, from Vera Cruz with thirteen vessels and 1500 soldiers and colonists. Of the six captains three had been with De Soto, a fact which indicates the continuity of frontier interests.
The expedition landed at Pensacola Bay. Three vessels sent on to Santa Elena were storm-driven and returned to Vera Cruz. Establishing a garrison at Pensacola (Ichuse), De Luna moved about a thousand colonists inland to Nanipacna on the Alabama River, whence an expedition was sent north to Coça. In 1560 the colony returned to Pensacola, where De Luna was replaced by Villafañe, who had been sent with supplies from Mexico. In the following year Villafañe went with most of his colony to Santa Elena, but failed to make a settlement, and the Pensacola garrison was soon withdrawn. In view of these repeated disasters, in 1561 Philip II declared that for the present no further attempt should be made to colonize Florida.
The French in Florida.—Notwithstanding this decision, there were reasons why Florida should be occupied. The route of the treasure and merchant ships lay through the Bahama channel, and French and English pirates had begun to attack them. To lessen the danger, vessels were ordered to go in company, and as early as 1552 a fleet of war vessels was sent to escort them to Havana. But a port was needed to give aid against the pirates, as well as to provide refuge from the violent storms on the Florida coast. Moreover, the French were operating on the northern Atlantic, and it was feared that they would occupy this region.
This fear was realized in 1562 when Jean Ribaut led a French Huguenot colony to Port Royal, South Carolina. The colony miserably failed, but in 1564 another, led by Laudonnière, settled on St. John's River and built Fort Caroline. Just as Laudonnière was about to abandon the place, Ribaut arrived with a third colony, bearing instructions to fortify a position that would enable him to command the route of the Spanish treasure fleets.
Menéndez de Avilés, and the expulsion of the French.—Philip decided now to eject the French and colonize Florida, and entrusted the task to Menéndez de Avilés, a great naval officer. He was made adelantado of Florida, and promised a private estate twenty-five leagues square, or some 300,000 acres. In return he agreed to take a colony of five hundred persons to Florida, build at least two fortified towns, and expel foreign "settlers and corsairs." In September, 1565, Menéndez reached Florida and founded St. Augustine. Ten days later he marched overland against Fort Caroline, surprised and captured it, and mercilessly slew most of its defenders. On the spot the garrison of San Mateo was established.
Menéndez's relentless deed caused an outburst of indignation in France, and perhaps only Catherine's reliance on Philip in her troubles with the Huguenots prevented war. Vengeance was left to a private individual, Dominique de Gourgues. Getting up an expedition ostensibly to trade, in 1567 he went to Florida, and slew the garrison at San Mateo. The prisoners taken were hanged "not as Spaniards" but "as traitors, robbers, and murderers."
New settlements in Florida.—Menéndez planned great things. He would fortify the Bahama Channel, occupy Santa Elena and Chesapeake Bay, and in the latter seek the northern strait. As a base for expanding toward Pánuco, he would occupy the Bay of Juan Ponce, and he had great hopes of agricultural prosperity.
To carry out these plans, active steps were taken. Before Menéndez returned to Spain in 1567, several new Spanish posts were founded between the point of the peninsula and South Carolina. San Mateo was reoccupied. At Charlotte Bay Menéndez made an alliance with the much-feared Chief Carlos by marrying his sister, and founded there the presidio of San Antonio. Other garrisons were established on the peninsula at Ays, Santa Lucía, Tocobaga, and Tegesta. At Santa Elena, in South Carolina, Menéndez founded the colony of San Felipe, and in Guale (northern Georgia) he founded a presidio.
Explorations in the Alleghanies.—In November, 1566, Menéndez sent Juan Pardo from Santa Elena "to discover and conquer the interior country from there to Mexico," to join the two frontiers. Going northwest, he reached the snow covered Alleghanies in western North Carolina, established two garrisons on the way, and returned. Boyano, left at one of the garrisons, made expeditions into the mountains, and in 1567 marched southwest to Chiaha near Rome, Georgia. Being joined there by Pardo, they set out "in the direction of Zacatecas and the mines of San Martin," in Mexico, but were turned back by Indian hostility. On his way to San Felipe Pardo left two garrisons, which were soon massacred by Indians.
The Jesuit missions in Florida.—In 1566 Menéndez secured three Jesuit missionaries for Florida. Another band arrived in 1568, and went to Santa Elena, Orista, and Guale, where they founded missions. At first they were successful, but in 1570 they were driven out by native opposition. By this time the garrison at Tocobaga had been massacred and those at San Antonio and Tegesta withdrawn on account of Indian hostility.
The Virginia mission.—Father Segura, the Jesuit superior, now transferred his efforts to Chesapeake Bay, whither he went in 1570 with six missionaries. They founded a mission, perhaps on the Rappahannock, but soon all were slain. In 1571 Menéndez went in person to avenge the outrage. Two years later his nephew explored the entire coast from the Florida Keys to Chesapeake Bay. In 1573, the year before his death, Menéndez's grant was extended west to Pánuco.
Franciscans on the Georgia coast.—The martyrdom of Father Segura and his band caused the Jesuits to abandon the field for Mexico, but in 1573 Franciscans began work in the province. Twenty years later (1593) twelve more arrived under Father Juan de Silva. From the central monastery at St. Augustine they set forth and founded island missions all up the Florida and Georgia coast, on Amelia, Cumberland, St. Simon, San Pedro and Ossabua islands. Fray Pedro Chozas made inland explorations, and Father Pareja began his famous work on the Indian languages. Owing to an Indian uprising in 1597 the missions were abandoned for a time, but were soon restored as a check against the English, who now entered Virginia.
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