Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mission San Luis in Tallahassee, Florida

One of the most fascinating historic sites in Florida is Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. Established during the 1600s, this mission was for nearly fifty years the western capital of Spanish Florida.

The site today is a beautiful park area maintained by the State of Florida. In addition to a museum displaying archaeological finds from the site, the park features reconstructed Spanish and Native American structures including a massive Apalachee Indian council house, the church and friary of the mission, a typical 17th century Spanish home and Fort San Luis, the military post established to protect the mission.

Mission San Luis was the capital of the Apalachee Province during the latter half of the 17th century. The Apalachee were still then a powerful Native American tribe. They had battled Hernando de Soto during his brutal 1539-1540 explorations of Florida and were regarded by other Indians of the state as its most powerful nation.

When Franciscan missionaries began to work their way westward across Florida, the Apalachee still were in control of the vast region between the Ochlockonee and Suwannee Rivers. Despite one or two revolts, they generally worked peacefully with the missionaries and a large percentage of the tribe accepted Christianity.

San Luis served as both the Spanish and Apalachee capital for the province until 1704, when it was abandoned in the face of a major English-led military expedition.

To learn more this fascinating historic site, visit our new Mission San Luis page at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/missionsanluis.

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