The Spanish and The Natives

pardo_coverFairly early in my research, I wanted to learn more about the early Native Americans and how they lived and what their world was like in the early days.  That’s when I stumbled across a book about the Juan Pardo expedition and exploration of the late 16th century.  Juan Pardo was a Spanish conquistador who arrived in South Carolina in 1566 with a mission to find a shorter route to the Mexican silver mines.  He and his men believed that they would be at the silver mines in Mexico once they crossed the Appalachian Mountains.  Obviously, that didn’t work out, but in the meantime his expedition traveled throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee and had many interactions with the Native Americans.  The expedition had a “secretary” of sorts who recorded many of their adventures.  The Spanish took the “conquistador” title seriously.  They made many demands of the Native Americans, forcing them to convert to their religion, to create and maintain storehouses of food for them, swear loyalty to them, and used them for translators, guides, hunters, and spies.  Generally speaking, it wasn’t a great relationship.  There are numerous stories of battles, murders, stealing of women, taking of dogs for food, and other assorted and sordid tales.  The book was a good read, both entertaining and educational.  The actual title of the book is “The Juan Pardo Expeditions, Exploration of the Carolinas and Tennessee 1566-1568” by Charles Hudson.  It’s available in digital format on Amazon and other providers.

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