The Spanish in South Florida

The Spanish in South Florida


  • The Spanish in South Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 8]
Four garrisoned forts were built in South Florida. On the west
coast, soldiers were stationed at Tampa and Charlotte Bays and, on the
eastern side, on the Miami River and the St. Lucie River. In order to
pacify the natives, Menendez planned to convert them to the Christian
faith. He detailed some of the soldiers to assist in this work. In addition
he placed a Jesuit missionary, Father Rogel, at San Antonio on Charlotte
Bay and Brother Villareal, at Tegesta on Biscayne Bay. (11)

Had gold been found in Florida territory, these settlements might
have endured. Or, had Menendez lived he might have taken steps to
salvage some of the $1,800,000 he had personally invested in the
venture. (11) His king called him to Spain to command the projected
Armada which was to proceed against England but Menendez died
before preparations for the Armada were complete. (11)

From the beginning of his absence, the Spanish outposts in South
Florida began to lose hope and power. Indians massacred the garrison at
Tampa Bay. Further Indian hostility and hunger forced the Spaniards at
Charlotte Bay to flee to St. Augustine. (11) Other posts were quickly
abandoned but several efforts were made to maintain a foothold among
the Tegestas.

Brother Villareal returned to Biscayne Bay and enjoyed peaceful
relations with the Indians until the soldiers accidently killed a brother of
the chief. The enraged Indians burned the settlement and the Spaniards
who survived the attack managed to escape again