Pre-Mission Era Settlements 1526 - 1565

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A short-lived settlement established in 1526 by Lucas Vasquez de Ayillón with 500 men and women. Its location, on a river named Gualdape, has not been identified. Many authorities believe San Miguel was in Guale territory, probably in the vicinity of the later Santa Elena, hut some suggest a point as far south as the Altamaha or a more northerly location such as the Santee or the Pee Dee. Francisco Fernández de Ecija's mention of a village of Guandape being close to Jamestown raises the possibility that Avllón's settlement was even farther north as does the very cold weather experienced by the 150 survivors as they sailed toward the Caribbean. Oviedo's description of a long rectangular structure built by natives in the vicinity of Gualdape also indicates a more northerly location for Gualdape. Referring to the structure as a 'principal house," Oviedo did not provide any more explicit indication of its function, that is, whether it was a large communal dwelling or a council house. If it were a council house, it would be solid evidence that Gualdape lay beyond the territory of Muskhogean peoples such as the Guale and Cusabo, who are known to have built only round council houses.

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"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 22, 2002