Apalachee Indian Tribe
Apalachee. Meaning perhaps
"people on the other side" (as in Hitchiti), or it may be cognate with
Choctaw apelachi, "a helper."
These Indians belonged to the
Muskhogean linguistic family, their closest connections having been apparently
the Hitchiti and Alabama.
The Apalachee towns, with few
exceptions, were compactly situated in the neighborhood of the present Florida
capital, Tallahassee. (See also
Aute, 8 or 9 days' journey from the main towns and
apparently southwest of them.
Ayubale, 77 leagues from St. Augustine.
Bacica, probably near the present Wacissa River.
Bacuqua, seemingly somewhat removed from the main group of towns.
Calahuchi, north of the main group of towns and not certainly Apalachee.
Cupayca, location uncertain; its name seems to be in Timucua.
Ibitachuco, 75 leagues from St. Augustine.
Iniahica, close to the main group of towns, possibly the Timucua name for
one of the others given, since hica is the Timucua word for "town."
Ochete, on the coast 8 leagues south of Iniahica.
Ocuia, 84 leagues from St. Augustine.
Ospalaga, 86 leagues from St. Augustine.
Patali, 87 leagues from St. Augustine.
Talimali, 88 leagues from St. Augustine and very likely identical with
Talpatqui, possibly identical with the preceding.
Tomoli, 87 leagues from St. Augustine.
Uzela, on or near Ocilla River.
Yapalaga, near the main group of towns.
Ychutafun, on Apalachicola River.
Yecambi, 90 leagues from St. Augustine.
A few other names are contained in various writings or
placed upon sundry charts, but some of these belonged to distinct tribes
and were located only temporarily among the Apalachee; others are not
mentioned elsewhere but appear to belong in the same category; and still
others are simply names of missions and may apply to certain of the towns
Thus Chacatos evidently refers to the Chatot tribe, Tama
to the Tamali, and Oconi probably to a branch of
the Oconee mentioned elsewhere. The Chines were a body of Chatot and
derived their name from a chief. Among names which appear only in Spanish
we find Santa Fe. Capola and Ilcombe, given on the Popple Map, were
probably occupied by Guale and Yamasee refugees. A late Apalachee
settlement was called San Marcos.
The Apalachee seem to appear
first in history in the chronicles of the Narvaez expedition (Bandelier, 1905).
The explorers spent nearly a month in an Apalachee town in the year 1528 but
were subjected to constant attacks on the part of the warlike natives, who
pursued them during their withdrawal to a coast town named Aute. In October
1539, De Soto arrived in the Apalachee province and remained there the next
winter in spite of the unceasing hostility of the natives, who well maintained
the reputation for prowess they had acquired 11 years before. Although the
province is mentioned from time to time by the first French and Spanish
colonists of Florida, it did not receive much attention until the tribes between
it and St. Augustine had been pretty well missionized. In a letter written in
1607 we learn that the Apalachee had asked for missionaries and, although one
paid a visit to them the next year, the need is reiterated at frequent
intervals. It was not until 1633, however, that the work was actually begun. In
that year two monks entered the country and the conversion proceeded very
rapidly so that by 1647 there were seven churches and convents and eight of the
principal chiefs had been baptized. In that year, however, a great rebellion
took place. Three missionaries were killed and all of the churches with their
sacred objects were destroyed. An expedition sent against the insurgents was
repulsed, but shortly afterward the movement collapsed, apparently through a
counterrevolution in the tribe itself. After this most of the Apalachee sought
baptism and there was no further trouble between them and the Spaniards except
for a brief sympathetic movement at the time of the Timucua uprising of 1656.
The outstanding complaint on the part of the Indians was that some of them were
regularly commandeered to work on the fortifications of St. Augustine. In 1702 a
large Apalachee war party was severely defeated by Creek Indians assisted by
some English traders, and in 1704 an expedition from South Carolina under
Colonel Moore practically destroyed the nation. Moore claims to have carried
away the people of three towns and the greater part of the population of four
more and to have left but two towns and part of another. Most of these latter
appear to have fled to Mobile, where, in 1705, they were granted land on which
to settle. The Apalachee who had been carried off by Moore were established near
New Windsor, S. C., but when the Yamasee War broke out they joined the hostile
Indians and retired for a time to the Lower Creeks. Shortly afterward the
English faction among the Lower Creeks became ascendant and the Apalachee
returned to Florida, some remaining near their old country and others settling
close to Pensacola to be near their relatives about Mobile. By 1718 another
Apalachee settlement had been organized by the Spaniards near San Marcos de
Apalache and close to their old country. In 1728 we hear of two small Apalachee
towns in this neighborhood. Most of them gravitated finally to the neighborhood
of Pensacola. In 1764, the year after all French and Spanish possessions east of
the Mississippi passed into the hands of Great Britain, the Apalachee, along
with several other tribes, migrated into Louisiana, now held by Spain, and
settled on Red River, where they and the Taensa conjointly occupied a strip of
land between Bayou d'Arro and Bayou Jean de Jean. Most of this land was sold in 1803
and the Apalachee, reduced to a small band, appear to have moved about in
the same general region until they disappeared. They are now practically
forgotten, though a few mixed-blood Apalachee are still said to be in
existence. A few accompanied the Creeks to Oklahoma.
Mooney (1928) estimates 7,000
Apalachee Indians in 1650, a figure which seems to me to be ample. Governor
Salazar's mission-by-mission estimate in 1675 yielded a total of 6,130, and a
Spanish memorial dated 1676 gives them a population of 5,000. At the time of
Moore's raid there appear to have been about 2,000. The South Carolina Census of
1715 gives 4 Apalachee villages, 275 men, and 638 souls. As the Mobile Apalachee
were shortly afterward reduced to 100 men, the number of the entire tribe in
1715 must have been about 1,000. By 1758 they appear to have fallen to not much
over 100, and in 1814 Sibley reported but 14 men in the Louisiana band,
signifying a total of perhaps 50 (Sibley, 1832). Morse's estimate (1822) of 150
in 1817 is evidently considerably too high.
Connection in which they have
The Apalachee were mentioned
repeatedly as a powerful and warlike people, and this character was attested by
their stout resistance to Narvaez and De Soto. The sweeping destruction which
overtook them at the hands of the Creeks and Carolinians marks an epoch in
Southeastern history. Their name is preserved in Apalachee Bay and River, Fla.;
Apalachee River, Ga., Apalachee River, Ala.; and most prominently of all, in the
Appalachian Mountains, and other terms derived from them. Tallahassee, the
capital of Florida, the name of which signifies
"Old Town," is on the site of San Luis de Talimali, the principal Spanish
mission center. There is a post village named Apalachee in Morgan County,
Notes About the Book:
Source: The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, 1953, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 145, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing
has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual