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9. La Caroline in the Mocama World

“Building la Caroline” National Park Service display

“During those days, the Paracousi Satouriona, who was our closest neighbour and on whose lands we were building our fort, would come.” – René Goulaine de Laudonnière, 1564

As you begin to approach the replica of the French fort, you are still in Mocama territory. The Mocamas only allowed the French to stay on their lands because of a treaty they entered into in 1564. Parucusi Saturiwa, the high chief of the Mocamas, took charge of negotiating the treaty. The French could build their fort and settlement in Mocama territory, but they would have to follow Mocama foreign policy - by allying with Mocama allies, and warring against their enemies. This was a military alliance. But it was not an alliance made by equals. The French not only lived in Mocama territory but also depended on the Mocamas for food, information, and connections to other Indigenous communities.

Mocama leaders hoped the French would prove to be good allies but were rightfully cautious. The French were a military force - almost entirely men and mostly soldiers and sailors, as well as some craftsmen who could build ships and a fort. In the Mocama world, women played an essential role in diplomacy because women governed Mocama families and created the ties that truly bound people together. But both in 1562 and 1564, the French brought few women and they did not have the authority that Mocama women wielded. In Mocama society, power and political authority ultimately came from a balance of women and men who led their families, towns, and nation.

Parucusi Saturiwa also supervised the French construction of the original fort in Mocama. He monitored French activities, assessing French usefulness as military allies. Mocamas partly constructed the fort and surrounding houses. French carpenters built the fort’s walls from wood but didn’t know how to weave palm fronds into roofs for their homes. Saturiwa organized 70 to 80 skilled Mocama men to thatch their roofs. Over time, the French tried to claim Fort Caroline as their own colony. The Mocamas disagreed. This was still Mocama territory. The French were guests. They were not permanent residents and land owners.


La Caroline in the Mocama World Audio Narration This is an audio narration for this stop on the Indigenous Fort Caroline Tour. Source: Department of History, Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida Creator: Savanna Courtney-Durrett Date: 2024


"Fort Caroline in the Mocama World" A painting depicting the building of Fort Caroline in the Mocama World. Mocama resources, labor, and power were part of the negotiations that built this fort. Source: National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center Commissioned Art Collection (HFCCAC) Creator: Richard Schlecht Date: 1999
"The Building of La Caroline" National Park Service Wayside Display A still image of "The Building of La Caroline" National Park Service wayside display located on the path prior to entering the replica fort. Source: National Park Service Creator: The National Park Service at the Fort Caroline National Memorial
Indigenous Fort Caroline Tour Map A map displaying the physical locations associated with each tour spot. You are now at Spot 9 in front of the "Building la Caroline" National Park Service display located outside of the Fort Caroline replica. Our path takes you from the Main Parking Lot, past the Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center, overlooking the river, along the Fort Caroline Memorial Trail, to the actual replica of Fort Caroline. Source: Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida, and the National Park Service Creator: Michael Boyles and the National Park Service at the Fort Caroline National Memorial Date: 2023



Indigenous Florida, “9. La Caroline in the Mocama World,” Indigenous Florida, accessed July 17, 2024,