Spanish Interaction With Indigenous People

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THE SPANISH AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE At the missions Indian lives were changed as villagers became Christians, adopting new beliefs and religious practices and Spanish names. Indian shamans gave way to Catholic priests. New crops such as watermelons, peaches, figs, hazelnuts, oranges, and garbanzo beans were grown in mission gardens, and some Indians raised chickens. Others learned how to read and write in Spanish. Indians valued Spanish iron tools, glass beads, clothing, and other goods. Even so, the mission Indians continued many traditional ways, such as methods of building houses. Mission Indians provided much of the labor for the Florida colony. They improved and maintained trails, helped build Spanish houses, worked as servants in St. Augustine, labored at ranches near the town and in the mission provinces, and even mined coquina for building St. Augustine's Castillo. A major activity was tending corn fields whose harvests were carried to Spanish markets in St. Augustine. It is no exaggeration to say that the Spanish colony rested on the shoulders of the mission Indians. Within the town of St. Augustine some Spanish men married Indian women. The presence of Indian pottery in the town suggests residents integrated native foods and, perhaps, food preparation techniques into their diets. After the destruction and abandonment of the north Florida missions in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the surviving Florida Indians were soon decimated by slave raids and other depredations. By the 1760s, 200 years after the founding of St. Augustine, the descendants of the people who had watched the Spaniards come ashore were gone. Florida once again is home to a significant Native American population, including Seminole, Miccosukee, and Creek Indians, descendants of people who moved to Florida from the north beginning as early as 1750. Since 1900

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