Mark Woods: A river guide and the last of the Timucuans


When Lars Andersen paddles close to St. Augustine, he tries to image what it seemed like, smelled like and maybe most of all, felt like on a day in 1763.

He needs others to image that day and know the story — or what little we all know — of Juan Alsonso Cabale.

Cabale is believed to be The Final Timucuan.

When he died 4 years after leaving St. Augustine, it was the top of a timeline stretching again greater than 10,000 years.

The 250th anniversary of Cabale’s dying — Nov. 14, 1767 in Guanabacoa, Cuba — got here and went a few weeks in the past.

Even in the midst of Nationwide Native American Heritage Month, there was little fanfare.

However when Andersen, a sixty one-yr-previous river information, paddled a few of our waterways he thought concerning the anniversary and the person he typically refers to easily as “Alonso,” as in the event that they’ve turn into shut. Which in a approach, they’ve.

Andersen and his spouse personal Journey Outpost in Excessive Springs. For 20 years, he’s been main excursions on greater than 50 North Florida waterways, writing a weblog, publishing one ebook (“Paynes Prairie: A Historical past and Information”) and dealing on one other.

By way of the years, as he’s paddled Florida’s rivers and researched our historical past, he’s began to view the story of The Final Timucuan as a narrative of loss and disconnect.

“My excursions have began to really feel like a private campaign to assist re-forge the connection that was misplaced,” he stated.

4 years in the past, when the state sponsored occasions titled “Viva Florida” to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of Ponce de Leon arriving on our shores, Andersen determined to do a collection of paddling excursions that he referred to as “Viva Timucua.”

He was struck by the just about too good symmetry of one thing tragically imperfect. The five hundredth anniversary of that 1513 starting additionally was the 250th anniversary of an finish — that day in 1763 in St. Augustine.

The Spaniards had misplaced Florida to Nice Britain. They have been crusing to Cuba. With them have been the final 89 full-blooded Timucuan males, ladies and youngsters.

Historians estimate that when Europeans first arrived in North Florida and South Georgia, there have been perhaps 200,000 Timucua Indians dwelling right here. That inhabitants, which had survived all manners of challenges for hundreds of years, shortly dwindled via illness and sword.

Because the Spanish created a system of missions, the Timucua typically got the selection between conversion to Catholicism or dying. Even those that select to transform typically…



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