Native People in Northern Florida
A large portion of northern Florida, that region north of a line across Florida from Cape Canaveral to Lake George and then west to the Withlacoochee River, was the focus of extensive Spanish missionary efforts in the seventeenth century. In the sixteenth century both Spanish and French explorations had penetrated portions of the region and encountered the Timucua and Apalachee Indians. In the seventeenth century this was the region of the Spanish mission provinces in Florida. These colonial efforts produced a voluminous documentary record about the native groups of the area. Equally large is the information gleaned from decades of archaeological investigations.
Less well known are the groups, on the fringes of this region, those of the western panhandle and Marion and summer counties. Almost totally unknown is the northern peninsular Gulf coast, modern Levy, Dixie, and Taylor counties. With the exception of the Suwannee River, that region saw few Spaniards in the centuries following the de Soto entrada. Perhaps the area was too far from Spanish initiatives to warrant attention. Or, perhaps the impact of the Narváez and de Soto expeditions had been so severe it was known there was little left to colonize. Whether or not Timucua speakers lived in that coastal area is unknown.