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14. Mocama Power

“Death, Survival, and Revenge” National Park Service Display

The fate of Fort Caroline always rested in Mocama hands. Still, the French had wasted little time in breaking their treaty with the Mocamas. This betrayal and Mocama power over what happened in their territory contributed to the failure of the French colonial project. The final assaults by the Spanish brought la Caroline to a quicker end. However, it was already failing.

But then the Spanish moved into Mocama territory. They built a new fort called San Mateo on top of la Caroline, claiming the French settlement site by right of conquest. The Mocamas, however, had not been conquered. This led to years of warfare between the Mocamas and Spanish as the Mocamas tried to oust the new intruders from their homelands.

When a French captain named Dominique de Gourgues sought revenge against the Spanish in 1568, Mocamas joined forces with the French. For the first time, they battled together against a shared enemy. Mocama leaders had not forgotten how the French had violated their treaty just a few years earlier. But, the Mocamas saw an opportunity to get rid of the Spanish intruders by joining with the French–much as they had allowed the Spanish to attack the French without warning in 1565. The Mocamas were not French “friends.” They were an independent people, who fought to protect their hasocare (families) and their utimile (homeland) by making military alliances.

Although the Mocamas and French succeeded in capturing the Spanish fort, the Mocamas were not able to oust the Spanish from their territory forever. In the coming decades the Spanish shifted to using Franciscans as their primary colonizers and the Mocamas were one of their main mission fields.

Images

Fort Caroline Replica on the St. Johns River A photo of the Fort Caroline National Memorial along the banks of the St. Johns River. Source: Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida Creator: Michael Boyles Date: 2023
Entrance to the Fort Caroline Replica A photo of the entrance to the Fort Caroline National Memorial Source: Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida Creator: Michael Boyles Date: 2023
"Death, Survival, and Revenge" National Park Service Display A still image of the "Death, Survival, and Revenge" National Park Service wayside display located inside of the Fort Caroline National Memorial. Source: National Park Service Creator: National Park Service 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 14 in front of the “Death, Survival, and Revenge” National Park Service display located inside 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

Location

Metadata

Indigenous Florida, “14. Mocama Power,” Indigenous Florida, accessed April 20, 2024, https://indigenousflorida.domains.unf.edu/items/show/47.