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Gold, Silver, Copper and Greenstone

In many sections of his book, René Goulaine de Laudonniére discussed being given or seeing gold chains, gold sheets, gold nuggets, slabs of silver and silver ore.  The valuable metals were always in the possession of the provincial leaders or town chiefs.  Both at Charlesfort and Fort Caroline, the former owners of the gold and silver consistently stated that these precious commodities came from the mountains to the north.   This is exactly what the Natives in the Florida Panhandle told members of the de Soto Expedition and South Carolina Natives told Spanish Captain Juan Pardo in 1567. By late 1564 food had become scarce at Fort Carolina because local Indians had become somewhat hostile to the colonists. The Frenchmen had not committed any atrocities toward their neighbors, but the locals were getting tired of feeding a foreign people, who showed signs of wanting the take over their land.  A faction of the garrison staged a mutiny.   René Goulaine de Laudonniére was not murdered, but he was put in chains, while his officers were disarmed.  The mutineers resented rationing and their commander’s plans to build a boat and return to France.  They demanded the right to both contact the Spanish for food (not a good idea) and also make contact with the Apalachee gold miners in the Georgia Mountains. Three small parties or individuals were given permission to explore widely in the Southeast. La Roche Ferriére headed north on the May River to find the Native gold mines. As proof of his success in finding trade opportunities with the Mountain Apalache’s, he shipped back to Fort Caroline mantles woven with...

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