The Chichimeco Invasion

Looking Northeast from Jones Creek. Cannon’s point is to the right, with Sapelo Island on the horizon.

The following excerpts were copied from John Worth’s The Struggle for the Georgia Coast p. 15-16

“The year 1661 marked the beginning of the end of the Guale and Mocama mission provinces. Late that spring, news arrived in St Augustine that “a nation of warrior Indians”, had struck Guale from the mainland……Although the details of this assault are only fragmentary, it seems clear that a body of perhaps as many as two hundred canoes and rafts, carrying between 500 and 2000 Chicimeco warriors armed with firearms , descended the modern day Altamaha River from the interior of Georgia and attacked the first town of Guale, Talaje,situated on the northern bank of the river near the modern day town of Darien. Based on accounts…this mission appears to have been abandoned as a direct result of the attack on Jun 20th, with its inhabitants fleeing to Mission San Joseph de Sapala, situated only five leagues distant in a more protected barrier island location off the coast….

…Mission San Joseph de Sapala, by then flooded with refugees, seems to have been the target of a second assault soon after the abandonment of Mission Santo Domingo [de Talaje.] Having constructed a “boat that they made from the boards of the church and the convent at Talaje,” (Barreda, 1663) The Chichimeco apparently endeavored to follow their initial victory with an attack on Sapala, probably navigating along the inland waterways to the bar of Ospogue ( modern Doboy sound), just across from Sapelo Island. filing the vessel with 70 warriors, the Chichimeco launched their construction into the open water, at which point “the current of the bar of Ospogue drew them out to sea, and they drowned in view of everyone, with no little sentiment from the enemy, though the said people being among those of the most valor.” Other Chicimecos, including “some of their principal leaders’ were killed in battle with the Gaule indians, and they lost “many more, who in their retreat and flight died of hunger on the roads”…

…The destruction and abandonment of Mission Santo Domingo de Talaje at the mouth of the Altamaha river was followed by the re establishment of the mission on nearby St Simons island under another name, Santo Domingo de Asao, probably located at Cannons point on the north end of the island. Although this southernmost Guale mission was situated on the same island as the northernmost Mocama mission San Buenaventura de Guadalquini [on the St Simons south end], the island location provided far greater security from raids originating from the interior, and probably easier access by boat…”

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