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Utina Indians

Utina Indians or Timucua Indians. The first name, which probably refers to the chief and means “powerful,” is perhaps originally from uti, “earth,” while the second name, Timucua, is that from which the linguistic stock, or rather this Muskhogean subdivision of it, has received its name.

Utina Connections. As given above.

Utina Location. The territory of the Utina seems to have extended from the Suwannee to the St. Johns and even eastward of the latter, though some of the subdivisions given should be rated as independent tribes. (See Timucua under Georgia.)

Utina Towns

Laudonniere (1586) states that there were more than 40 under the Utina chief, but among them he includes “Acquera” (Acuera) and Moquoso far to the south and entirely independent, so that we are uncertain regarding the status of the others he gives, which are as follows: Cadecha, Calanay, Chilili, Eclauou, Molona. Omittaqua, and Onachaquara.

As the Utina, with the possible exception of the Potano, was the leading Timucua division and gave its name to the whole, and as the particular tribe to which each town mentioned in the documents belonged cannot be given, it will be well to enter all here, although those that can be placed more accurately will be inserted in their proper places.

In De Soto’s time Aguacaleyquen or Caliquen seems to have been the principal town. In the mission period we are told that the chief lived at Ayaocuto. Acassa, a town inland from Tampa Bay.

Utina History. The Utina were evidently those Indians occupying the province called Aguacaleyquen which De Soto passed through in 1539. In 1564 the French came in contact with them after the establishment of Fort Caroline. On one occasion they sent a contingent to help them defeat the neighboring Potano. After the Spaniards had supplanted the French, the Timucua allied themselves with the former and in 1576 or 1577 a body of soldiers was sent to support them against several neighboring tribes. They were missionized at a comparatively early date, and afterward followed the fortunes of the rest of the Timucua. Following is a brief over-all sketch of the history of the tribes constituting the Timucuan group. They first came into contact with Europeans during Ponce de Leon’s initial expedition in 1513 when the peninsula and subsequently the State received its name. Narvaez in 1528 and De Soto in 1539 passed through the country of the western tribes. Ribault visited those on and near St. Johns River in 1562, and the French settlers of Fort Caroline on that river in 1564-65 were in close contact with them. A considerable part of our knowledge regarding these Indians is contained in the records of that colony. The Spaniards supplanted the French in 1565 and gradually conquered the Timucua tribes while the Franciscans missionized them. Our knowledge of the Timucua language is derived mainly from religious works by the missionaries Pareja and Mouilla and a grammar compiled by the former. During the early half of the seventeenth century the missions were in a flourishing condition but a general rebellion in 1656 occasioned some losses by death and exile. They also suffered severely from pestilences which raged in the missions in 1613-17, 1649-50, and 1672. It is probable that some decline in population took place even before the great rebellion but that and the epidemics occasioned considerable losses. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, however, all the Florida Indians began to suffer from the invasion of Creek and Yuchi Indians to the northward, and this was accentuated after the break-up of the Apalachee in 1704 by the expedition under Moore. Most of the remaining Timucua were then concentrated into missions near St. Augustine, but this did not secure immunity against further attacks by the English and their Indian allies. Sometime after 1736 the remnants of these people seem to have removed to a stream in the present Volusia County which in the form Tomoka bears their name. Here they disappear from history, and it is probable that they were swallowed up by the invading Seminole.

Utina Population. The Timucua, in the wide extent of the term, are estimated by Mooney (1928) to have numbered 13,000 in 1650, including 3,000 Potano, 1,000 Hostaqua, 8,000 Timucua proper and their allies, and 1,000 Tocobaga. In a letter dated February 2, 1635, it is asserted that 30,000 Christian Indians were connected with the 44 missions then maintained in the Guale and Timucua provinces. While this figure is probably too high, it tends to confirm Mooney’s (1928) estimate. In 1675 Bishop Calderón of Cuba states that he confirmed 13,152 in the four provinces of Timucua, Guale. Apalache, and Apalachicoli, but Governor Salazar estimates only 1,400 in the Timucua missions that year. Later, pestilences decimated the Timucua very rapidly, and their ruin was completed by attacks of the English and the northern Indians, so that by 1728 the single town which seems to have contained most of the survivors had but 15 men and 20 women. Eight years later 17 men were reported there. Not long after this time the tribe disappears entirely, though it is highly probable that numbers of individuals who had belonged to it had made their homes with other Indians.

As to the Utina tribe by itself, we have a missionary letter dated 1602 which estimates its population as 1,500, in this case probably an understatement.

Connection in which they have become noted. This tribe, known as the Utina or Timucua, is noteworthy

  1. for having given its name to the peoples of the Timucuan or Timuquanan stock now regarded as part of the Muskogean family, and
  2. as having been, next perhaps to the Potano, the most powerful tribe constituting that stock.

The Timucuan group has left its name in that of the river above mentioned.