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First Mission Period 1566 - 1587

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9. GUALE

Named for the chief whose village Menéndez de Avilés visited in April of 1566, the mission was probably on the island known later as St. Catherines, although some authorities place Chief Guale's village farther north in the l560s. Menéndez left five or six of his soldiers there to serve as catechists and in a second visit later that year left a captain and thirty men. During the initial visit Menéndez and his fifty soldiers were lodged in a house built by fifteen Frenchmen from Jean Ribault's force who had spent five months at Chief Guale's village before sailing for Newfoundland. Before leaving for Spain in 1567 Menéndez ordered the building of a blockhouse in Guale to be garrisoned with fifty soldiers. Brother Antonio Vaez may have begun work in Chief Guale's village late in 1568 and Father Antonio Sedeño with three young lay catechists arrived during Lent of 1569. Sedeno labored there for fourteen months without success until all the Jesuits in Guale and Orista were pulled back to Santa Elena in the summer of 1570. Brother Vaez is alleged to have composed a dictionary for Guale before his death of a tertian fever in November of 1569. The site of the later mission of Santa Catalina de Guale, which may be identical with the site of Chief Guale's village in the 1 560s is currently being explored archaeologically under the direction of David Hurst Thomas.

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REFERENCES Dr. John H. Hann
"Summary Guide to Spanish Florida Missions and Vistas with Churches in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries"


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© Copyright. John P. Walsh. April 21, 2002