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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.


"Daily Life by Marsh" A painting that depicts what daily life would have looked like for the Mocama along the banks of the marsh. Source: Warren Anderson, Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida Creator: James R. Jeffries Date: 2011
A Bench Outside of the Fort Caroline Replica A photo showing a bench outside of the Fort Caroline National Memorial. Source: Department of History, University of North Florida Creator: Amarilys Sánchez Date: 2023
Indigenous Fort Caroline Tour Map A map displaying the physical locations associated with each tour spot. You are now at Spot 11 in front of the bench 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, “11. The French Break their Treaty with the Mocamas,” Indigenous Florida, accessed April 20, 2024,