The Spanish in South Florida

The Spanish in South Florida


  • The Spanish in South Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 9]
to St. Augustine. In the same year, 1568, Father Sedano and a
government official from Cuba landed at Tegesta to study the
possibilities of establishing there a port of call for Spanish ships. They
brought with them another brother of Tegesta who had been taken to
Spain by Menendez. His safe return seems to have restored the
friendship of the Indians but nothing came of the plans for a port. Later,
Brother Pedro Ruiz was sent to Tegesta and this was the last Spanish
effort on the lower east coast for more than a century. (2)

Although the missions and forts were abandoned, it appears that
some Spaniards continued to live among the Indians, either from choice
or because they were prisoners. At any rate the Indians had not lost their
knowledge of the Spanish language in 1696 when Jonathan Dickenson
was shipwrecked at Jupiter Inlet.*

Even in 1743, when Fathers Alana and Monaca came to this coast to
establish a mission, these priests found a Spaniard among the Miamis who
seemed to have replaced the Tegestas on Biscayne Bay. The mission, San
Ignacio, was built somewhere in the vicinity of Coconut Grove, now part of the
city of Miami. Like others in south Florida, it was abandoned in a few months.

This period marked the end of Spanish dominion on the mainland
of southern Florida. English and French pirates had almost destroyed
Spain's great fleets. They even raided and despoiled many Spanish
towns and cities, while wholesale smuggling ruined
* "God's Protecting Providence" by Jonathan Dickenson, 1699