Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tolomato–Franciscan Mission Indian Village


As we know, the word Tolomato entered St Augustine’s geographical vocabulary in connection with a mission village of Guale Indians of that name, brought to St Augustine from South Georgia in the 17th century when they were forced to flee the attacks of other tribes. They first settled on what is now the Tolomato River, about 8 miles north of St Augustine, and our bishop at the time, Bishop Calderon of Cuba, reports visiting the village in 1675. 

The bronze map in the photo is at the Mission Nombre de Dios and shows the chain of missions that spread out from St Augustine.


After the British attacks of the dawn of the 18th century, in 1706, the Spanish governor issued a proclamation requiring the outlying mission villages to move closer to St Augustine.  The Tolomato Indians moved to a little strip of land between the city wall and Maria Sanchez Creek, a secure location where they could be protected by the soldiers stationed at the Santo Domingo redoubt.  They were served by Franciscan priests from the convento in St Augustine and lived at Tolomato until they, along with the other Spanish citizens, left for Cuba in 1763.  Their descendants now live in the area of Guanabacoa, part of Havana.

Below we see one of the murals painted by Hugo Ohlms at the Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine, depicting his conception of life in a Florida Franciscan mission.


What is the point of all this? In mid-March, Flagler College is going to host a conference on Franciscan Missions in the Borderlands, a term that refers to the borders between the English and Spanish territories in what would become the United States. You can view the abstracts of the sessions by clicking here:  Franciscan Conference Program.

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