Why Virginia Was Not Spanish : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site
The Spanish invasion of what is now Florida began in At this time, there were at least , Native Americans living in the area. During European colonization, how did the French, Spanish, and Dutch view the place to place, and members of each nation forged relationships with Indians. Columbus' first illegal act was to ship five hundred Indians back to Spain as . However, the overall relationship between the British and Indians was a bad one.
Catholic missionaries labored to convert the Indians to Christianity, and they experienced some success baptizing and transforming the Guale and Timucuan peoples into farmers. But even the most cooperative Indians continued to maintain their own religious and cultural traditions, and many priests concluded that the Indians were inferior and incapable of understanding Christianity.
Indigenous populations declined over the seventeenth century as epidemics brought by the Spanish killed large numbers of natives. Instead of enslaving Native Americans in farming and mining operations, the French exploited existing inter-tribal alliances and rivalries to establish trade relationships with the Huron, Montagnais, and Algonquins along the St. Lawrence River and further inland toward the Great Lakes.
These Native Americans competed for exclusive status as intermediaries between other Indian traders and the French. Although Native Americans did most of the work, tracking, trapping, and skinning the animals and transporting the pelts to French traders, they drove hard bargains for their furs.
French traders exchanged textiles, weapons, and metal goods for the furs of animals such as beavers, bears, and wolves.
The Spanish and Indians in Florida, to | Native American Netroots
The trade strengthened traditional clan leaders' positions by allowing them to distribute these trade goods to their clan members as they saw fit. Jesuit Catholic missionaries managed to convert considerable numbers of Huron because the priests learned the local languages and exhibited bravery in the face of danger. French officials offered additional incentive for conversion by allowing Christian Hurons to purchase French muskets. In the eighteenth century, the Dutch and English competed with the French for trade and territory, which gave local Indians continued economic, diplomatic, and military leverage as Europeans competed for their trade and military alliances through the seventeenth century.
Unlike the French and Spanish, the Dutch did not emphasize religious conversion in their relationships with Native Americans. They established a fur trade alliance with the Iroquois confederacy, the most powerful Native American empire in 17th-century North America.
Although smallpox and other European diseases drastically reduced the Iroquois population, the confederation remained strong because they negotiated an advantageous alliance with the Dutch.
Dutch weapons helped the Iroquois to defeat the Huron, who were leaders of the other major pan-Indian confederacy in the area. As often as possible, Native Americans took advantage of rivalries among European powers to maintain or enhance their own political and economic positions.
The Iroquois quickly signed an alliance and trade treaty with the English. However, they also maintained friendly relations with the French and welcomed Jesuit missionaries into their midst.
The Iroquois were generally successful at playing the French and English off one another until the English drove the French out of North America at the end of the French and Indian War The Native people of south Florida were well aware of the Spanish from the reports from the Natives of the Caribbean islands with whom they had regularly traded for centuries.
The primary goal of the expedition was to obtain slaves. At this time, the Spanish were interested in Americans as laborers, sexual partners, guides, porters, and suppliers of food. While one of the common misconceptions repeated in history is that Ponce de Leon was looking for a fountain of youth, he was really looking for slaves who would add to his wealth.
The Spanish under Ponce de Leon landed just north of present-day Cape Canaveral which was the northern end of Ais territory. The Spanish ships then sailed into San Carlos Bay where they intended to clean and recaulk one of the ships. Eighty Calusa canoes filled with archers with shields approached the Spanish ships. The Spanish attacked, drove the Calusa to shore, broke up some of the canoes, and captured some women. The Calusa warriors, however, forced the Spanish to withdraw.
The well-armed Spanish landing party was driven off by the Calusa. Six of the Spanish soldiers were wounded and one was carried off alive. However, the Spanish reported that they killed 35 Indians. He reported seeing about 40 towns along the river. With a force of men, including Catholic priests, 50 horses, and livestock cows, sheep, goatsthe Spanish landed at San Carlos Bay.
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They were met by Calusa warriors who inflicted a number of casualties and wounded Ponce de Leon in the thigh with a reed arrow. In the close combat conditions, the European weapons proved less than effective. The Spanish returned to Cuba where Ponce de Leon dies.
The Spanish landed somewhere near present-day Tampa. On a beach empty of any Indians, a monk reads the requerimiento and with this the Spanish feel that they have met the legal and religious obligation to take possession of the land and wage war against the natives. The requerimiento was read in either Spanish or Latin with little concern for any possible Native comprehension of the words.
The village was deserted as the Timucua planned to encourage the Spanish to leave by offering no hospitality. However, the Spanish found a gold rattle that ignited their gold-lust.