Fort San Juan: Lost (1568) and Found (2013)

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time: 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Contact: Connie Rodriguez · rodrigue@loyno.edu · (504)865-2287

Location: Whitney Bank Presentation Room, Thomas Hall

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Whitney Bank Presentation Room
Thomas Hall
8PM

“Fort San Juan: Lost (1568) and Found (2013)”
BY Christopher B. Rodning
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Tulane University

Spanish conquistadores and colonists explored and settled parts of the southern Appalachians during the mid-sixteenth century, and they encountered diverse Native American groups in the northern borderlands of the Spanish colonial province of La Florida.  Hernando de Soto and his expedition traversed the southern Appalachians in 1540, and Captain Juan Pardo marched inland from Santa Elena, the first colonial capital of La Florida, to the edge of the mountains in 1566.  At the Native American town of Joara, located in western North Carolina, Pardo and his men built Fort San Juan and founded the Spanish colonial town of Cuenca.  Following his normal diplomatic practice, Pardo formed an alliance with the community of Joara and its leadership, but written accounts hint that relations worsened in 1567, and that Native American warriors attacked Fort San Juan and other colonial outposts built by the Pardo expeditions in the Carolinas and eastern Tennessee in 1568.  Following these and other attacks on Spanish colonial outposts in La Florida in the 1560s and 1570s, the focus of Spanish colonialism in the American South shifted from exploration and military installation to missionization and trade.  Recent archaeological excavations at the Berry site in western North Carolina have shed light on the architecture and material culture of the Spanish colonial settlement at Joara, the spatial relationship between the colonial town and fort and the Native American town at the site, and the nature of encounters and entanglements between the local host community and the remote Spanish colonial outpost that was once there.  Events that took place at the site had profound implications for the course of Spanish colonialism in the American South, and for the course of European colonial history in North Carolina and North America, more broadly.

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