First Mission Period 1566 - 1587

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This mission bears both the Spanish, San Antonio and name given to the village of Chief Carlos, head of the Calusa of the southwest Florida coast between Charlotte Harbor and the Keys, when Menéndez de Avilés placed soldiers there under Francisco de Reinoso. Fr. Juan Rogel, S.J., began mission work there in March of 1567. Menéndez built houses for the Spaniards and a chapel for the priest. Rogel remained at that post for a year without any success. Although the effort was continued for a time by Brother Francisco Villareal, the latter was no more successful as the soldiers mistrust of the Calusa leaders led them to execute two successive head chiefs. The second execution moved the natives to burn their village and flee. Soldiers remained there only a short time longer as the loss of the food the natives had supplied led to the soldiers' withdrawal by June of 1569. Only in 1697 would Franciscans dispatched directly from Cuba attempt to renew the missionization of the Calusa.

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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 21, 2002