APALACHEE

 

Geographical region : Florida

Lived normally in shacks made of straw

Language group : muskhogee

 

One of the principal native tribes of Florida, formerly holding the region north of the bay now called by the name, from about the neighborhood of Pensacola east to Ocilla River.

The chief towns were about the present Tallahassee and St Marks.

They were of Muskhogean stock, and linguistically more nearly related to the Choctaw than to the Creeks.

The name is of uncertain etymology, but is believed by Gatschet to be from the Choctaw A'palachi, signifying "(people) on the other side".

The Apalachee were visited by the expeditions under Narvaez in 1528 and De Soto in 1539, and the latter made their country his winter head quarters on account of its abundant resources for subsistence.

The people were agricultural, industrious and prosperous, and noted above all the surrounding tribes for their fighting qualities, of which the Spanish adventurers had good proof.

They continued resistance to the Spanish occupancy until after the year 1600, but were finally subdued and Christianized, their country becoming the most important center of missionary effort in Florida next to the St. Augustine (Timucua) district.

In 1655 they had 8 considerable towns, each with a Franciscan mission, besides smaller settlements, and a total population of 6,000 to 8,000.

Their prosperity continued until about the year 1700, when they began to suffer front the raids by the wild Creek tribes to the north, instigated by the English government of Carolina, the Apalachee themselves being strongly in the Spanish interest.

These attacks culminated in the year 1703, when a powerful expedition under Gov. Moore of Carolina, consisting of a company of white troops with a thousand armed savage allies of various tribes, invaded the Apalachee country, destroyed the towns and missions, with their fields and orange groves, killed the Spanish garrison commander and more than 200 Apalachee warriors, and carried off 1,400 of the tribe into slavery.

Another expedition about a year later ravaged the neighboring territory and completed the destruction.

The remnants of the Apalachee became fugitives among the friendly tribes or fled for protection to the French at Mobile, and although an effort was made by one of the Christian chiefs in 1718 to gather some of them into new mission villages (Soledad and San Luis) near Pensacola, the result was only temporarily successful.

A part of the deported Apalachee were colonized by the Carolina government on Savannah River, at a settlement known as Palachoocla (Palachi-okla), or Apalachicola, but were finally merged into the Creeks.

Those who settled under French protection near Mobile crossed the Mississippi into Louisiana after the cession of Florida to England in 1763, and continued to preserve their name and identity as late, at least, as 1804, when 14 families were still living on Bayou Rapide.

 

Among the principal Apalachee towns or mission settlements of certain identification are:

Apalachee (1528-39 and later, believed to have been near the present Tallahassee)

Avavalla

Ivitachuco

San Marcos

San Juan

Santa Cruz

San Luis (1718)

Soledad (1718)