11. The French Break their Treaty with the Mocamas
Saturiwa “sent messengers to Laudonnière, not merely to confirm the treaty they had entered into between them, but also in order that the latter should stand by the terms of the agreement, specifically by proving that he was a friend of the chief’s friends and an enemy of his enemies.” – Jacques le Moyne, c. 1564
The Mocamas expected the French colonists living on their land to behave as good allies and guests. In their treaty, the French agreed to join the Mocamas in their ongoing war against their main Indigenous enemies: the Thimogonas. The Thimogonas were a separate, powerful Timucua-speaking nation to the southwest of the Mocamas.
Just weeks after agreeing to the terms of the treaty, the French began to make their own contact with the enemy Thimogonas. The Thimogonas' high chief, named Parucusi Utina, told the French that he had direct access to gold and silver mines in the Appalachian mountains—mines which did not exist. (The Mocamas, Thimogonas, and other Indigenous nations in present-day Florida had gold and silver. But they salvaged and traded it from Spanish ships that periodically wrecked off the coasts. The Spanish shipped gold and silver across the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to Spain. But this gold and silver actually belonged to the Indigenous people of Mexico and Peru.)
The Mocamas soon discovered that the French had betrayed them. The French had refused to join Mocama war parties against the Thimogonas. But French soldiers accompanied Parucusi Utina in several different attacks on Thimogona enemies who—Utina claimed—blocked the way to the Appalachian mountains. Utina had played the French, and the French had broken their treaty with the Mocamas.