Considering the important part played by interpreters in facilitating contact, communication, cultural exchange, and conflict resolution in the early colonial period, there have been surprisingly few individual or collective historical biographies of these influential individuals.Although a few anthropologists and historians recently have taken up the cause of these "conduits" of the colonial frontiers, many of their monographs tend to depict these individuals either as "victims" – "weathercocks buffeted by the shifting political winds in one or both cultures," or as "heroes" – "master mediators" who had been "culturally-enlarged" into "150% men."While there is some truth to both of these views, neither characterization does justice to the colorful lives, complex roles, and checkered careers of the diverse peoples that ethnohistorians have begun to lump together under the generic label of"cultural brokers."To date, only one historian, Eugene Lyon, has directly addressed (if briefly) this important subject in the context of the Spanish borderlands frontier as this paper will endeavor to do in a more comprehensive manner.
In examining the culturally ambiguous characters that served as interpreters in La Florida's early contact period, it is not possible to construct a single composite portrait that would sufficiently represent the diversity of their motives, choices, and life experiences.On the other hand, at least six distinct types of interpreters may be identified: abducted Amerindians, captured and redeemed Castilian castaways, foreign prisoners, youthful catechists and missionaries, acculturated Indian caciques and cacicas, and Spanish garrison soldiers.As often as not, these individuals did not choose the career of cultural broker, but were kidnapped, enslaved, or compelled to assume the role of interpreter or intermediary by Spanish conquistadores and Indian caciques.Since the interpreter figured prominently in the negotiation of truces and peace-settlements, conquistadores and caciques had to be prepared either to win the go-betweens' loyalty with generous gifts and kindnesses, or to coerce their cooperation with threats of punishment.Although the linguistic skills of these "middlemen" may have made them more sensitive to the cultural values of both parties, it is important to remember that the extraordinary individuals acting as mediators were ordinary men and women in pursuit of their own self-interest.Collectively, however, their individual actions and "personal dramas influenced, changed, and sometimes even dictated the course of colonial development."
From the outset of expansion from the islands to the mainland, the Spaniards recognized the importance of training Indians to act as intermediaries and spokes persons.One of the earliest acculturative strategies they employed in attempting the conquest and colonization of La Florida involved abducting a few "savages" from the coast, transporting them to Spain or a nearby colonial capital, and indoctrinating them in the Castilian language, culture, and Catholic faith.The Spanish monarchs and their colonial councils confidently assumed that Amerindians transported to Europe would be so impressed by the material culture, powerful navies, architecture, and mode of living they witnessed, that these Indians would become zealous advocates as well as eager interpreters for the Spanish colonists upon their return to their homelands.
Colonial administrators recognized the importance of winning the favor of these linguistic and cultural mediators and expended much time, money, and flattery to ensure that their "savage" guests came away with a favorable impression.Trans-Atlantic transportees were generally provided with fine clothes, food, and housing for the duration of their visit, traveled in the company of religious chaperones responsible for schooling them in religious and cultural etiquette; and were regally entertained. Occasionally visits were arranged to populous cities, court palaces, imposing gothic cathedrals, and other sights intended to inspire awe for the majesty, power, and piety of their new political and religious overlords.Carefully packaged tours often included an audience with the royal sovereigns and frequently culminated with the ceremonial baptism of the captive catechumen under the sponsorship of the king or an important noble, colonial promoter, or ecclesiastic.While a trip abroad occasionally achieved the desired effect of winning cultural converts, more often Spanish expectations were frustrated by Amerindians who proved all too susceptible to the cultural equivalent of "peer pressure" on being reunited with their kin.Such Indians tended to shed European clothes and customs as soon as they safely could, and often spearheaded native resistance to their former sponsors and patrons.
The first recorded contact between the Castilians and Florida natives took place when the Spanish conquistador, Juan Ponce de León, sailed around the southern-most part of the peninsula in 1513.To satisfy both their inquisitive and acquisitive instincts, the conquistadores required Indian guides, informers, and interpreters, and so Ponce de León's early reconnaissance was very much shaped by hostage dynamics.According to the chronicler, Antonio de Herrera, Ponce de León and his crew stopped to take on fresh water, and when hindered by some Indians armed with bow and arrow, he seized "one of them for a pilot, so that he might learn the language." This captive and other Indians seized during several other hostile encounters proved to be important (if reluctant) informers, since the captain apparently picked up some tantalizing information on this trip concerning a cacique of the Calusa Indians of Southwest Florida reputed to be rich in gold.
Of course, since a strong (or stealthy) offense was often the best defense, Indian chiefs also took the initiative in securing the services of interpreters.While Ponce de León was awaiting a favorable wind to continue his search for the cacique of the Calusa, the wily chief sent out an interpreter to determine the intentions of the strangers in the great canoe that had trespassed into his territorial waters.This Indian interpreter, who had no difficulty understanding the Spaniards, "was believed must be from Hispaniola, or from another island inhabited by Castilians."As a refugee from one of the islands under Spanish domination, the interpreter undoubtedly had experience and knowledge that made him a valued counselor to the cacique of his adopted homeland.On board the foreign vessel, the Castilian-speaking Indian did his best to convince Ponce de León's crew to remain at anchor, promising that his chief would willingly trade with them from his store of salvaged gold.The interpreter's insincerity soon became apparent, however, when a large flotilla of war canoes intent on intercepting and overwhelming the boat left the shore just after the Indian interpreter paddled away to safety.This would not be the last time that an Indian interpreter would play a decisive role in determining the success or failure of a colonial venture.
When Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón sailed to Spain in 1523 to secure a patent to colonize the southeast coast of North America, he took with him an Indian servant from a group of 140 natives illegally seized from the land called "Chicora" (present-day South Carolina).This Indian had learned to speak Spanish, had been converted to the Catholic faith, and had been christened Francisco Chicora by Ayllón, who intended to use him as a guide, interpreter, and informer.While traveling with his master, Chicora met and conversed with Spanish historians, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés and Peter Martyr, entertaining them with imaginative descriptions of his homeland.As a captive intent on securing his freedom, Francisco learned to parrot back whatever answers he believed his gullible interrogators wanted most to hear.To that end, he captivated them with tall tales, tribal myths, and spun yarns of gold-rich peoples ripe for plunder – all designed to secure a speedy passage home.
Not wanting his colonial venture to be hindered by the hostility engendered by kidnapping and hostage-taking, Ayllón ordered the pilot Pedro de Quexós to return the illegally enslaved Indians – Chicora excepted – to their native lands.De Quexós was also instructed to reconnoiter the coast for some two hundred and fifty leagues, to plant stone crosses to mark possession of the land Allyón intended to settle, and to persuade one or two Indians from each linguistically distinct coastal province to ship back with the pilot for training as interpreters.Francisco Chicora and the other Indian translators returned to Chicora with the 500 colonists in Ayllón's party, but deserted almost as soon as they set foot on shore.The defection of the Indian interpreters and the death of the adelantado soon thereafter resulted in the dissolution of the venture.
As Hernando de Soto prepared for the conquest of La Florida in 1539, he also recognized the importance of securing Indian interpreters, by fair means or foul, to assure the success of his venture.While outfitting his expedition in Cuba, the governor dispatched Juan de Añasco with a caravel and two brigantines with orders to reconnoiter the coast and to "seize" several Indians to serve as "guides and interpreters."The captivity experience was not, however, conducive to congenial service, and while the Spanish expeditionary force was encamped in the Indian town of Ucita in North Florida, the two Indian interpreters captured along the coast "escaped one night through the carelessness of two men who were guarding them."Although de Soto immediately ordered several forays with the intent of capturing other Indians to serve in this capacity, they did not succeed.Fortunately for de Soto, his men later rescued the Castilian castaway, Juan Ortiz who served him admirably until his death.While de Soto continued to seize Indian hostages at virtually every village his army visited, these unfortunate men and women were almost invariably chained and pressed into service as porters and prostitutes.Rarely was an Indian singled out for the special treatment reserved for those with valuable linguistic skills.It was only after the death of Juan Ortiz, for example, that de Soto was forced to rely on an Indian "youth who had been seized in Cutifachiqui, and who now knew something of the language of the Christians."This Indian youth proved to be less-than-adequate in this important role, so that the Spaniards described Ortiz's death to be so "great a misfortune" with regard to "exploring or trying to leave the land, that to learn from the Indians what he [Ortiz] stated in four words, with the youth the whole day was needed; and most of the time he understood just the opposite of what was asked...."
Even those who sailed to La Florida with the aim of peaceable conversion found their "soul saving" missions frequently betrayed by the very same Indian interpreters upon whom they set their highest hopes.The miraculous return of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca to New Spain at the head of an entourage of Indian disciples inspired members of the Dominican and Franciscan orders with a fervor for attempting the peaceful spiritual conquest of the Indians of La Florida and the Southwest.Eschewing a military escort, Fray Luis Cáncer de Barbastro, Fray Diego de Peñalosa, and a lay brother named Fuentes sailed from New Spain to the Gulf coast of Florida, stopping off in Cuba just long enough to pick up an interpreter – an Indian woman who had been taken from that region, baptized, and christened Magdalena.Although the missionaries accounted her conversion to Catholicism to be a sign of her good faith, it is unlikely that Magdalena appreciated captivity and servitude in Cuba.Once having secured the missionaries a friendly first reception, soon thereafter Magdalena, Fray Peñalosa, Brother Fuentes, and a sailor mysteriously disappeared into the bush.The situation grew more ominous when Magdalena alone returned to the anchorage, having cast off the cotton trappings of her Christian life.Although she claimed that all was well with the shore party, her attempt to lure the remaining missionaries ashore was foiled by the unexpected shipboard arrival of a Castilian castaway, Juan Muñoz.Having been captured by the Indians more than a decade earlier during the de Soto entrada, Muñoz ran away from his Indian master and escaped by canoe to the ship, informing those onboard that the shore party had been slain and scalped.Ignoring Muñoz's cautionary counsel and the pleas of his brethren, Cáncer accepted Magdalena on her word, and waded through the shallows only to find martyrdom awaiting him in the form of a wooden war club.Although the suspect loyalty of a captive Indian interpreter had directly contributed to the demise of another Spanish venture in La Florida, it would take some time for the Spaniards to realize that a ceremonial baptism often was insufficient proof of transculturation.
When Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano made plans to colonize La Florida some decades later, even before sailing from New Spain he petitioned the Mexican viceroy, Don Luis de Velasco, for permission to take one or two female Indian servants along as interpreters.Permission was granted although it is not known conclusively if either Indian woman actually sailed with de Luna or even if either woman was at all familiar with the native languages of La Florida.Whether or not these Indian women accompanied the expedition, less than three months later, Fray Domingo de la Anunciación reported to Velasco that the "interpreters whom we had brought" had managed to effect a cordial reception among the Coosa Indians of the Gulf coast.
Of course, de Luna had not abandoned the earlier strategy of capturing local Indians to serve as linguists.On returning from an expedition into the interior, de Luna's captains "brought [back] an Indian woman whose name was Lacsohe as an interpreter."Not only did de Luna authorize such abductions, but when the Dominican vicar, Fray Pedro de Feria, intervened to force the release of several other Indian men and women captured by one of his captains, de Luna wrote a letter of complaint to the Mexican viceroy.Viceroy Velasco not only approved de Luna's policy, but agreed that "Inasmuch as it was intended to do them no harm by bringing them, but good, and for the purpose of making them understand this and to acquire the language of the country, it was a mistake to set them free."While Velasco did not recommend taking action against the priest, he did warn de Luna to "take care that such a thing does not happen again."
Even as de Luna's Gulf coast venture was beginning to fall apart, a ship was dispatched to the Atlantic coast of La Florida in 1560 in anticipation of colonization.Somewhere in the vicinity of the Chesapeake Bay region, this vessel picked up two Indians, one of them the young son of a "petty chief."This Indian youth, Paquiquineo, and his companion were taken to Spain, where the young heir was dressed up at royal expense, and taken to the Spanish court where the king and his courtiers lavished attention on him.Following his audience with the king, the Indian youth traveled back to the New World in the company of the Dominicans.While in the custody of these religious in New Spain, the Indian took sick and fearing death, was baptized "at the instance of the Viceroy Don Luis de Velasco," who acted as his "godfather and gave him his name."
The young Algonquin (now most likely in his mid-to-late twenties) had lived a closely-guarded and monastic existence for close to ten years, reportedly confessing and taking communion regularly as a good Catholic, and appeared to be sincere in wishing to convert his kin to the new faith.When the Dominicans failed to plant a colony in his Chesapeake homeland, Don Luis ingratiated himself with members of the Society of Jesus, the order that Adelantado Menéndez was now recruiting for his own colonial venture in La Florida.Don Luis managed to convince his Jesuit chaperones to return with him to his native land, bragging of the fertility and natural wealth of the soil, and promising to act as their "interpreter" and to afford them the help which "Timothy gave to St. Paul."Upon landing in the Chesapeake with the unprotected missionaries, Velasco continued to demonstrate good faith, declining to assume the role of chief and "asserting that he had not returned to his fatherland out of a desire of earthly things but to teach them the way to heaven which lay in instruction in the religion of Christ Our Lord."Although the zealous Indian interpreter and catechist expected his kinsmen to be impressed by his new set of clothes, his powerful new friends, and his messianic message, his long-estranged Indian relatives responded with "little pleasure."Eager to win back their respect, seduced by the opportunities for sexual indulgence, and "chafing under Christian discipline," Don Luis soon apostatized and abandoned his Jesuit brethren.Stung by the rebukes of the missionaries some months later, the apostate reluctantly returned at the head of a war party to slaughter the persistent proselytizers.Almost single-handedly, the Indian interpreter, Don Luis Velasco, brought a quick and violent end to Spanish colonial ambitions in the Chesapeake region.
When Pedro Menéndez de Avilés received the asiento to colonize La Florida to forestall a French Huguenot settlement in 1565, he was confident that he would be able to persuade the friendly chiefs of the land to allow him to transport their sons abroad to be educated as civilized Christians.Menéndez believed that it was essential not only to train a cadre of Indian interpreters, but also to educate and Hispanicize the heirs of La Florida's natural leaders.He reasoned that a trip to Havana or Spain would inspire them with awe for Spain's naval power and might.In July 1567, Menéndez arrived at the court at Valladolid with six Florida Indians, still carrying their bows and arrows.The Adelantado had not, however, brought the Indians along to amuse the king with demonstrations of their archery skills, but to entice the Jesuits to his marquisate in La Florida.As he explained to an audience of Jesuits at the College of Seville, he hoped that the Indians he brought from the region would be the first of a hundred such "sons of the chiefs" who could be instructed in isolation in a Jesuit school for the purpose of "teach[ing] them to speak Spanish and to be good Christians, thus benefitting their parents" as well as providing "hostages so that the Christians entering the country would not be harmed."
A year later, Jesuit tutors proudly announced that one of the Tequesta Indians left in their care and christened Don Diego, "had become a Christian and from all appearances intends to persevere in Christianity and to convert all his subjects."This same Indian and his cousin returned to their village in Biscayne Bay to act as interpreters for the Jesuit Vice Provincial, Father Bautista.When their relatives first caught sight of the two, they rejoiced and treated them as if raised from the dead.After helping to negotiate a truce between the Spaniards and the Tequestas, Don Diego pledged that he would "try to have a church built there for the Father who was coming, and they would pacify them all and strive to convert them."While the convert attempted to make good on his promise, the mission to the Tequesta proved to be short-lived owing to the tensions between the haughty Spanish soldiers of the presidio and the intractable Tequesta tribesmen.
There was an element of both absolute naiveté and profound cynicism in the Spanish policy of abducting Indians to be trained as interpreters.One cannot but think it the height of cultural arrogance for the Castilians to assume that captive Indians would be so impressed by Europe's material culture and technology as to forget the injustice of capture and captivity.Moreover, to believe that a new set of clothes, a ceremonial baptism, and a new Christian name and godparent would cause an individual to abandon all feeling for his own customs, family ties, and homeland defies common sense.Most of the Indians taken abroad must have clearly sensed their position as "precious pledges" for the good behavior of kin at home and must have dreamed of little else than escape.Given the ill-will often generated by hostage dynamics, it is little wonder that these captivity experiences most often failed to engender faithful cultural converts, and why Spaniards were encouraged to look elsewhere for trustworthy interpreters.
It should not be forgotten that in the earliest period of contact, the necessity of establishing communication fostered a bilateral campaign of abduction and captivity, in which the Indians also captured, enslaved, and attempted to acculturate European castaways and invaders with varying degrees of success.Where the Castilians could offer the Indian interpreter fancy clothes and material goods as means of inducement, the Amerindians could only offer their reluctant "guests" friendship, familial affection, and the promise of freedom.In terms of negative reinforcement, there was the ever-present threat of ritual torture and sacrifice to see to it that the captives were obedient, even as it also provided a strong incentive for them to pray and work for deliverance.Rescue and redemption were very real possibilities given that virtually every Spanish conquistador and colonizer made immediate inquiries and offered handsome ransoms hoping to secure the invaluable services of such individuals in whom they could trust implicitly.Given the numerous wrecks and unsuccessful entradas along the Florida coast, Castilian castaways and captives with the prerequisite language skills were not in short supply in the early contact period.
When Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and three other survivors of the disastrous Pánphilo de Narváez entrada of 1528 were stranded and left to the mercy of the Indians of the Gulf coast, they discovered that, unlike their countrymen, who generally distrusted all non-peninsulares, the native peoples through whose territory they traversed considered outsiders to be ideal interpreters and cultural intermediaries since they could truly act as nonpartisan negotiators and disinterested brokers.The messianic Núñez Cabeza de Vaca had towards the end of his long and arduous trek across the American southwest become so tanned and altered in both appearance and attitude that upon his arrival in Spanish-held territory, his entourage of Indian disciples refused to believe that he was truly a Spaniard.
When news circulated of Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's triumphal cross-country pilgrimage, it inspired other Castilians with visions of gold to be won and souls to be saved.Even as Nuñez was at court reporting on the disastrous outcome of the Pánphilo de Narváez entrada and secretly vying for permission to return to La Florida at the head of another expedition, Hernando de Soto was securing permission and making preparations for his own conquest of the region.Recognizing the importance of communicating with the Indians of the land he hoped to colonize, de Soto tried to convince Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca to serve as interpreter and guide.Towards that end, de Soto offered him "an advantageous proposal; but after they had come to an agreement, they fell out because de Soto would not give him the money which he asked of him to buy a ship."Many historians have completely ignored or overlooked the significance of this failed negotiation between de Soto and Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca.This was de Soto's first chance to secure a knowledgeable and trustworthy interpreter and guide before sailing for the province.The terms set by Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca were extremely high, and their initial acceptance by de Soto reflects the importance both parties attributed to the position of the interpreter in facilitating the conquest of a newly opened region.That the man in question was a Castilian and had the repute of an hidalgo undoubtedly accounted for the lofty demands of his asking price.
Soon after landing in on the Gulf coast of Florida, an advance guard of de Soto's cavalry unit found Juan Ortiz, a Seville native of noble family who also had been stranded among the Indians in the wake of the disastrous Narváez campaign.Ortiz's second Indian master, the Indian chief Mocoço, recognized Ortiz's usefulness as an informer, and in return for Ortiz's loyal service, the chief promised to allow the Spaniard to rejoin his countrymen should they ever reappear along the coast.In setting such just and reasonable terms of servitude, ço was able to secure Ortiz's loyalty, to curry favor with the Spanish invaders, and to avoid the unpleasant prospects of invasion, battle, and occupation.Ironically, after living among the Indians for twelve years, Ortiz had become tanned, tattooed, and so Indian-like in appearance, that he was very nearly slain by the Spaniards before stammering out some barely recognizable Castilian phrases.
Clothing and outward appearance were extremely important determinants of social status and cultural allegiance in the sixteenth century.To demonstrate how much he valued Ortiz's services and value to the expedition, de Soto "immediately gave the man a suit of black velvet, but that since he had gone naked for so long a time, he could not bear to wear it and in consequence wore only a shirt, some linen pants, a cap and some shoes for twenty days while gradually accustoming himself to being dressed."Invested with "some good arms and a beautiful horse," Ortiz served as de Soto's chief interpreter throughout the long and bloody trek through La Florida, passing from one linguistic frontier to the next with amazingly little difficulty.Although de Soto continued to seize Indian guides, porters, and interpreters, and to force them along in chains, the governor relied most heavily on Ortiz since he could be trusted not merely to translate truthfully, but to evaluate the motives and intentions of the Indians.On at least one occasion, his ability to eavesdrop and report on Indian conversations provided the Spaniards with advanced warning of ambush and contributed significantly to their initial diplomatic and military success.According to the gentleman of Elvas, Ortiz's death in the Indian province of Autiamque (near the banks of the Mississippi) was "felt deeply" by the governor, since "without an interpreter, not knowing where he was going, he feared lest he enter a region where he might get lost."In fact, the expedition's luck went from bad to worse precisely on account of the lack of a reliable interpreter.
When Pedro Menéndez de Avilés anchored off the coast of occupied by the Calusa Indians of South Florida in 1566, he too made immediate inquiries about Europeans held captive by the Indians, hoping to find among them his own son, Juan, who had been shipwrecked in a hurricane the year before.Owing to the dangerous shallows and reefs of Southwest Florida, numerous Castilians sailing back to Spain had been lost in that region, and one unidentified captive, "naked and painted like an Indian," paddled out in a canoe to greet Menéndez' expedition and to beg the adelantado to rescue him and the other men and women held captive by Cacique Carlos.Having secured the freedom of seven or eight surviving Christian captives, Menéndez "ordered some shirts and chemises to be given at once," and directed his tailors to make proper clothes for them all, and bestowed many presents on the European women "rescued" from the "savages."One of the means by which the Indians attempted to acculturate and win the allegiance of Castilian captives was to adopt them and encourage them to take a native spouse.Apparently, this strategy proved to be somewhat successful, since in spite of Menéndez generosity and fine treatment, when the opportunity for deliverance arose, all of the former captives expressed mixed feelings about returning with the Adelantado, and two of the women had actually "gone back to the Indians, from the longing they had for the children that they were leaving behind."
Another of the captives, however, had no compunctions about leaving the Indians, and immediately offered himself as an interpreter for the Adelantado.Hernando d'Escalante Fontaneda had been shipwrecked and stranded among the Calusa Indians at the age of thirteen and had been held captive by those Indians until his rescue at the age thirty.During his captivity, he learned to "speak four languages" and served his Indian captors as interpreter.In that capacity, he claimed to have preserved the lives of numerous Christians lost in those parts by helping "them to understand those brutes" who otherwise killed as "rebellious" those shipwreck victims who, out of ignorance of the language, did not immediately comply with their commands.Following his rescue by Menéndez, he advocated a strategy of taking these "faithless" Indians "in hand gently, inviting them to peace; then putting them under deck and selling them as slaves until their number become diminished."
Fontaneda was not the only rescued castaway Menéndez employed as an interpreter.Other Calusa captives with language skills included Juan Rodriguez (a native of Nicaragua), and an unidentified "free negro," and mulatto.But it was the services of another former Indian captive, Pedro Vizcaíno, that Menéndez relied most heavily on in negotiating peace between himself and the Indians of South Florida.This young Basque had been shipwrecked in 1546 on Cape Canaveral, adopted by the Aís Indians and married to a daughter of the cacique.In 1565, hehad been "rescued" by the French captain Jean Ribault and taken to France following the Spanish capture of Fort Caroline. Abducted and smuggled out of France by the Spanish ambassador, Vizcaíno was charged by the Spanish monarch, Philip II with the mission of returning to Florida to act as Menéndez's interpreter to the Indians.Although rarely mentioned by name, this interpreter appears on most every page of the chronicles and memoirs written by Menéndez' captains and biographers, acting as the all-important conduit of otherwise incomprehensible cross-cultural conversations and negotiations.
Because of his previous contact and relations with the Aís, Vizcaíno was detailed to the task of reestablishing peaceful relations following an Indian uprising that resulted in the loss of Fort Santa Lucia in Aís territory.It is possible that the divided loyalties and "conflicting demands of too many conflict-ridden intercultural borderlands" took too great a toll on him, reducing his ability to act.The Basque's competence was called into question by Fontaneda who claimed that had it not been for his own knowledgeable, "true and trustworthy" actions as unofficial interpreter in 1566, Menéndez and his company would have been "betrayed" to and slain by the Calusa Indians but for his discovery of the "treason" of the Adelantado's Viscayan interpreter.Fontaneda's charge of treason may not have been mere professional jealousy since Vizcaíno sailed back to Spain soon after the Adelantado threatened to hang him for spreading falsehoods.
Fontaneda himself did not remain long in La Florida.Disenchanted at not having "received the consideration" he believed his linguistic abilities merited, he complained about the "unjust treatment to the interpreters" in being forced work "without pay."Fontaneda and several others abandoned the country and returned to Spain rather than "serve without any recompense."According to his own valuation of his services, Fontaneda claimed that had it not been for his own intervention, "Pedro Melendez [sic] would not then have died in Santander [in 1572], but in Florida, in the province of Carlos."He believed, moreover, that had his advice been followed and had he (and not a lesser man) been rewarded according to his abilities, the "Indians of Aís, Guacata, Jeaga, and their vassals, would already have been subjugated, and even many of them made Christians."Even granting that Fontaneda exaggerated his own imagined ability to conquer the land, one cannot help but recognize the important role he and other interpreters played in negotiating peace and facilitating Menéndez's diplomatic conquest of the region.Lacking their assistance, Menéndez doubtless would have had to rely more heavily on the sword than on flattering words.
The Adelantado's nephew and successor in Florida, Pedro Menéndez Marqués, also relied heavily on the linguistic skills and services of ransomed captives.Fray Alonso Gregorio de Escobedo, a Franciscan missionary and author of an epic poem about La Florida, claimed to have interviewed one such rescued castaway and (doubtlessly taking some poetic license) incorporated his personal history into his heroic verse.While the Indians of south coastal Florida put to death numerous shipwreck survivors, Escobedo related that this individual escaped the unhappy fate of his shipmates by developing a "comradeship with the Indians" over the course of his eighteen-year "captivity."At their insistence, he assumed the occupation of a jeweler and silversmith, took an Indian woman for his concubine, and fathered two daughters.While he confessed to having succumbed to "the pleasures of vice" and to have "in every way adapted" himself to their customs and mores so that his "appearance soon took the form of a slovenly and idle Indian," he also claimed to have observed the sacraments in secret and to have prayed ceaselessly with his daughters for deliverance.When Menéndez Marqués landed along the coast, the castaway believed his prayers had been answered; for his part, the general was so thrilled at having found a trustworthy ready-linguist that he "gave orders" that the man be given "clothing of the best material" in order to transform him "from a semi-Indian to a Spaniard."Owing to the fact that he was "very fluent in the language of these Indians," Marqués recruited him to serve as his "intermediary" and considered his services so indispensable that he reportedly begged him "not to separate yourself from me for one day."
While Christian castaways continued to be the most reliable source of cultural intermediaries in the early colonial period for both conquistadores and caciques, not every shipwreck survivor living among the Indians was a native Castilian.French Huguenot designs in the Carribean and eastern seaboard resulted in a large number of Frenchmen being marooned in La Florida and both Florida caciques and Spanish colonial officials attempted to cajole them into serving as informers and interpreters.Friendly Indian chiefs offered these informers shelter and refuge from their Spanish enemies, while the Spaniards were able to extort the grudging cooperation of French prisoners by reminding them of the sentences for heresy and piracy.The willingness of a prisoner to re-embrace the Catholic faith became the litmus test for loyalty and potential change in status from despised prisoner to valued and salaried interpreter.
As the de Luna expedition was expected to establish a settlement at Santa Elena on the Atlantic coast of La Florida (the Carolinas), the Mexican viceroy offered to send de Luna an unidentified English interpreter who had sailed to those parts in his youth, had married in France, and was now living in Campeche.Born in Bristol, this well-traveled individual had served as a cabin boy aboard an English ship at the age of ten; this ship had anchored off the coast of the Carolinas in 1546 and had traded with the Indians for more than a week.While the Spanish were loath to rely on foreigners, the viceroy added that this man was "well informed concerning navigation, and to us here it appears that he tells the truth."Velasco arranged for the English sailor to be brought to de Luna in La Imposición with General Pedro Menéndez.Although illness appears to have prevented his shipping out in time to serve Luna, it is possible that he may have accompanied Menéndez when the captain-general undertook the colonization and settlement of La Florida in 1565.
Menéndez most certainly had the advantage of having secured the linguistic services of Guillaume Rouffi, a French Huguenot who previously had been stranded in La Florida in the wake of Jean Ribault's 1562 reconnaissance of the Carolina coast.One of a score of Frenchmen left behind to occupy the land until reinforcements arrived, this youth wisely decided to take his chances with the Indians rather than risk sailing back to France in a makeshift boat when his companions abandoned their post.Rouffi married the daughter of the chief of the Orista and became a valued member of that community.Picked up by a Cuban coastal patrol, the youth was taken back to Havana, converted to Catholicism, and afterwards assigned to Menéndez' expedition as an Indian interpreter.Known to the Spaniards as Guillermo or William Ruffin, his faithful services in that capacity helped assure the adelantado's diplomatic success in establishing friendly relations with many tribes and even helped to counter and eliminate the threat posed by other French Huguenots stranded among the Indians of the east Florida coast.
One of the French Huguenots marooned in La Florida with whom the adelantado had to contend had been born in Cordova, although he had fled to France, married at Havre de Grace, and took to the sea for his livelihood.Spending six years in Antarctic France "learning the language of the [Brazilian] Indians," this individual had managed to escaped to the Indies following the Portuguese destruction of the colony.Rescued and returned to France, his linguistic skills were noted by the French Huguenot Admiral Coligny, who detailed him to a fleet sailing to La Florida led by Jean Ribault.The latter commander had left him behind in the Indian province of Guale (Coastal Georgia) to serve as interpreter, and he became a man of influence among those people.When the Spanish adelantado landed in this territory, he was grieved to see this man going about naked as an Indian, and "gave him a new shirt, a pair of breeches, a hat, and some food," promising to treat him as one of his own if he re-embraced the Catholic faith and served him as a faithful interpreter.Through the covert services of his French Catholic interpreter, Guillermo Ruffin, the adelantado was informed of the duplicity of the "Lutheran" interpreter.Although the adelantado would have liked to have immediately killed this dangerous individual, because the chief's eldest son "had more authority than his father, and liked that interpreter very much," the adelantado arranged for the interpreter to be garroted in great secrecy so as not to anger the Indians or provoke them to war.Guillermo Ruffin, on the other hand, continued to enjoy the trust and support of Menéndez and proved to be an invaluable translator during the 1566-1568 explorations of the Indian provinces of "Tama" (the Carolinas and Tennessee).The degree of trust placed in Ruffin, however, appears to be unusual, and can be chiefly attributed to his sincere conversion to Catholicism.
In the years immediately following the founding of St. Augustine and the establishment of ephemeral presidios, settlements, and mission villages, the Spaniards considered Frenchmen stranded among the Indians to be a very real threat to their security and their Indian pacification program.As a result, colonial officials used bribes, threats, and even surprise attacks designed to capture or force the surrender of all Frenchmen living among the Indians.In the earliest years, their own lack of linguists occasionally prompted the colonial governors to treat a few of these men with leniency, giving some young prisoners the option of serving out their prison term as interpreters to avoid being sentenced to slavery in the galleys or being condemned to death at the stake.Historian Eugene Lyons has identified several men on the ration lists for 1565 and 1566 that were either French prisoners or Spaniards freed from captivity.Juan Bivete and another Frenchman simply identified as Pierres, for example, were listed as acting as interpreters to the Mayaca Indians, while a Francisco de Monbalarte served in the same capacity for the Saturiwa Indians.A decade later, French sailors were still being taken prisoner by the Spaniards.While pirates and heretics were immediately executed, several youths were spared on account of their usefulness as interpreters.Even after royal officials recommended that the remaining French prisoners be sent to the galleys in Spain, colonial officials dragged their feet (invoking the standard Spanish colonial response of "I obey, but do not comply"), claiming that local needs required their continued service.
YOUTHFUL CATECHISTS AND MISSIONARIES
Another means of training interpreters involved leaving cabin boys, drummer boys, or young catechists behind in friendly Indian villages long enough for them to immerse themselves in the Indian idiom.While some adelantados distributed youths as a pledge of good faith and peaceful intent, or merely to conform to the dictates of Native American protocol and the demands for a mutual exchange, most were loath to leave even a few of their countrymen behind in Indian villages for fear that they would wind up as hostages in the hands of hostile Indians.Missionaries and their young acolytes, on the other hand, were by virtue of their "vocation" ideally suited to the idea of waging a war for the hearts, minds, and souls of the Indians in the midst of the enemy camp.Rather than being intimidated by the prospect of living at the mercy of the Indians, many of these zealots often relished the idea of martyrdom should their Indian hosts turn hostile.Since younger persons generally had an easier time learning new languages, Spanish missionaries often recruited, traveled with, and depended on young acolytes, brothers, and novices to act as their tutors and translators and to help them master the native languages.While this strategy worked very well on the whole in fostering the rise of a new generation of ready-trained linguists and missionaries, there was also a very real danger that the more impressionable of young novices and acolytes left in isolation in Indian villages might succumb to the bad example of their hosts, become culturally disoriented, and develop a confused and divided sense of allegiance as a result of the immersion experience.
Recognizing that younger people had more of an affinity for learning new languages than adults, an eagerness to learn frequently became a more important consideration than maturity and experience in the selection of missionaries.Such, at least, was the case when Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano began organizing an expedition to colonize the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of La Florida.As neither de Luna nor the Mexican viceroy, Don Luis de Velasco, intended to see the project hampered by a lack of interpreters, in 1558 the viceroy selected six Dominicans deemed young enough "of age to be able to work among the Indians and learn their languages."As de Luna and the Viceroy would discover, the self-same traits of youthful idealism and religious zeal could make these natural linguists and intermediaries prone to adopting uncompromising stances and refusing to cooperate with the secular authorities over policies concerning the treatment of theirIndians.
When Menéndez undertook the colonization of La Florida in 1565, during his first goodwill tour of the Indian provinces he distributed a few drummer boys and other youths to learn the Indian languages, to familiarize the Indians with the symbols of Christianity, and to teach them to recite the creeds and prayers of the Catholic faith.While the policy of billeting Spanish youths in Indian villages had its drawbacks in terms of guaranteeing their safety, it did succeed as an alternative strategy for creating a cadre of fluent native language speakers.Although conceived as a temporary measure to be abandoned upon the arrival of trained linguistic specialists from the Jesuit Order, the early missionaries became almost immediately dependent on their language skills and knowledge, and strongly encouraged them to sign on as acolytes, altar boys, and interpreters.When, for example, one of the Jesuit missionaries traveled to the northern-most Indian province of Escamacu on the Carolinian coast, he took with him "a boy of ten years of age, named Juan de Lara, a son of a settler, in order to learn the language."
Another youth, Juan de Lara's older brother, Alonso de Olmos,accompanied the Jesuits to the Chesapeake Bay region on their fateful mission to convert the kin of the Indian interpreter, Don Luis Velasco in 1570; he alone lived to tell the tale.The Indians, in fact, decided to spare his life "Because he was a boy and they knew he had not come to preach and take away their idols," and probably assumed that he might be more easily adopted andacculturated into native society.Following his rescue and deliverance, Alonso served as translator during the shipboard interrogation, summary baptism, and execution of several Indians held responsible for the murder of his Jesuit brethren.
Undeterred by the death of his fellow religious, Padre Juan Rogel questioned the youth to determine whether he would prove willing to serve as interpreter should his Jesuit superiors decide to reestablish a mission among the chastised and presumably pacified Chesapeake Indians.Considering that the boy had "almost forgotten his Spanish" during two nearly years of captivity, Rogel even considered retaining an Indian boy from the region to serve as Alonso's companion in order "to make sure that he retains the language and does not forget it."Nothing came of either of these plans, however, and Rogel noted in the margins of a letter to the Jesuit General, Francis Borgia, that Menéndez had decided to take the Indian back with him to Spain, and that with regard to Alonso's commitment, "I was deceived in this respect, since he has been quite spoiled after living alone with the Indians," "does not want to be one of us," and "is not suitable."Alonso's linguistic skills did, on the other hand, make him a welcome addition to the garrison troops stationed in Spanish Florida although his services in that capacity proved short-lived.According to Bartolomé Martínez, who claimed to have been a close neighbor and frequent dinner guest of the Olmos family in Santa Elena, reported that Alonso was among the score of Spanish soldiers in Lieutentant Hernando Moyano's command slain while bullying the Orista Indians into handing over food in 1577.
Experience showed that leaving youthful catechists and unprotected missionaries behind in native villages for language immersion lessons produced as many hostages and martyrs as interpreters and Indian converts, however, and Menéndez and his successors tended to shy away from the earlier policy.Even the Franciscan friars who would take the place of the Jesuits in the mission fields of La Florida in the last decades of the sixteenth century, tended to be a more pragmatic and careful lot depending more on Indian grammars and confessionarios than on the services of young catechists.Menéndez's reluctance to lodge young drummer boys or altar boys in native villages was well-founded.As late as 1580, his son-in-law and successor, Pedro Menéndez Marqués reported that there were still "two men who are captives, and who, when they were boys and interpreters, had been placed by the adelantado...with two friendly caciques, to teach them the doctrine; and these caciques afterward rose in rebellion, and made them prisoners."
ACCULTURATED CACIQUES AND CACICAS
Once the Spaniards managed to establish a viable settlement at Saint Augustine, they worked diligently to acculturate influential Indian chiefs hoping to use them to forward their colonial policies and goals.In the last decade of the sixteenth and first decade of the seventeenth centuries, their proselytizing efforts began to bear fruit.Convinced of the advantages of associating and aligning themselves with their new neighbors, several Indian chiefs accepted baptism and used their influence to foster the spread of Catholicism and Castilian culture among their own peoples.Generous gifts of trade goods were sometimes held out as inducements to secure the loyalty of these influential Indians.
The Indian cacica, Doña María Melendez, became an important "go-between" and cultural broker following the establishment of Saint Augustine by the Spanish.When the English corsair, Francis Drake, burned and ravaged the presidio in 1586, it was the loyalty and support of this chieftainess that preserved the lives of the settlers from starvation and hostile Indian attack.When Doña Maria was wedded to a Spanish soldier, Clemente Vernal, Spanish officials in the presidio gave their enthusiastic approval in the mistaken belief that native matrilineal inheritance patterns would assure that Spaniards would ultimately dominate the native caciques.The royal governors at Saint Augustine were especially pleased by Doña Maria's acceptance of Catholicism and her willingness to use her language skills and influence to propagate the faith among her subjects and neighbors.
From her own point of view, Doña Maria also had much to gain from her relationship to her new neighbors and kin.While the Saturiwa were accustomed to fighting interminable blood feuds with their Utina neighbors, the total war waged by the Spanish intruders in the 1560s and 1570s had proven to be far more disruptive of their way of life.By marrying one of the foreigners, Doña Maria managed to turn deadly foes into powerful allies and supporters.In the wake of the onslaught of disturbing new diseases, submitting to baptism and embracing the "cult of the cross" probably seemed a small price to pay for securing the patronage and protection of the Spanish spiritual healers and guaranteeing continued occupation of ancestral lands.Even Catholic indoctrination in the mission village of Nombre de Dios did not require cultural suicide, but was a more syncretic blending of religious elements that might also have helped revitalize the demoralized natives.Archaeological evidence from mixed dwelling units in Saint Augustine (albeit from a later period) suggest that native spouses dominated the domestic sphere and thereby assured the continuance of many traditional traits that they passed on to their mestizo children.
Even as Doña Maria supported the presidio in times of need and regularly entertained Indian delegations at her home in order to spread the Christian faith, she was as quick to promote her own political interests as a tribal leader as she was in forwarding the diplomatic interests of her patrons in the presidio.A letter written to the crown on February 20, 1598 requesting reimbursement for entertainment expenses incurred on such occasions suggests that this cacica muy ladina was fully capable of moving between the social worlds of her Indian subjects and Spanish relatives and sponsors.Moreover, while Doña Maria originally held sway over the mission village of Nombre de Dios on the outskirts of Saint Augustine, by 1604 she had used the power of her Spanish patrons to extend her chiefly authority over the Tacatacuru peoples of Cumberland island and the coastal Georgian mainland.
A brief history of the life of Chief Don Juan of San Pedro Island [modern Cumberland Island, Georgia] also illustrates the effectiveness of presents in securing the loyalty of Indian chiefs and in forwarding Spanish colonial interests.Don Juan's predecessors and people had suffered greatly during decades of war with the Spaniards settling La Florida.Raised under the tutelage of Fray Baltasar López, this acculturated young chief learned from an early age the advantages derived from a close alliance with the Spanish.He adopted many Castilian customs and used his political power and influence to order the people of his caççgo to embrace the Catholic faith.In order to reward his efforts in propagating the faith and to further incline him toward Spanish interests, the Consejo de Indias wrote to the king in 1596 in favor of the suggestion of the governor and some friars to take the unprecedented action of paying this Indian "the rations and salary of a soldier of thatpresidio."The Spanish policy paid off the following year.When Don Juan's neighbors to the north rose in rebellion, killed the missionaries living in their midst, and pressed their campaign southwards, Don Juan organized the defense of the province and led a successful counterattack that routed and forced the Guales to retreat.Once again, the fidelity of an influential Indian interpreter and cultural broker was decisive in the defense of Saint Augustine and outlying mission stations in the early colonial period.
While necessity might lead colonial officials to turn a blind eye to the nationality, race, and gender of the individuals they used as interpreters, they preferred to depend on Spanish soldiers on the crown payroll.Several Spanish soldiers assigned to the backwater provinces of the Spanish empire learned to speak one or more Indian languages – often with the invaluable assistance of Indian wives or concubines – and therefore enhanced their position and status.Often their knowledge of Indian languages allowed them to supplement their meager rations and poor salaries by negotiating transactions between the communities.
One such soldier was Alonso Díaz de Sevilla, who was fluent in both the Guale and Orista Indian languages.Captain Vicente Gonçalez, the Portuguese pilot who transported the Indian, Don Luis Velasco, and the Jesuit missionaries to the Chesapeake in 1570 and led the punitive expedition that rescued young Olmos a year and a half later, had a long history of experience in La Florida.In the course of his duties as navigator, the captain had apparently learned to speak several Indian languages – at least well enough to deliver messages and ultimatums.While such a skill most certainly increased his importance to the Spanish garrison and coast guard force, it also had a tendency to put him in harms way during times of trouble.Following an uprising among the Orista Indians, for example, Menéndez Marqués deemed it prudent to dispatch Gonçalez to the Guale coast to gather information and to forestall trouble in that Indian province.Although the captain "spoke with the Indians and with a French or English man" living among them, he was unable to persuade them to come out to his launch: "on the contrary, from the shore they insulted Captain Biçenteçalez, telling him that the Spaniards were worth nothing, and were hens, and that they [the Indians] had with them many friends, who would aid them."
Another soldier, Juan Ramirez de Contreras also gained a reputation for himself during the sacking of St. Augustine in 1586 by the English corsair, Sir Francis Drake, on account of his position as "Indian interpreter for the district around the city."Because of his linguistic skills, Ramírez was ordered by General Menéndez Marqués to recruit a band of local Indians and to lead them in an attack on the English camp.With the assistance of a small band of Indian archers, this Spanish soldier harassed and killed some of the English pirates in a series of night raids.The Spanish soldier distinguished himself in battle by dismounting Captain Anthony Powell, a friend and relative of Drake's, killing him with a dagger and taking his head back with him as a trophy.Ramírez must have been a gifted linguist because in addition to being "very fluent" in the Timucua tongue and its various dialects, he also was reputedly proficient in the language of the Aís Indians of Cape Canaveral.Ramírez' language skills allowed him to supplement his income as a garrison soldier, and between 1592 and 1594 he engaged in the Indian trade, representing the interests of the Indian cacique, Don Alonso, and negotiating in the sale of his maize crop to the presidio.While Ramírez's linguistic skills made him a valued member of the presidio, they also caused him to be detailed to potentially dangerous treaty negotiations with hostile Indians.In fact, it was on just such a tour of duty in September 1597 that he was captured and killed by the Aís, who, according to his widow, used his skull for a drinking cup.
The intermarriage of Indian cacicas with Spanish garrison soldiers further strengthened the ties between the communities and provided several generations of reliable, trustworthy interpreters and culture brokers firmly in the Spanish sphere of influence.This was certainly the case when Clemente Vernal took an acculturated Indian woman, Doña María Melendez, for a wife.Doña María's Spanish husband also benefited from her language tutorials, mastering both the Timucua and Guale idioms and assuming the duties of interpreter.Many years later, their son and heir, Clemente Bernal would be sent to negotiate peace following the rebellion of the western Timucuan Indians.
Throughout the early contact period, the interpreter and cultural broker played a crucial and often decisive role in determining the success or failure of Spanish colonization ventures in La Florida.Many of the early entradas ended in disaster largely because their promoters abducted and alienated those individuals they need to rely on most as their informers, interpreters, and mediators.The so-called "central" and leading characters could not help but recognize the power these individuals wielded, and consequently went to great lengths to secure the services, allegiance, and loyalty of these culturally ambiguous individuals.The chronicles, relations, memoirs, and reports from the early contact period abound in references to anonymous "interpreters" who, if standing in the shadows of more renowned historical figures, literally had the undivided attention of their ears.If few historians today have given much consideration to these "go-betweens," the adelantados, conquistadores, and colonial promoters had no choice but to recognize that the loyalties, decisions, personal choices, and actions of these pivotal characters more profoundly affected the outcome of the early struggle for the domination of that land than has hitherto been acknowledged.The central part played by these "marginalized" men and women in shaping the destinies of not one, but several cultural traditions and histories, is a rich and complex subject deserving of further acknowledgment and scholarly examination.
.Many of the older generation of "patrician" historians writing about the conquest of the Americas extolled the virtues and trumpeted the accomplishments of a few "great white men" to the exclusion of all other voices and traditions.The histories they and their "consensus school" successors wrote considered only the deeds of the European "discoverers," explorers, conquistadores, colonial founders, and missionaries as worthy of their pens and ignored or marginalized the more culturally ambiguous men and women of the borderlands frontier.Not surprisingly, the only full-length historical biographies written in this period about interpreters focused on European diplomats: Paul A. W. Wallace, Conrad Weiser, 1696-1760, Friend of Colonist and Mohawk (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1945) and Nicholas B. Wainwright, George Croghan: Wilderness Diplomat (Chapel Hill, N.C.: 1959).Only in the last year has any historian compared and contrasted the experiences of European and Native American interpreters in a single work.See James Hart Merrell, Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999).
.Anthropologist Malcom McFee was the first to argue that the bi-cultural individual had more options and less constraints in his article, "The 150% man: a product of Blackfoot acculturation," American Anthropologist 70 (1968): 1096-1107; historian J. Frederick Fausz took the opposite view, depicting these individuals as "marginal men" in his article, "'Middlemen in peace and war': Virginia's earliest Indian interpreters, 1608-1632," published in the Journal of American History 75 (June 1988): 41-64.Anthropologist James A. Clifton quickly counter-attacked, debunking the "older popular stereotype" that "culturally marginalized people became psychologically diminished," and arguing instead that as masters of two (or more) cultures, interpreters actually became "culturally enlarged."See the introduction to his Being and Becoming Indian: Biographical Studies of North American Frontiers (Chicago: Dorsey Press, 1989), 28-29.Other historians have chosen – much like their "cultural broker" subjects – to straddle the fence between the warring camps, rather than take one side over the other.See, for example, Nancy L. Hagedorn and Alan Taylor's characterization of a Stockbridge Mohican mediator, respectively published as "'A friend to go between them'": the interpreter as cultural broker during Anglo-Iroquois councils, 1740-1770," Ethnohistory 35 (Winter 1988) and "Captain Hendrick Aupaumut: the dilemmas of an intercultural broker," Ethnohistory 43:3 (Summer 1996).
.Historian Margaret Connell Szasz, ed., Between Indian and White Worlds: the Cultural Broker (Norman: London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994), and linguist Frances Karttunen, ed. Between Worlds: Interpreters, Guides, and Survivors (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, c.1994) wisely ignored the debate altogether, and as a result have produced more informative and complex look at the varied lives, survival strategies, and experiences of the interpreters included in their studies.
.See "The captives of Florida," and "Cultural brokers in sixteenth-century Spanish Florida," in Eugene Lyon, ed., Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (New York: London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995), 171-190, 329-336.
.See the editors' introduction in David G. Sweet and Gary B. Nash, ed., Struggle and Survival in Colonial America (Berkeley: University of California Press, c.1981), 1-13.
.Carolyn Foreman appears to have been the first historian to write a history of Indians transported to Europe; unfortunately, her work is anecdotal in its treatment of the subject.Carolyn T. Foreman, Indians Abroad: 1493-1938 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1943).Only a few historians have followed her lead.See "Amerindians in Europe," (Chapter 10), in Olive P. Dickason, The Myth of the Savage and the Beginnings of French Colonialism in the Americas (Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press, 1984 [reprinted 1997]), 203-229; and Harald E.L. Prins, "To the land of the Mistigoches: American Indians traveling to Europe in the Age of Exploration," American Indian Culture and Research Journal 17:1(1993): 175-195.
.Of course the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English were equally ethnocentric in their assumptions.For examples of similar sentiments regarding Amerindians educated abroad, see, Ruben Rold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Exploration of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610-1791.73 Vols. (Reprinted in New York: Pageant Book Co., 1959), and John Hemming, Red Gold: the Conquest of the Brazilian Indians, 1500-1760 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978).
.James Alexander Robertson, trans. and ed.,True Relation of the Hardships Suffered by Governor Fernando de Soto & Certain Portuguese Gentlemen during the Discovery of the Province of Florida.Now Newly Set Forth by a Gentleman of Elvas 2 Vols. (DeLand: The Florida State Historical Society, 1933): II: 29-30.
.Ironically, Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's black companion, Estevanico (or Stephen) did not have much luck in taking advantage of the linguistic skills he acquired in the course of the long journey to New Spain; traveling ahead of a Franciscan missionary expedition aimed at converting the Pueblo Indians, this unfortunate African-American interpreter was judged to be dishonest and put to death by the Indians who thought it "unreasonable" for him "to say that the people were white in the country from which he came and that he was sent by them, he being black."Pedro Castañada, The journey of Coronado (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, Inc., 1966).
.Andrés González de Barcia Carballido y Zúñiga, Barcia's Chronological History of the Continent of Florida: Containing the Discoveries and Principal Events Which Came to Pass in this Vast Kingdom, Touching the Spanish, French, Swedish, Danish, English, and Other Nations, as Between Themselves and With the Indians Whose Customs, Characteristics, Idolatry, Government, Warfare, and Stratagems Are Described; and the Voyages of Some Captains and Pilots Through the Northern Sea in Search of a Passage to the Orient, or the Union of That Land with Asia.Translated with an introduction by Anthony Kerrigan.(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1951), 26-27; Michael V. Gannon, The Cross in the Sand: the Early Catholic Church in Florida, 1513-1870 (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1983), 9-13.
."Velasco to Luna," Mexico, May 5, 1560 and "Fray Domingo de la Anunciación and others to Velasco," Coosa, August 1, 1560 in Herbert Ingram Priestly, trans. and ed., The Luna papers: documents relating to the expedition of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano for the conquest of La Florida in 1559-15612 Vols.(Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1971): I: 121, 237-239.
.Ibid.Only the youngest Jesuit acolyte, Alonso de Olmos, was spared on account of his age.
.Barcia, Chronological History of the Continent of Florida, 143-144.
."Account of the visit of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to the College of Seville, sent from the same college," [Undated 915670], in Rubén Vargas Ugarte, S.J., ed., "The first Jesuit mission in Florida," Historical Records and Studies, The United States Catholic Historical Society, 24 (1935): 128.
."Letter of Father Juan Rogel to St. Francis Borgia, Havana, July 25, 1568," in Ibid, 83-84.
.Ibid.The fate of the ten-year old daughter of the chief of Tequesta also sent to Spain to be educated and Hispanicized remains a mystery.Kathleen Ann Deagan, "Sex, Status and Role in the Mestizaje of Spanish Colonial Florida," Ph.D. dissertation in Anthropology.(Ann Arbor, Michigan: Xerox University Microfilms, 1974), 14.
.J. Leitch Wright, Jr., The Only Land They Knew: The Tragic Story of the American Indians in the Old South (New York: The Free Press, c.1981), 42.
.Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Cabeza de Vaca's Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986).
.Robertson, trans. & ed.,True Relation by a Gentleman of Elvas, II: 9.
.Garcilasco de la Vega, [el Inca], The Florida of the Inca: A History of the Adelantado, Hernando de Soto, Governor and Captain General of the Kingdom of Florida, and of Other Heroic Spanish and Indian Cavaliers, Written by the Inca, Garcilasco de la Vega, an Officer of His Majesty, and a Native of the Great City of Cuzco, Capital of the Realms and Provinces of Peru (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1970), 78-81.
.Robertson, trans. and ed., True Relation by a Gentleman of Elvas, II: 46.
.The chronicler, Bartolomé Barrientos claimed that "a total of two hundred Christians had been lost on this coast," but that only a handful (five women and four men) had been spared the sacrificial rites of the Calusas.See Bartolomé Barrientos, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés: Founder of Florida.Translated by Anthony Kerrigan.(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1965), 82.
.Barcia, Chronological History of the Continent of Florida, 102-103.
.Gonzalo Solís de Merás, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés: Memorial (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964), 142.
.Hernando D'Escalante Fontaneda, Memoir of d'Escalante Fontaneda Respecting Florida.Written in Spain, about the year 1575.Translated by Buckingham Smith.(Miami: University of Miami and the Historical Association of Southern Florida, 1944), 17.
.Vizcaíno was also referred to in some documents as Pedro de Bustincury.
.Bustincury's colorful career is summarized in Lyon, ed., Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, 177-178, 331.
.James A. Clifton's characterization of another intercultural broker seems to be an equally appropriate description of the dilemma faced by Vizcaíno.See Clifton's "Personal and ethnic identity on the Great Lakes frontier : the case of Billy Caldwell, Anglo-Canadian," Ethnohistory, 20 (1978): 69-94.
.Alonso Gregorio de Escobedo, Pirates, Indians and Spaniards: Father Escobedo's "La Florida."Edited by James W. Covington, and translated by A. F. Falcones.(St. Petersburg: Great Outdoors Publishing Co., c.1963), 87.
. Ibid, 89-93.If Escobedo's heroic verse does not take too much poetic license, this redeemed captive proved his loyalty to his Spanish rescuers by informing Menéndez Marquez of a planned surprise attack on the makeshift fort of Santa Lucia.According to Escobedo, the Spaniards made a preemptive strike during a feast organized by the interpreter, putting many unsuspecting Indian "guests" to the sword before abandoning the land for good.
.Lyon, "The captives of Florida," in Lyon, ed., Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, 171-190.
."Velasco to Luna," Mexico, September 14, 1560, in Priestley, ed., Luna papers, II: 157.
."Velasco to Luna," Mexico, August 20, 1560, "Velasco to Luna," Mexico, September 13, 1560, "The narrative of the Englishman signed by the Viceroy," and "Velasco to Luna," Mexico, September 14, 1560 in Ibid, I: 193; II: 149, 157, 177-179.
. Solís de Merás, Memorial, 165-181; Barrientos, Founder of Florida, 98-105, 149, n. 3.
.Hardly a paragraph goes by in the depositions of those expeditions in which Ruffin's services as interpreter are not acknowledged, and on at least one occasion his eavesdropping abilities are credited with saving the Spaniards from ambush and massacre.See, in particular, "The 'Long' Bandera Relation, A.G.I., Santo Domingo 224 cited in Charles M. Hudson, The Juan Pardo Expeditions: Exploration of the Carolinas and Tennessee, 1566-1568.With documents relating to the Pardo Expeditions transcribed, translated, and annotated by Paul E. Hoffman.(Washington: London: Smithsonian Institution Press, c.1990), 205-296.
."Pedro Menéndez Márques to the King," Havana, May 15, 1580 [Document XLVII. A.G.I. 54-4-9-13] in Jeannette Thurber Connor, ed. and trans., Colonial Records of Spanish Florida: Letters and Reports of Governors and Secular Persons2 Vols.(DeLand: The Florida State Historical Society, MCMXXV): II: 299.
."Relation of Luis Gerónimo de Oré," inLewis and Loomie, ed., Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 1570-1572, 179.
.It was not unusual for brothers to acquire different family names, one following the father, the other the mother.For some background on the two young catechists, see Ibid, 164, n.19.
. "Life of Father Francis Borgia, third general of the Society of Jesus Book III, Chapter 6 by Pedro de Ribadeneyra, S.J.," in Lewis and Loomie, ed., Spanish Jesuit mission in Virginia, 1570-1572, 146.See also the "Brief narrative of the martyrdom of the fathers and brothers of the Society of Jesus, slain by the Jacán Indians of Florida," (Cf. Life of St. Francis Borgia, by Father Pedro Rivadeneira, S.J. Bk. 3, ch. 6), in Vargas Ugarte, S.J., ed., "First Jesuit mission in Florida," HRS 15: 129-148.
."Letter of Juan Rogel to Francis Borgia, from the Bay of the Mother of God, August 28, 1572," in Lewis and Loomie, ed. Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 1570-1572, 111.
."Relation of Bartolomé Martínez," in Ibid, 160-161.Martínez claims that the soldiers were seeking pearls and other riches and laments that it "would have been much better [for Alonso] to have died in the glorious martyrdom of his companions."While a muster roll of soldiers serving in St. Augustine in November 1578 lists an Alonso de Olmos, native of Colomera, this must have been Alonso de Olmos, Sr., or else another individual altogether."Report on the uprising of the Indians of Florida, and loss of the fort of Santa Elena," [Document XIX] in Connor, ed., Colonial Records, I: 193-203, II: 193.
. See Francisco Pareja, Francisco Pareja's 1613 Confessionario: a Documentary Source for Timucuan Ethnography.Edited by Jerald T. Milanich and William C. Sturtevant, and translated by Emilio F. Moran.(Tallahassee: Division of Archives, History, and Records Management, Florida Department of State, 1972).
."Pedro Menéndez Márques to the King, Havana, May 15, 1580" [Document XLVII. A.G.I. 54-4-9-13] in Connor, ed., Colonial Records, II: 299.
. Deagan, "Sex, Status and Role in the Mestizaje of Spanish Colonial Florida," 12, 23.
.Doña Maria's example lends support to the thesis that native women frequently served as agents of acculturation and were largely responsible for the confluence of cultures that resulted from the "many tender ties" established through their relationships with male colonists.See Sylvia Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties: Women inFfur Trade Society, 1670-1870(Norman: London: University of Oklahoma Press, c.1980).While other feminist historians have argued that Native American women were more likely to resist colonial exploitation and challenges to their traditional way of life than their male counterparts, this does not appear to have been the case in La Florida.See also Karen Anderson's Chain Her by One Foot: the Subjugation of Women in Seventeenth-Century New France (London: New York: Routledge, c.1991), and Carol Devens' Countering Colonization: Native American Women and Great Lakes Missions, 1630-1900 (Berkeley: University of California Press, c.1992).
.Deagan, "Sex, Status and Role in the Mestizaje of Spanish colonial Florida," 16-18, 22-23.
."Doña Maria Menéndez, Cacique, writes the King asking aid in meeting the expenses of instructing the Indians in Christianity and good government" in A.M. Brooks, ed., and Annie Averette, trans., The unwritten history of old St. Augustine: copied from the Spanish archives in Seville, Spain (s.l.: n.p., n.d.), 32-33.Officials in Spain concurred in the reasonableness of her claims and wrote to her directly, and then to Governor Gonzalo Mendez de Canço authorizing a gift of cloth valued at 150 ducados to offset her expenses. Cedulario, 9 November, 1598, Madrid, 1 page, A.G.I. 86-5-19 and Cedulario, 9 November 1598, Madrid, 10 pages, A.G.I. 86-5-19 Stetson Collection, University of Florida, Gainesville.(Microfilm, Florida International University).
.Manuel Serrano y Sanz, ed., Documentos de la Florida y la Luisiana, siglos XVI al XVIII (Madrid: Librería General de Victoriano Suárez, 1912), 171-172.See also Kathleen Deagan's section on the Tacatacuru Indians in her article, "Cultures in transition: fusion and assimilation among the Eastern Timucua," published in Jerald Milanich and Samuel Proctor, ed.,Tacachale: Essays on the Indians of Florida and Southeastern Georgia During the Historic Period(Gainesville: The University Presses of Florida, 1978), 102-104.
.Luís Gerónimo de Oré, The Martyrs of Florida (1513-1616).Translated by Maynard Geiger.(New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc. Franciscan Studies 18 (July 1936): 71.
.Consejo de Indias to King, 20 June, 1596, Madrid, 2 pages, A.G.I. 53-1-6, Stetson Collection, University of Florida, Gainesville.(Microfilm, Florida International University).(My translation).
."Pedro Menéndez Marqués to the King, Santa Elena, October 21, 1577" [Document XXVI. A.G.I. 54-5-16, 17] in Connor, ed., Colonial Records, I: 269.See also Lewis and Loomie, ed.,Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 1570-1572, 162, 163 n.9, 193-199.
."Alonso Sancho Saez and Miguel de Valdés, depositions made at San Agustin, August 12, 1586," [Document No. 51], Irene A. Wright, ed. and trans., Further English Voyages to Spanish America, 1583-1594: Documents from the Archive of the Indies at Seville Illustrating English Voyages to the Caribbean, the Spanish Main, Florida, and Virginia (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1949), 198-201.
.Fray Alonso Gregorio de Escobedo celebrated the heroic battle between the Castilian and Englishman in his epic poem "La Florida." See Covington, ed., and Falcones, trans., Pirates, Indians and Spaniards, 108-109.
.Memorial of Maria Junco, viuda de Juan Ramirez de Contreras, Madrid? 1606, 49 pages, A.G.I.53-2-9and Madrid, Consejo de Indias to King, Aug. 16, 1598, 10 pages, A.G.I. 53-1-6,Stetson Collection, University of Florida, Gainesville.(Microfilm, Florida International University).