The Struggle With The English On The Carolina Border
The Georgia missions restored.—After the massacre of 1597, the Florida missions seem to have been practically abandoned for a time. But new missionaries, requested by the governor in 1601, reoccupied the abandoned sites, pushed farther up the coast, and entered the interior. The settlement of Virginia by the English was followed by remonstrance and a new wave of missionary activity. In 1612 Fray Luis de Oré came with twenty-three friars and Florida was erected into the province of Santa Elena, with the mother house at Havana. In less than two years the new missionaries had established twenty mission residences among the tribes, especially on the Guale (Georgia) coast. In 1612 was published the first of Father Pareja's numerous books in the Timuquanan language. By 1634 some thirty Franciscans were ministering to 30,000 converts in forty-four missions and mission stations. The success was parallel to that of the Franciscans in New Mexico at the same time.
The Apalachee and the Creek missions.—The simultaneous intrusion of the English, French, and Dutch into the Caribbean waters was a new threat at Spain's Gulf possessions, and it was followed by the advance of her outposts into western Florida. Throughout the sixteenth century the warlike Apalachees had resisted Spanish authority, but in 1633 successful missionary work was begun among them by the guardian of the monastery of St. Augustine and one companion. Within two years they had baptized five thousand natives. In 1638 the Apalachees revolted, but they were defeated, and the presidio of San Luis was established among them. This district now became one of the most important missionary centers of Florida, missions being extended to the Creeks of western Georgia.
The missions in 1647.—By 1647 St. Augustine was headquarters for fifty Franciscans, who worked among the neighboring tribes. Northward a line of ten missions extended up the Georgia coast to Chatuache near the Savannah River. Toward the western interior, within a radius of one hundred and fifty miles there were ten more, and toward the south four. In the Apalachee district there were eight in eight large towns, with three more on the way to St. Augustine. At these thirty-five missions 26,000 converted Indians were served.
The Apalachee revolt.—Just now, however, the prosperous Apalachee missions suffered a severe blow. The chiefs, refusing to render personal sendee and tribute, headed a rebellion in which several Spaniards were slain. The governor led a campaign against them, several battles were fought, and a number of chiefs hanged. The Indians were subdued, but they were so embittered that the Franciscans abandoned the missions.
The English in the Carolinas.—In 1653 English settlers from Virginia began to establish themselves in North Carolina, and in 1670 the English settlement of South Carolina was begun near Charleston. This intrusion into the old Spanish province of Santa Elena was viewed with alarm by Spain, and, as always in the border Spanish colonies, the foreign danger was followed by renewed missionary activity on the threatened frontiers. Missionary work received an impetus in 1674 by the visitation of Bishop Calderón, of Cuba, who spent eight months in a tour of Florida. In that year and the next, five new missions were founded, and in 1676 Father Moral took to Florida twenty-four additional missionaries. Six or more missions were now in operation on the northern Georgia coast between Jekyl Island and the Savannah River, besides those farther south.
English incursions and the Yamassee revolt.—Hostilities with the English on the border began at once. In 1680 a force of three hundred Indians and Englishmen invaded Santa Catalina Island and expelled the garrison and mission Indians. Governor Marquez Cabrera sent soldiers to build a fort, and asked the king for Canary Island families to hold the country. The families were ordered sent (1681), but plans were changed and the Indians of the northernmost missions were moved southward. The Yamassees refused to move, joined the English, and aided them in a raid on Mission Santa Catalina (1685). In the following year Spaniards sent by Governor Marquez retaliated by sacking Carolina plantations and carrying off negro slaves. Another expedition of the same year landed at Edisto Island, burned the country residence of Governor Morton, and destroyed Stuart Town (Port Royal).
The English among the Creeks.—The English now threatened the Spaniards on another frontier. Fur traders from South Carolina had pushed south and west across Georgia and were becoming active among the Creeks of western Georgia and eastern Alabama. In 1685 Governor Marquez sent Lieutenant Matheos, commander at Apalachee, with twenty soldiers and four hundred allies to capture traders operating at Kawita, Kasihta, and Kulumi, Creek towns on the Chatahootchee and Talapoosa Rivers. The expedition failed but it was repeated, and Marquez called on the home government for help.
Plans to occupy Pensacola.—It was just at this time that La Salle formed his establishment in Texas. The combined danger from the English and the French now made it necessary to protect the northern Gulf coast. La Salle's intrusion was followed by the temporary Spanish occupation of eastern Texas in 1690, already described. At the same time (1689) the viceroy sent Andrés de Pez to Spain to urge the occupation of Pensacola Bay (Santa Maria de Galve). The council approved the plan and authorized the withdrawal from Texas. In 1693 Pez explored Pensacola and Mobile bays with a view to settlement. Thus, in a sense, the defence of eastern Texas was given up for the founding of Pensacola. A new French intrusion was necessary, however, to bring about the permanent occupation of either Texas or Pensacola.
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