Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dominican Missionaries and the Luna Expedition


John E. Worth
© UWF Archaeology Institute

Though King Phillip II was principally focused on establishing a successful Spanish colony in Florida in order to head off rumored French colonization along the Atlantic coast there, and in so doing to assure the safety of Spain’s New World treasure fleets on their return voyage, the missionary potential of the Luna expedition was not far behind in Spanish thinking.  The possibility of distributing missionaries among the native peoples of southeastern North America in an effort to expand the reach of Christendom had long been a concurrent objective of Spanish exploration and colonization efforts in Florida, and not a single state-sanctioned expedition here lacked priests who served both as ministers to Spanish explorers and as prospective missionaries to the Indians they encountered.

Indeed, standard language in all royal contracts with officially-sanctioned expedition leaders included statements underlining the importance of both good treatment and conversion of native peoples.  In one of the original December 1557 decrees authorizing the Florida expedition that would eventually be led by Tristán de Luna a year and a half later (transcribed in Legajo 1013, Justicia, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain), the Spanish crown specifically directed that its leader should “bring the people of that land and provinces to the understanding of our holy Catholic faith by way of preaching and good treatment, and that among the people who might go [on the expedition] some missionaries should be sent, so that by means of them and their preaching they should come into knowledge of God our lord, and live in Christian order.”

By the time of the Luna expedition, the Dominican order had been involved in the mission effort in Florida for more than a decade, and had actually lost several members to martyrdom during the failed expedition of Fray Luis Cancer to Tampa Bay in 1549 (see Worth 2014:23-28,154-189).  Though Cancer’s idealistic strategy of converting the Florida natives using only a small group of missionaries without any military support was abandoned for the time being (though the Jesuits subsequently used the same approach in 1570 at Chesapeake Bay, with even more disastrous results), the Dominican order nonetheless sent six missionary priests on the Luna expedition.


Seal of the Order of Preachers, or Dominican Order, on the cover of Dávila Padilla (1625).

In charge of the group was provincial vicar Fray Pedro de Feria, accompanied by Frays Domingo de la Anunciación, Domingo de Salazar, Bartolomé Matheos, Juan de Mazuelas, and Diego de Santo Domingo.  A considerable amount of equipment accompanied the Dominicans; expedition financial records reveal that some 5,000 lbs. of “the ornaments and vestments necessary for the divine liturgy” were transported, along with some 2,000 lbs. of “goods and vestments” pertaining to the friars themselves, along with 900 lbs. of goods belonging to “the Indians who were going in the company of the missionaries who were going for the conversion of the natives of the said province of Florida” (Yugoyen 1569).  This latter group apparently included Southeastern Indian women that had been brought out during the 1539-1543 expedition of Hernando de Soto, who were serving as advisors to the Dominicans.  It was in fact these women who urged the Dominicans to insist that sufficient food be taken on the Luna expedition to avoid colonists having to rely on local Indian food stores, since this had been a serious cause of discord on previous Spanish expeditions (Feria et al. 1559).

Of the original Dominican party, Matheos drowned during the hurricane while awaiting shipboard to bring news to Spain, and Feria, Mazuelas, and Santo Domingo returned to New Spain after the main colony returned from Nanipacana in central Alabama to Santa María de Ochuse on Pensacola Bay (the Luna settlement).  The remaining two friars, Anunciación and Salazar, however, not only stayed throughout the rest of the expedition, but in fact played prominent roles throughout the entire Luna expedition, including having accompanied the detachment of 200 sent from Nanipacana to the chiefdom of Coosa in Northwest Georgia between April and November of 1560.  The detailed recollections of this thrust into the northern interior under Sergeant Major Mateo del Sauz formed an important part of the only major published account of the Luna expedition prior to the 20th century.  This account comprised a lengthy narrative almost certainly originally authored by Fray Domingo de la Anunciación himself, and that was subsequently embedded within the larger volume originally published in 1596 by Fray Augustín Dávila Padilla (2nd edition from 1625 online, linked below).  This narrative of the Luna expedition provides what amounts to a Dominican’s perspective on the events of the expedition, and gives amazing detail regarding the role of the missionaries within the colony, up to and including their role in resolving bitter internal disputes between Luna and his officers during the expedition’s second winter of 1560-1561, culminating in an emotional public reconciliation during Palm Sunday Mass.

Even though the Dominicans were sent primarily as missionaries tasked with initiating the conversion of the native peoples of Florida, their missionary work at Ochuse was actually quite limited; documents indicate that there was little interaction between the Luna settlers and scattered local Indian groups in the Pensacola Bay region, whose habitations were described as only consisting of “some few camps of Indians who appear to be fishermen,” and who had only “few possessions and roots” and were thus not seen as a reliable source of food that the colonists could trade for (Velasco 1559; Priestley 1928: v.1:116-119, v.2:274-275).  In fact, Anunciación himself reported only having baptized a single elderly Indian woman on her deathbed in the chiefdom of Coosa more than a hundred leagues into the interior, marveling at the irony that the entire expense and hardship of the Luna expedition had only achieved a single conversion (Dávila Padilla 1625:221-222). 

The actual role of the Dominicans on the expedition was much broader, and included ministering to the spiritual needs of the Luna soldiers and settlers themselves.  Even though the Dominicans were not the only clergy on the Luna expedition, the secular cleric Licenciado Juan Pérez de Barandalla was described by Viceroy Luis de Velasco as being opinionated and having a “rough” temperament (and apparently completely illegible handwriting), and thus the viceroy suggested that if he could not get along with the Dominicans he would be granted permission to leave, even though his service was needed as a supplement to the Dominicans in administering sacraments to so many Spaniards (Priestley 1928, v.1:110-111, 126-127).  Barandalla did ultimately remain until the April 1561 evacuation of most remaining settlers, but clearly occupied a secondary position.

The Dominican friars thus played a prominent role in acting as priests for the diverse members of the Luna expedition, leading daily Masses and administering other routine sacraments throughout the duration of the expedition.  Catholicism was very much a part of daily life for mid-16th-century Spaniards, and even the annual calendar itself was framed in the Catholic liturgical cycle, and each day was commonly known by its association with individual saints or religious feasts (see overview online here).  The importance of personal religiosity is also evidenced by the common presence of strings of wooden rosary beads and Latin prayer books among even the most ordinary sailor or soldier’s possessions inventoried and documented upon death (many such documents, called “bienes de difuntos,” are found in the Contratación section of the Archivo General de Indias in Seville).  Amazingly, some of these wooden prayer beads have even been recovered on the nearby Emanuel Point shipwrecks, along with a fragmentary amber bead probably from one of the more expensive rosaries in use at the time, also commonly made from jet, coral, bone, crystal, and jasper (see pictures below). 

Field shot of wooden bead from Emanuel Point II wreck (courtesy of Dr. John Bratten).


Amber bead fragment from Emanuel Point II shipwreck.

Every Spanish colonial town had its principal church on the main plaza, and the Luna settlement was no different; the Dávila Padilla narrative describes the church at Santa María de Ochuse as “a poor ramada that served as a church,” from which “the greater part of the people” processed daily to and from a large cross erected on the beach while saying the Litanies.  Though we have yet to find direct evidence of the location or configuration of the church at the Luna settlement, it doubtless would have been one of the largest structures on the site, fronting on the plaza in the main public district of the town.

While the Dominicans who accompanied the Luna expedition comprised only 6 out of the original population of 1,500 settlers, they nonetheless generated a comparatively substantial documentary record of the expedition as it unfolded on the ground, and played a pivotal role in the daily life of the settlement and its inhabitants.  Although the archaeological signature of the religious component of the expedition will likely be small in comparison to the more mundane realities of subsistence, housing, and other daily activities on site, we hope we will eventually be able to find some traces of the Dominican presence and the places they lived and worked in at the Luna settlement.

Selected References

Dávila Padilla, Augustín
1625    Historia de la Fundación y Discurso de la Provincia de Santiago de México de la Orden de Predicadores, por las vidas de sus varones insignes y casos Notables de Nueva España (pp. 189-229 for the Luna section).  Online Here

Feria, Pedro de, Domingo de la Anunciación, and Domingo de Salazar
1559    Letter to the Spanish Crown, May 4, 1559.  Legajo 280, Mexico, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain.

Priestly, Herbert Ingram
1928    The Luna Papers: Documents Relating to the Expedition of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano for the Conquest of La Florida in 1559-1561.  DeLand: Florida State Historical Society.  Volume I online Volume II online

Velasco, Luís de
1559    Letter to the Spanish Crown, September 24, 1559.  Legajo 19, Ramo 9, Patronato, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain.  Faulty transcription from Legajo 280, Mexico, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain, included in Priestley (1928, v.2:268-277).

Worth, John E.
2014    Discovering Florida: First-Contact Narratives of Spanish Expeditions along the Lower Gulf Coast.  University Press of Florida, Gainesville (ISBN: 978-0813049885).

Yugoyen, Martín de
1569    Audit of the accounts of Alonso Ortíz de Urrutia, deputy treasurer of Veracruz, March 21, 1554–January 31, 1559.  Legajo 877, Contaduría, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain.  Translations by R. Wayne Childers (1999) on file, Archaeology Institute, University of West Florida, Pensacola.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Royal Warehouse at the Luna Settlement


John E. Worth
© UWF Archaeology Institute
One of the first and most important public structures that would have been erected at the Luna settlement was the royal warehouse, which would have been the secure storage location for all the colony’s food, supplies, equipment, and munitions.  Referred to by various names in Luna expedition documentation including “Royal House” (casa real), “King’s House” (casa del rey), “Supply House” (casa del bastimento), and “Royal Treasury House” (casa de la real hacienda), the structure would have been located on the main town plaza and very likely nearest the path to the port landing, where supplies would have been offloaded.  Documentary accounts of the Luna expedition (many transcribed and translated in Priestley 1928, below) make it abundantly clear that during the first five weeks after Luna’s fleet entered Pensacola Bay, the settlers must have first set about exploring the bay and deciding on the best location to found their first town, after which they doubtless cleared the undergrowth and laid out the initial grid of streets and house lots, simultaneously unloading the equipment and supplies needed to begin constructing housing to shelter the 1,500 people that just disembarked.  Since the ships remained at anchor not far offshore, and could therefore be used as temporary floating warehouses to store anything not needed for the initial construction effort, the vast stores of food not immediately needed on land were left on board (Dávila Padilla 1625:194), and Luna’s colonists seem to have focused initially on getting their own residences erected.  Apparently, even this task was largely incomplete when the hurricane of September 19-20, 1559 arrived from the east (see Worth 2009), devastating most of the fleet and the food on board, and probably flattening many half-built structures on land.

The completion of a formal royal warehouse and other public structures probably post-dated the hurricane, but given the dire straits in which Luna’s settlers found themselves after the loss of most of their food stores and ships, its construction must have been a priority in the aftermath of the storm.  Correspondence between Tristán de Luna and the viceroy Luis de Velasco indicates that not only would such a warehouse be necessary to keep all remaining food and any relief supplies that would arrive over coming months under lock and key, but it would also be used to keep the sails, rudders, and oars of all vessels while anchored at port, minimizing the possibility that any of the settlers or stranded sailors could seize a vessel to escape Florida.  A huge amount of subsequent legal documentation generated in the Luna settlement itself (found in Legajo 1013, Justicia, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain, folios 96r-161v; see also Priestley 1928,v.1:198-v.2:137) confirms that the warehouse was kept locked and could only be opened by the royal officials Alonso Velázquez Rodríguez (treasurer) and Alonso Pérez (accountant) for the distribution of rations or anything else housed there.  Even Luna himself was barred from entry during 1560 disputes with his officers over the issuance of rations for an ill-advised journey inland to Coosa, and over his order to release the sails of a vessel to be sent to New Spain.  In those instances, the royal officials sided with the Maese de Campo Jorge Cerón in his refusal to allow Luna to make unilateral decisions without consulting all his company captains and other officers.

So what would this royal warehouse have looked like, and what might it have contained?  Like all the structures at Santa María de Ochuse, the warehouse would have been constructed of wood poles and planks, and probably roofed with either thatch or perhaps cypress bark, possibly even with the use of some clay daubing.  It would likely have been a substantial structure, likely among the largest in the settlement with the possible exception of the church.

No inventory of the contents of the royal warehouse at the Luna settlement has yet been found, and unfortunately much of the equipment and armaments shipped from Mexico City’s own armory for the expedition was transported in uninventoried crates according to the records we do possess. So apart from a few brief mentions in the documents, to some extent we are left with only the archaeological traces of lost or broken items at the site of the warehouse as direct evidence of its general contents.  Fortunately, however, we do have a few comparative inventories from royal warehouses in Florida’s later settlements at St. Augustine and Santa Elena, and these can provide us a rough “snapshot” of the kinds of things normally stored in such a structure (see also Lyon 1992).  A pair of 1569 inventories from the warehouse at Pedro Menéndez’s settlement at Santa Elena (found in Legajo 941, Contaduría, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain) illustrate a diverse range of items, including not just foodstuffs but also clothing, tools and supplies, a wide range of containers, and an array of weapons, armor, and even artillery (presumably mounted at the fort, but still under inventory control of the quartermaster).

Santa Elena Warehouse, 1569
Pedro Menendez Marquez and Juan de la Bandera combined inventories (modernized quantities)
Food
35 casks of wheat flour with 775 lbs. of flour in each one
18 casks of flour from New Spain, each one with 8 iron hoops, full and in good condition.
3 casks of rotten flour
12,450 lbs. of corn
3,453 liters of wine in 11 casks
25 liters of olive oil in 4 olive jars
1.5 liters of honey in an olive jar
734 lbs. of salt at the amount of 140 lbs. per fanega, amounting to 5.25 fanegas

Clothing
18 pairs of stockings
7 felt hats with their thin cords
25 blankets, 20 all white and 5 striped
32 complete sword belts, and another 2 hangers without belts
40 pairs of sandals
19 pairs of shoes

Tools and Supplies
2 steelyard scales, one weighing 378 lbs. with its weight, and the other of 200 lbs. with its weight
2 balances of iron with copper pans
2 iron weights, one of 1 lb. and the other of ½ lb.
1 iron pick
5 shovels of iron
3 mattocks
9 pole hooks
1 small grindstone for grinding
2 pairs of shackles
1 set of prison stocks, old, broken, and without a lock
2 iron padlocks with keys and without screws
300 lbs. of scantling nails
175 lbs. of siding nails
150 lbs. of flooring nails
151 lbs. of bolts
2 large cauldrons for whaling
17 harpoons for whaling
10 lancets
3 spoons
1 basket with 20 whaling knives

Containers
1 large copper cauldron weighing 34 lbs.
1 large copper pot weighing 50 lbs.
1 copper pitcher with 7.5 liter capacity
2 wine bags with their nozzles
392 wooden bowls, small and large
90 wooden plates
8 ceramic olive jars of ½ arroba [6.28 liters]
88 casks that were received with wine and flour and empty.
41 broken casks
360 iron barrel hoops
5 burlap sacks
3 crates without locks or keys
7 barrels in which the nails [above] were received

Weapons and Armor
17 complete crossbows
17 goats-foot levers
49 dozen crossbow bolts
17 cords, on each crossbow its own
7 crossbow stocks
17 quivers.
8 pikes with their tips
8 extra pike tips
117 bucklers of dragon-tree wood
65 escaupiles (cotton padded armor)

Artillery
1 bronze cannon weighing 5,369 lbs.
1 bronze cannon weighing 5,250 lbs.
1 bronze half-saker
1 bronze half-saker weighing 385 lbs.
1 bronze half-saker weighing 1,414 lbs.
1 bronze half-culverin weighing __96 lbs.
1 bronze half-culverin weighing 3,140 lbs.
1 bronze saker weighing 2,021 lbs.
1 bronze saker weighing 1,200 lbs.
1 bronze piece weighing up to 900 lbs.
37 barrels of gunpowder, and in them are 3,515 lbs. of cannon powder
175 lbs. of arquebus powder in 2 barrels
309 artillery balls
9 copper loaders for loading the said [artillery] pieces
_ ramrods
1 hoist for the service of the artillery
1 large iron hammer for the said [artillery]
8 pulleys of wood for the service of the artillery
36 loafs of lead that weighed 4,435 lbs.
3 molds for making shot for versos [small artillery]

To these comparative inventories from 16th-century east Florida we may also add a 1559 list of munitions, tools, and trade goods requested from Spain by Viceroy Luis de Velasco for the use of Luna’s Florida expedition (found in Legajo 283, Contaduría, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain).  Even though these goods may never have actually been offloaded at the Luna settlement (the request was not fulfilled in Spain until early 1560, and the shipment did not arrive in New Spain until mid-year for dispatch on one of the relief expeditions), they nonetheless provide an illustration of some of the kinds of items that may have been included in uninventoried crates loaded on the first fleet, that eventually ended up stored in the royal warehouse at Santa María de Ochuse.

Munitions, Tools, and Trade Goods Requested by the Viceroy of New Spain for the Florida Colony, 1559
Tools and Supplies
50 [pieces of] canvas
50 barrels of tar
10,000 lbs. of pitch
600 lbs. of bolts, each 3/8 of a yard long
600 lbs. of sharp half-foot nails, of the longest that are found
6,000 lbs. of round bolts
1,000 lbs. of siding nails
1,000 lbs. of flooring nails
1,000 lbs. of half-size flooring nails
50,000 tacks
100,000 pump tacks
2 pairs of bellows, some large and others small
10,000 lbs. of sheet and bar iron
2,000 lbs. of steel
12 levers
12 iron mattocks and as many shovels
4 grapnel anchors for the shallops, each one of 400 lbs.
2 grapnels for the skiffs
2 seine nets for fishing, each one 60 fathoms long, with their accessories

Trade Goods
2 boxes filled with glass beads of all types
some little brass basins and red buttons and knives from Flanders and scissors and cheap mirrors and hawk’s bells, all of which should cost up to 200 ducats
400 yards of simple taffetas, yellow and sunflower and red and blue and carmine
1 dozen pieces of linen from Calcutta
1 piece of blue cloth
1 yellow piece
2 red pieces
1 green piece
1 purple piece

Weapons and Armor
150 inexpensive arquebuses
50 breastplates
50 Biscayan corselets
100 morion helmets
50 round shields
1,000 javelins
200 light javelins
200 half-pikes
100 pikes
4,000 lbs. of gunpowder
1,000 lbs. of sulfer
12 goat’s foot levers

Artillery
2 bronze artillery pieces of 2,000 lbs., each one with 200 iron shot
2 bronze artillery pieces of 1,500 lbs. with 300 iron shot
4 bronze falconets with chambers of up to 800 or 1000 lbs., each one with 600 shot

Indeed, the 2015 discovery by UWF archaeologists of a handful of glass trade beads along with hundreds of sherds of Spanish olive jars and other ceramics, plus an array of wrought iron nails and diverse other materials, and several small subsurface pits that might have been used for storage, would seem to provide support for the idea that this particular location may well have been the site of the settlement’s warehouse.

Trade beads from the Luna settlement site (left: Nueva Cadiz bead; right: Faceted 7-Layer Chevron beads)


Further testing and analysis of artifact assemblages across the Luna settlement site may eventually allow us to understand whether residential areas and other specialized structures and activity areas had different relative proportions of specific categories of material culture. In addition, we will search for physical traces of the public and private structures erected there more than 450 years ago, such as preserved posts or more ephemeral traces of architectural features.  While this type of archaeological analysis and interpretation is by no means an easy or quick affair, we look forward to making inroads into understanding the internal configuration of the Luna settlement, and getting better glimpses of the lives of its 16th-century inhabitants.

Selected References

Dávila Padilla, Augustín
1625    Historia de la Fundación y Discurso de la Provincia de Santiago de México de la Orden de Predicadores, por las vidas de sus varones insignes y casos Notables de Nueva España (pp. 189-229 for the Luna section).  Online Here

Lyon, Eugene
1992    Richer Than We Thought: The Material Culture of Sixteenth-Century St. Augustine.  El Escribano 29:1-117.

Priestly, Herbert Ingram
1928 The Luna Papers: Documents Relating to the Expedition of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano for the Conquest of La Florida in 1559-1561.  DeLand: Florida State Historical Society.  Volume I online Volume II online

Worth, John E.
2009    Documenting Tristán de Luna’s Fleet, and the Storm that Destroyed It.  The Florida Anthropologist 62(3-4): 83-92.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Feeding the Luna Expedition: What did mid-16th-century Spaniards normally eat? (Part 2)

John E. Worth
© UWF Archaeology Institute

The Tristán de Luna expedition was organized, supplied, and launched from New Spain (modern Mexico), and thus while it was populated mostly by Spaniards, most of them had been living in New Spain for years or even decades. Some were even the children of the first conquistadors, born and raised in the New World.  For this reason, even though the diet of colonists in New Spain was fundamentally based on the Iberian Spanish pattern of the era, there were unquestionably adaptations and modifications owing to the fact that Spanish colonists had been living among and interacting with the indigenous people of New Spain for more than a generation by 1559.  Not only had new foods been incorporated into colonial Spanish foodways, but new tools and utensils accompanying these foods were being used as well.  

A good example of this is the substantial proportion of corn shipped on Luna’s original colonization fleet, far greater than the amount of hardtack and unprocessed wheat flour that was also present, along with the substitution of frijoles (New World beans) instead of the normal fava beans, chickpeas, and rice serving as vegetables and starches (compiled from expense records in Legajo 877, Contaduría, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain). 

Food for the Luna Expedition
Item
Amount
Unit
Corn
288683
kilos
Hardtack
132523
kilos
Wheat Flour
6579
kilos
New World Beans
22774
kilos
Chickpeas
207
kilos
Rice
52
kilos
Beef
58915
kilos
Pork
10272
kilos
Fish
1404
kilos
Cheese
937
kilos
Salt
10628
kilos
Olive Oil
6132
liters
Wine
7875
liters
Vinegar
17408
liters

These foods marked a significant departure from the normal dietary staples used in Spain at the time. Furthermore, they required adaptations in associated equipment and practices, since corn was normally shipped as whole dried kernels to avoid spoilage, and had to be ground before consumption.  For the Luna expedition, we see this in the form of more than 1,650 kilograms (18 cargas weighing 200 lbs. each) of basalt grinding stones transported from Xalapa to be loaded on Luna’s ships for use in the Florida colony., We have already found several fragments of these grinding stones at the Luna settlement (pictured below).

Two views of basalt mano fragment found at the Luna settlement.


Documents also reveal that this ground corn was normally formed into tortillas, with a little more than a third of a kilo (4 almudes, weighing about 18.5 kilos, rationed for 50 days) of corn daily being enough for nine tortillas as rationed by Luna in the summer of 1560 (Priestley 1928,v.2:8-9; see conversions online here).

Some of Luna’s relief supplies were brought directly from Cuba after the 1559 hurricane (more on that in a later blog post). While we have no inventory of what was brought to Ochuse, we can nonetheless turn to slightly later records of supply expeditions directly from Havana to the forts established and maintained by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in South Florida between 1566 and 1570 (found in Legajo 1174, Contaduría, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain).  These records reveal that, in addition to the substitution of corn for the majority of the staple grains supplied to Spanish soldiers stationed in small garrisons at Mound Key, Tampa Bay, and Miami during those years, Cuban supplies substituted cassava root instead of the more typical beans, chickpeas, and rice used as vegetables and starches.

Food for South Florida Forts, 1566-1570
Item
Amount
Units
Corn
62572
kilos
Wheat Flour
33495
kilos
Hardtack
25305
kilos
Cassava
23005
kilos
Beef
17253
kilos
Pigs
300
item
Hens
100
item
Goats
30
item
Wine
26450
liters
Vinegar
1896
liters
Olive Oil
1884
liters
Honey
97
liters

Perhaps in part due to the proximity of Havana, live animals were also supplied including pigs, hens, and goats.  An unspecified number of live chickens were loaded into nearly 40 chicken coops on Luna’s original fleet, and the expedition treasurer Alonso Velázquez Rodríguez later testified in his 1562 service record that he brought sheep, goats, and calves back from Cuba to the Florida settlement at his own cost after the hurricane (found in Legajo 65, No. 1, Ramo 14, Patronato, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain), so the inventory of supplies sent to the Menéndez forts may well resemble the types of foods eaten by Luna colonists during their stay at Pensacola.

In contrast to the supplies in Menéndez’s South Florida forts, however, foods stored in the warehouses at the two primary Spanish colonial settlements at St. Augustine and Santa Elena during these same years were somewhat more Iberian in character, presumably because many were shipped directly from Spain (found in Legajo 941, Contaduría, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain).  Neither corn nor cassava or New World beans were present in the inventories reviewed, and only a small portion of the wheat flour was kept as hardtack, with the vast majority being wheat flour that could be baked into fresh bread.

Food for Santa Elena and St. Augustine, 1567-1569
Item
Amount
Unit
Wheat Flour
118244
kilos
Hardtack
7593
kilos
Chickpeas and Fava Beans
4440
liters
Beef
518
kilos
Cheese
644
kilos
Raisins
368
kilos
Almonds
138
kilos
Salt
2452
kilos
Wine
29708
liters
Vinegar
20904
liters
Olive Oil
19265
liters
Honey
2
liters

What is important to learn from these supply inventories is the fact that mid-16th-century Spaniards living in Spain’s overseas colonies likely used a mixed assortment of dietary staples based principally on longstanding Iberian foodways and traditions, but commonly incorporating a number of New World foods that had already become important in colonial diets.  For this reason, we might expect to find not just the standard array of Spanish material culture associated with food consumption, preparation, storage, and transport, but probably also a number of other items that would have been more typical of other New World cultures including Mesoamerican and Caribbean culinary traditions.  And perhaps most importantly of all, by virtue of losing most of their original food supplies in the 1559 hurricane that left them stranded, the Luna colonists living at Santa María de Ochuse were also forced to adapt quickly and seek completely new food resources in and around Pensacola and the interior regions to the north.  Documents including survivors’ service records indicate that in addition to trading for food with Native American groups in the interior of Alabama and Georgia (and occasionally appropriating untended or abandoned supplies), Luna expedition members hunted and fished as well.  Experimentation with unknown plants was also attempted, and while at least a few colonists reportedly died from poisonous plants (Dávila Padilla 1625:201), the fact that most did not indicates that the Luna settlers must have found a variety of ways to meet their caloric needs. We look forward to exploring the colony’s foodways archaeologically throughout this summer’s fieldwork and beyond.

Selected References

Dávila Padilla, Augustín
1625    Historia de la Fundación y Discurso de la Provincia de Santiago de México de la Orden de Predicadores, por las vidas de sus varones insignes y casos Notables de Nueva España (pp. 189-229 for the Luna section).  Online Here

Priestly, Herbert Ingram
1928 The Luna Papers: Documents Relating to the Expedition of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano for the Conquest of La Florida in 1559-1561.  DeLand: Florida State Historical Society.  Volume I online Volume II online