Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe

By Jerald T. Milanich | Go to book overview

7

A Tide Unchecked

The stories told by Cabeza de Vaca and the other survivors of the ill-fated Narváez expedition led to dreams of souls to be saved and wealth to be taken. Their embellished tales spread from Mexico across the ocean. In August 1537, Cabeza de Vaca himself arrived in Portugal and then went on to Spain, where he continued to tell stories of La Florida and his extraordinary journey. In 1538, one of the chroniclers of the de Soto expedition noted that Cabeza de Vaca, while at the Spanish court in Seville, led people "to understand that it [La Florida] was the richest country in the world."1De Soto, in Seville, tried to enlist Cabeza de Vaca in his planned expedition to La Florida, but failed.


The Army of Hernando de Soto

Cabeza de Vaca's stories must have been colorful. Among the people signing on or investing in de Soto's La Florida expedition were some of his relatives. A few people even sold property to finance their participation.2

De Soto, like Pánfilo de Narváez, was a veteran of Spain's conquests in the Americas. He was a successful conquistador who had participated in campaigns in Central America, gaining fame and wealth from the slave trade and mercenary activities. He also had served the Pizarro

-127-

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Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • ILLUSTRATIONS ix
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Searching for the Past 1
  • 2 - An Old World and Its People 15
  • PART I - Indigenous People 33
  • 4 - Native People in Central Florida 63
  • 5 - Native People in Northern Florida 79
  • PART II - The Invasion 99
  • 7 - A Tide Unchecked 127
  • 8 - Colonization and First Settlement 143
  • PART III - The Aftermath 165
  • 10 - New Lives for Old: Life in the Mission Provinces 185
  • 11 - The End of Time 213
  • Epilogue 233
  • Notes 237
  • References 255
  • Index 279
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