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Second Mission Period 1587 - 1616

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26. SANTO DOMINGO DE ASAO

Santo Domingo, the last of the Florida missions to appear on Geiger's 1587 list, is the most suspect of all of not having been established at that time. A young shipwrecked Spaniard, who visited Asao in the spring of 1595, noted that the mission there had not then been founded and that there were then no native villages on St. Simons Island. In 1595 and for at least a decade thereafter both Asao and its twin settle ment, Talaxe, were on the mainland on the banks of the Altamaha, al though at some time this mission moved to St. Simons Island, in a faulty account, Lanning situated the Asao mission where Fray Francisco de Velascola was killed in 1597 on St. Simons Island. Asao was clearly on the mainland, at or close to the mouth of the river, at the time of Governor Ibarra's visitation. It already had a church again at that time, Governor Canzo having burned both Asao and Talaxe in 1597.u1 At some point the settlements of Asao and Talaxe seem to have been fused as the mission was later referred to alternately as Santo Domingo de Asao and as Santo Domingo de Talaxe or Talaje. In another faulty account Lanning seems to have anticipated that event erroneously. He placed the rebuilt mission of 1604 at Talaxe, which he located on the south bank of the Altamaha about fifteen miles north of Brunswick. The 1604 visitation record states unequivocally that the new church was in Asao, which was then ruled by Don Domingo, mico of Asao. Among those in attendance was the distinct cacique of Talaxe. Only two years later, however, Don Domingo of Asao had disappeared from the scene. Bishop Altamirano gave the mission's name as Talaje, describing it as on the mainland on the bank of a river ten leagues from San Pedro and headed by a Don Diego. The bishop confirmed 268 people there in two ceremonies. On the 1655 list it was referred to as Santo Domingo de Talaje and placed at forty leagues from St. Augustine, twenty leagues farther away than San Pedro in contrast to the bishop's ten. An early eighteenth-century Spanish source identified Fort King George as having been built on the site of Talaxe. At some undetermined time this mission migrated to St. Simons Island where it was by 1675.

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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 24, 2002