Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe

By Jerald T. Milanich | Go to book overview

11

The End of Time

Although direct documentary evidence is lacking, it is certain that disease epidemics had an impact on the Florida native Indians prior to the late 1590s, when missions were established. Bioanthropological evidence from Tatham Mound, a site in eastern Citrus County near the route of Hernando de Soto, supports the contention that epidemics began almost as soon as the first Spaniard stepped ashore.1 The mound contained good evidence for an outbreak that killed as many as seventy people, probably Ocale Indians, who were buried in the mound together.

More certain is the fact that the native people who lived at the Spanish missions in Florida suffered the ravages of diseases brought from Europe. Epidemics mentioned in Spanish documents tell of the devastating effects of smallpox, measles, and other afflictions.

In the past, scholars have thought that as the indigenous population of the Timucuan missions declined in the second half of the seventeenth century, native people from elsewhere were moved to those missions to repopulate them. When they came, these outsiders brought their own styles of pottery and other artifacts, accounting for the presence of the nonlocal types of native ceramics found at late seventeenth-centurymission sites. One of the major groups involved in this repopulation was thought to be the Apalachee. This model helped to explain the archaeological evidence found at Timucuan

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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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