Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe

By Jerald T. Milanich | Go to book overview
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PART II

The Invasion

Was it an invasion, or, as my thesaurus alternatively puts it, a hostile ingress? Did armies from European countries invade Florida? Or is the use of that term simply an example of political correctness stimulated in part by the reaction of indigenous people to the Columbian Quincentenary?

There are three points of view. One is that of the Spaniards. A sixteenth-century learned Spaniard would probably argue that the exploration and colonization of Florida was certainly not an invasion, a hostile ingress, a frontier violation, or even an assailment. The entradas of Juan Ponce de León, Pánfilo de Narváez, Hernando de Soto, and Pedro Menéndez de Avilés were military and settlement initiatives duly sanctioned in writing by their respective sovereigns. They also were legal under international law. As part of the Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal, negotiated by Pope Alexander VI in 1493 and finalized in 1494, Spain was given the right to Western Hemisphere lands west of a north-south line drawn 350 leagues (about 1,295 miles) west of the Cape Verde Islands. That line of demarcation, approximated by the forty-ninth west parallel, later was found to intersect only a small portion of easternmost South America. Nearly all of that continent, as well as all of North America, was in the Spanish sphere of influence; only the smallest part of South America went to the Portuguese. It is doubtful that those who drew up the treaty intended that

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