First Mission Period 1566 - 1587

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The mission was founded at an Indian settlement at the mouth of the Miami River, became the site of a mission and fort built just to the south of the village in March of 1567 when Pedro Menéndez Marquez left thirty soldiers and a few carpenters there along with the Jesuit lay brother, Francisco Villareal. Twenty-eight houses and presumably a chapel as well were built within a stockade. Despite what seemed an auspicious start, a year later hostilities with the natives forced the withdrawal of Brother Villareal and the eighteen surviving soldiers. A Christianized Tequestan leader returning from Spain smoothed over the rift later in 1568, permitting a Spanish return until 1570 when the Spanish presence ended except for occasional visits by fishermen from Cuba. Only in 1743 would an attempt be made to resume the mission effort there when two Jesuits were dispatched from Cuba. In 1978 parts of the site about to be destroyed by construction were explored archaeologically under the direction of John W. Griffin.

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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