First Contact

The world of the indigenous peoples of Florida was forever changed by the arrival of the Spanish, French, and English in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. In less than 200 years, eighty percent of the native population, hundreds of thousands of natives, were killed by "Old World" diseases, enslavement, and warfare with the Europeans. By 1750 only a few remained alive.

The ais

The "Requerimiento", read by Spanish Conquistadors to the people of the "New World", made it clear that they had arrived to conquer the land and its people.

"We beseech and demand... that you accept the Church and the Superior Organization of the whole world and recognize the supreme Pontiff, called the Pope, and that in his name you acknowledge the King and Queen... his representatives, as the lords and superior authorities of these islands and main lands... If you do not do this, or resort maliciously to delay, we warn you that, with the aid of God, we will enter your land against you with force and will make war in every place and by every means we can and are able, and we will then subject you to the yoke and authority of the church and of their Highnesses. We will take you and your wives and children and make them slaves... And we will take your property and will do you all the harm and evil we can..."

Click on one of the names listed below to learn more about the expeditions, colonization attempts, and the establishment of missions among the natives that led to their decimation and eventual destruction. For the stories of the "discovery of America" are also the stories of the Florida Indians.

Juan Ortiz 1527
Hernando de Soto 1539

Others coming soon:

Panfilo de Narvaez 1527
Pedro Menendez de Aviles 1565
Rene de Laudonniere 1564
Tristan de Lina y Arellano 1559
Juan Ponce de Leon 1513
Christopher Columbus 1492
Diego Miruelo 1516
Francisco Hernandez de Cordova 1517
Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda 1519
Jean Ribault 1562