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Where were Cape François and the May River?

Scholars have long assumed that Cape François was either present day Cape Canaveral They have also assumed that the May River was the St. Johns River.  However, the distances between these points and Beaufort, SC (Port Royal Sound) don’t seem to correlate with the time that French fleet spent to travel. De Laudonniére’s memoirs state that the fleet sailed directly from Cape François to the outlet of the May River in two weeks.  They spent two weeks more exploring a series of islands and rivers between the May River and Port Royal. They stopped to explore inlets and rivers. Late 16th century and 17th century French maps generally show Cape François to be north of the mouth of the St. Johns River. The numbers just don’t add up.  Jacksonville is 138 miles from Cape Canaveral (9.8 miles per day) and 27 miles from St. Augustine (1.9 miles per day.)  Jacksonville is 163 miles from Beaufort, SC (11.6 miles per day.)  If the May River was the St. Johns River at Jacksonville,  the time required to reach Port Royal Sound (Beaufort) should have been more like three weeks.  Furthermore, de Laudonniére’s memoirs state that the ships became lost in a fog as they approached Port Royal, losing much time. The question is significant because for well over a century, archaeologists and artifact collectors have searched along the mouth of the St. John’s River for the location of the second French colony, Fort Caroline and Fort St. Mateo, the Spanish fortress that was built on its ruins. This is because everyone has assumed that the May River and the St. Johns...

Onathaqua Tribe

Onathaqua Indians (possibly intended for Ouathaqua). A tribe or village about Cape Cañaveral east coast of Florida, in constant alliance with the Calusa in 1564 (Laudionniére). Probably identical in whole or in part with the Ais tribe. Not to be confounded with Onatheaqua. Alternate Spellings: Oathkaqua – De Bry map (1591) in Le Moyne, Narr., Appleton trans., 1875. Onathqua – Laudionniére (1564) in French, Hist. Coll., Louisiana, n.s., 282, 1869 (possibly for Ouathaqua). Onothaca – Brackenridge, Louisiana, 84, 1814. Otchaqua – De l’Isle, map,...

Timucua Tribe

Timucua Tribe, Timucua Indians. The principal of the Timucuan tribes of Florida. The name is written Timucua or Timuqua by the Spaniards; Thimagoa by the French; Atimaco, Tomoco, etc., by the English. They seem to be identical with the people called Nukfalalgi or Nukfila by the Creeks, described by the latter as having once occupied the upper portion of the peninsula and as having been conquered, together with the Apalachee, Yamasee, and Calusa, by the Creeks. When first known to the French and Spanish, about 1565, the Timucua occupied the territory along middle St John River and about the present St Augustine. Their chief was known to the French as Olata Ouae Utina, abbreviated to Utina or Outina, which, however, is a title rather than a personal name, data (hoiceta) signifying ‘chief,’ and utina ‘country.’ His residence town on St John River is believed to have been not far below Lake George. He ruled a number of subchiefs or towns, among which are mentioned (Laudonnière) Acuera, Anacharaqua, Cadecha, Calany, Chilili, Eclaou, Enacappe, Mocoso, and Omitiaqua. Of these Acuera is evidently the coast town south of Cape Canaveral, where the Spaniards afterward established the mission of Santa Lucia de Acuera. The names Acuera, Mocoso, and Utina(ma) are duplicated in the west part of the peninsula in the De Soto narratives. The Timucua were Christianized by Spanish Franciscans toward the close of the 16th century and brought to a high degree of civilization until the destruction of the missions about the year 1705 (see Timucuan Family). The remnant of the tribe at first took refuge at St. Augustine, and was afterward...

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