The Stuggle for the Georgia Coast: An Eighteenth-Century Spanish Retrospective on Guale and Mocama

By Bushnell, Amy Turner | The Catholic Historical Review, January 1997 | Go to article overview

The Stuggle for the Georgia Coast: An Eighteenth-Century Spanish Retrospective on Guale and Mocama


Bushnell, Amy Turner, The Catholic Historical Review


The Struggle for the Georgia Coast: An Eighteenth-Century Spanish Retrospective on Guale and Mocama. Translated and edited by John E. Worth. Introduction by David Hurst Thomas. [Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, Number 75, issued May 18, 1995. Fourth monograph in a series entitled "The Archaeology of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale."] (Distributed by the University of Georgia Press, Athens. Pp. 222. $23.95 paperback.)

By order of don Manuel de Montiano, governor of Florida, at the command of King Philip V the governmental notary Francisco de Castilla assembled out of the governmental and Franciscan archives of the city of St. Augustine in 1739 a group of documents designed to substantiate Spain's prior claim to the territory between the colonies of South Carolina and Florida, the area in which General James Oglethorpe had established the British colony of Georgia six years before. When the War of Jenkins' Ear broke out some months later, this packet was filed away, forgotten until the 1920's, when its contents were copied for both the John B. Stetson and the Jeannette Thurber Connor collections. John E. Worth, an anthropologist who came upon the Montiano packet in the Archivo General de Indias, has now translated these documents into English, with the support of the American Museum of Natural History, and published them in this amply annotated, comprehensively indexed, and attractive publication. Ranging in date from 1628 to 1739, the documents include representative examples of governmental and religious reports, both routine and extraordinary.

The volume begins with a piece of solid scholarship. Worth's "Overview: The Retreat of Guale and Mocama, 1655-1685," is a forty-six-page essay supported by numerous tables, a fine set of maps, and two appendices, one summarizing the locational data for fifteen Guale and Mocama mission sites in existence between 1655 and 1685 and the other compiling the eighteen known Guale and Mocama mission lists produced between 1655 and 1701. …

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