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Madalena: The Entangled History of One Indigenous Floridian Woman in the Atlantic World

  • Scott Cave (a1)

In 1549, after 11 years of slavery, and exile, an indigenous woman made it home to her people. In the time of her captivity, she became one of the most geopolitically important and well-traveled indigenous women in the Spanish Empire. Her name—or the name Spanish society gave her—was Madalena, and she returned home to Tocobaga, in what is now Tampa Bay. From bondage in Havana, she was taken to be the translator for a missionary expedition that sought to peacefully convert her people into citizens of the imagined Spanish colony of Florida. That mission, like every other European attempt to settle the region up to the nineteenth century, would fail, but this latest failure of Spanish colonialism meant that Madalena could return to life among her own people, unlike most indigenous slaves of the sixteenth century.

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1. The limited number of scholars who mention Madalena in their studies have corrected her name to the modern Spanish equivalent, Magdalena. See for example Worth, John E., Discovering Florida: First Contact Narratives from Spanish Expeditions along the Lower Gulf Coast (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014); and Kurt, Brother and Antoninus, Brother, Friar Among Savages: Father Luis Cáncer (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1958). However, both of the contemporary scribes who recorded her name omitted the letter “g.” Since they both knew her personally, I have chosen to follow their orthography and pronunciation. For these two examples, see Fray Luis Cáncer and Fray Gregorio de Beteta, Jornada a La Florida, 1549, Archivo General de Indias [hereafter AGI] Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 4r and fol. 10r. This source started as the journal of Cáncer during the expedition. After his death, fellow missionary Gregorio de Beteta completed the text and annotated and recompiled the journal. It is the main source on Madalena's work as a translator and her return to Florida. It also features several passages that purport to be her actual words, or paraphrases thereof.

2. Madalena is never formally called a slave, but her kidnapping, transhipment, and labor constituted slavery, in fact if not in name.

3. Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4.

4. Gutierrez, Jana, “Her Havana: Cuban Women Writers Imagining a City of Their Own,” Women & Environments International Magazine 62/63 (Spring 2004): 1617 .

5. As the author of a history intended for a popular audience, Fenn never makes a straightforward declaration of her methods or aims. However, the entire work is told, with brief exceptions, from the perspective of the inhabitants of the Mandan heartland. See Fenn, Elizabeth A., Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People (New York: Hill and Wang, 2014). For van Deusen, Nancy’s discussion of “indioscapes,” see Global Indios: The Indigenous Struggle for Justice in Sixteenth-Century Spain (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015), 1213 .

6. Townsend, Camilla’s Malintzin's Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006) tells the story of Malintzin, Cortés's chief translator and a subject of historical fascination both during her life and in contemporary Mexico. Karttunen, Frances’s Between Worlds: Interpreters, Guides, and Survivors (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994) looks for the commonalities and themes in the lives of cultural intermediaries, and is at least partially a meditation on the relationship between the ethnographer and the ethnographic informant. Portions of Restall, Matthew’s Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) deal with both the importance and near-invisibility of indigenous laborers and informants in the process of conquest. Alida Metcalf, in her rewriting of the first century of Brazilian history, includes intermediary figures at the center of the narrative in Go-Betweens and the Colonization of Brazil, 1500–1600 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005). For more recent studies on indigenous labor and slavery, I rely on three works. The first is Nancy van Deusen's Global Indios (and the accompanying series of articles) on indigenous slavery in the city of Seville and the eventual process by which the slaves became free; it offers a useful account of life for slaves in Andalusia and the changes in Spain's legal code regarding indigenous slavery during the general period considered by this article. On general questions of Spanish slave law, and for a discussion of Asian slavery and emancipation in Mesoamerica, see Seijas, Tatiana, Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). For a general framework on slaving and the slave trade in the sixteenth century Caribbean, I rely on Erin Woodruff Stone's “Indian Harvest: The Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade and Diaspora from Española to the Circum-Caribbean, 1492–1542” (PhD diss.: Vanderbilt University, 2014). Brickhouse, Ana, while working in an intertextual and literary mode, offers a very interesting approach to reading accounts of translators and intermediaries in The Unsettlement of America: Translation, Interpretation, and the Story of Don Luis de Velasco, 1560–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). I must also give brief mention to two works that influenced this piece without demanding direct citation, one fictional and one far outside the geographical confines of this piece. The first is Laila Lalami's novel The Moor's Account (New York: Pantheon Books, 2014), which retells the iconic tale of Cabeza de Vaca through the imagined persona of his black Moorish fellow survivor Esteban. This retelling inspired my discussion of contact and pre-contact events. In thinking about the influence of intermediaries and guides on Western knowledge, I owe a debt to Mueggler, Erik’s The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011).

7. These documentary opportunities have been exploited by other historians of African slavery in micro-historical work elsewhere. Wendy Warren, while writing about the rape of a slave in colonial Massachusetts, uses the documents describing the first importation of slaves into the fledgling colony: “‘The Cause of Her Grief’: The Rape of a Slave in Early New England,” Journal of American History 93:4 (2007): 1031–1049. For another example, see Lohse, Kent Russell’s attention to slaves accidentally brought to Costa Rica as part of a shipwreck in Africans into Creoles: Slavery, Ethnicity, and Identity in Colonial Costa Rica (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014). For similar approaches to the stories of indigenous individuals, see Thrush, Coll’s article on Greenlandic visitors to London in “The Iceberg and the Cathedral: Encounter, Entanglement, and Isuma in Inuit London,” Journal of British Studies 53:1 (2014): 5979 ; and Greer, Allan’s treatment of the hagiographies of Catherine Tekakwitha in Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

8. Most of these narratives can be found by consulting either Worth, Discovering Florida, or the two-volume compilation The De Soto Chronicles, edited by Lawrence A. Clayton, Vernon James Knight Jr., and Edward C. Moore (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993). These narratives include later accounts of the Ponce de Leon expedition, Bernal Díaz del Castillo's account of the Hernández de Cordoba expedition, the two extant versions of Cabeza de Vaca, the four main accounts of the Soto expedition, the journal of Luis Cáncer, Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda's captivity narrative, and Jesuit records of their missions.

9. The chronicles, letters, and legal documents generated by the Narváez, Soto, Cáncer, and other expeditions, when pieced together, form a fragmentary but cohesive narrative of Madalena's life. Soon after Soto's expedition landed in Tampa Bay, a subordinate captured several women, Madalena likely among them, in a raid. In a letter, the pilot of the expedition mentions taking three men and one woman “of the language of the coast” to Havana, and a chronicle states that these captives were taken to Bobadilla's house. Bobadilla was later investigated for bringing Florida natives to the city of Seville. One of Cáncer's informants reports that the men the pilot remembered taking to Spain were dead, but the woman was alive. While looking at indigenous people near the main Tocobaga village, Madalena says “these [people] are from my land and this is from my language.” (“Estos son de mi tierra y este es de mi lengua.”) See Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 2v.

10. A 1721 map describing native peoples and natural resources of the Southeast contains the entry “Tocobaga Indians, destroyed 1709.” For the relevant excerpt, see Dubcovsky, Alejandra, Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016), 122 . The original is William Hammerton, Map of the Southeastern Part of North America, 1721, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.

11. Madalena never explicitly says that she is Tocobaga, and this village is named only later. However, I base my assumption that she is Tocobaga on several pieces of evidence. Based on contextual clues in Cáncer's journal as well as archaeological evidence, the main village in the region was a short walk across a relatively narrow stretch of land, and lay at the northwestern part of Tampa Bay. While on the Gulf side of the Pinellas peninsula, Madalena says that “Estos son de mi tierra y este es de mi lengua” [These [people] are from my land and this is from my language]. See Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 2v. Finally, the local indigenous words recorded by Cáncer, he oçavluata (which Cáncer says means “we are good men”), do not match known Timucua words, which was the language spoken in the Floridian interior and in the nearby village of Mocozo. See Granberry, Julian, A Grammar and Dictionary of the Timucua Language (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993).

12. See Mitchem, Jeffrey M.’s chapter “Safety Harbor: Mississippian Influence in the Circum-Tampa Bay Region” in Late Prehistoric Florida: Archaeology at the Edge of the Mississippian World, Ashley, Keith and White, Nancy Marie, eds. (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012), 172185 .

13. For a description of these fish traps, consult de la Vega, Garcilaso, La Florida del Ynca (Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605), 121123 . For a discussion of the fish camps (called ranchos in the text) see Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 2r.

14. Hann, John H., Indians of Central and South Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003), 56 .

15. For a full listing of the indigenous villages of coastal Florida, see Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, Relación de todos los caciques de la Florida, AGI, Patronato 19, R.32, fol. 2r-v. This document records a description of the political arrangements of the indigenous people of the Southeast, based on Escalante Fontaneda's knowledge from having been a captive of the Calusa in southwestern peninsular Florida.

16. On trade with the Mississippian world, see Mitchem, Safety Harbor, 172–185. Escalante Fontaneda identifies Tocobaga as the main trading post for the pearl trade. The Gentleman of Elvas mentions that these pearls were used as beads on bracelets worn on the upper arm, and were held in high esteem. See D'Elvas, Fidalgo, Relaçam verdadeira (Lisbon: Academia Real das Sciencias, 1844), 18 .

17. Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 2v.

18. “ho povo era d'sete ou oyto casas: a casa do señor estava junto a praya em hum outeiro muito alto feito a mão por fortaleza. A outra parte do povo estava a mesquita e encima della huma ave de pao com os olhos dourados.” Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 18; translation from The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 57.

19. The Diccionario de Americanismos defines a bohío as a “rural hut with a roof of palm leaves” (cabaña campesina con techo de hojas de yagua, guano u otros). In the sixteenth century, Valerie Fraser argues, “it [was] the material [of thatch], not the shape or size, which [was] the identifying feature of a bohío.” For contemporary definitions, see the Diccionario de Americanismos (Lima: Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, 2012), 263. For sixteenth-century perceptions of this architectural form, see Fraser, Valerie, The Architecture of Conquest: Building in the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1535–1635 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 26, 71–72.

20. Both chroniclers describe the raid as an early attempt to get laborers for the expedition, so raiders would presumably be looking for adults and possible sexual partners. See Rangel, Rodrigo’s account in Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, La historia general y natural de Las Indias, Vol. 1 (Madrid: Imprenta de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1851), 545547 ; and Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 19–20. Descriptions of indigenous slaves from earlier in the colonial period often include the modifier “niño/a” or “muchacho/a” to indicate ages before adulthood, and descriptions of Madalena and her fellow Floridian slaves do not include these modifiers. Nancy van Deusen also mentions that a 1535 law required that all indigenous slaves be at least 14 years of age (Global Indios,132). While Soto's men likely had little respect for this particular law, royal officials likely would have noted Madalena's youth in subsequent investigations if the law had been obviously violated.

21. One possible vector for these rumors is the extensive Spanish slave raiding among the Lucayans of the Bahamas. Slavers in the employ of Juan Ponce de León found a land known as Bimini, north of their normal raiding grounds; it may have been Florida, and certainly led to the discovery of Florida. On the possible indigenous trade between Florida and the Bahamas, see Sauer, Carl Ortwin, The Early Spanish Main (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), 189 . On the depopulation of the Bahamas and the discovery of Bimini and Florida, see Woodruff Stone, “Indian Harvest,” 95, 191–193. There also was illicit and unplanned trade occurring in the Caribbean basin in the first decade of colonization that could have reached Tocobaga. See the description of the voyage of Diego de Miruelo in Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Ynca, 3.

22. The original of this document has been lost, but it is recorded in Italian in the 1606 third edition of Giovanni Battista Ramusio's Delle Navigationi et Viaggi. When asked if he had seen men like Alarcón before, the informant replies “no, eccetto che haveva inteso dalli vecchi che molto lontano de que paese vi erano altri huomini bianchi, & con barbe come noi, & che altro non sapeva. See Flint, Richard and Flint, Shirley Cushing, “Narrative of Alarcón's Voyage, 1540” in Documents of the Coronado Expedition, 1539-42 (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2005), 193 (English), 211 (Italian).

23. Céline Carayon, “Beyond Words: Nonverbal Communication, Performance, and Acculturation in the Early French-Indian Atlantic (1500–1701)” (PhD diss.: College of William and Mary, 2007), 48.

24. This is a slight modification of Adorno's translation, which renders “por çima” as “overland.” Since the two previous clauses of the sentence refer to the water, it is my best guess that the third one does as well. I also broke the clauses up and removed the many instances of the word ‘que,’ which serve little grammatical function in this passage. The original Spanish reads “Y respondiéronnos que se avían ido a la mar, y que metieron las lanças por debaxo del agua, y que ellos se avían también metido por debaxo, y que después los vieron ir por çima hasta puesta del sol.” See Adorno, Rolena and Pautz, Patrick Charles, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), Vol. 1, 236237 .

25. Reff, Daniel T., “Text and Context: Cures, Miracles, and Fear in the Relación of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca,” Journal of the Southwest 38:2 (Summer 1996): 115138 .

26. See Whitehead, Neil L., Of Cannibals and Kings: Primal Anthropology in the Americas (State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011) 57 .

27. Herrera y Tordesillas, Antonio de, Historia general de los castellanos en las Islas y Tierra Firme del mar Océano (Madrid: Nicolás Rodríguez Franco, 1730), 248249 . For Escalante Fontaneda's account of Taíno living among the Calusa, see Descripción de las islas del Canal de Las Bahamas, AGI, Patronato 18, N.5, R.1, fol. 3r.

28. del Castillo, Bernal Díaz, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, SA, 1942), 2227 .

29. Worth, Discovering Florida, 190–191.

30. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, Memorias sobre los indios de la Florida, AGI, Indiferente 1529, N.40. The original reads: “quando muere un cascique de los principales hazenlo pedazos y quesenlo en unas ollas grandes y quesenlo dos dias hasta que la carne despide los guesos y toman los guesos y encaxan un gueso con otro hasta que arman el ombre como estaba y ponenlo en una casa que ellas tienen por tenplo mientras que lo acaban de conponer. Ayunan quatro dias acabo de las quatro dias ajuntan todo el pueblo de los yndios y salen con el a la procesion y encierrenlo haciendo mucha reverencia y estonces dizen ellos que todos los que ban a la procesion ganan indulgencias.” The spelling reflects the original. The tradition of articulating skeletons, putting them in boxes, and holding vigils seems to have been universal in south Florida, since these elements appear in several other accounts in the same document.

31. Mitchem, Safety Harbor, 175.

32. See Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 21; and Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Ynca, 32–33.

33. Jeffrey McClain Mitchem, “Redefining Safety Harbor: Late Prehistoric/Protohistoric Archaeology in West Peninsular Florida” (PhD diss.: University of Florida, 1989), 589–592.

34. Bushnell, Amy Turner, “That Demonic Game: The Campaign to Stop Indian Pelota Playing in Spanish Florida, 1675–1684,” The Americas 35 (July 1978): 119 .

35. For the initial description of the crates, see Pautz and Adorno, Vol. 1, 38–40. For an analysis of the different versions of this story, and of Cabeza de Vaca's later regrets, see ibid., Vol. 2, 89–90.

36. Coll Thrush writes that public displays of gold became taboo among Newfoundland Inuit after their long experience of maritime contact with British and other sailors. See Thrush, “The Iceberg,” 65.

37. See Alejandra Dubcovsky, “Connected Worlds: Communication Networks in the Colonial Southeast, 1513–1740” (PhD diss.: University of California, Berkeley, 2011), 16–22.

38. Dubcovsky, Informed Power, 36–37.

39. The reader may note the similarity between this story and that of Pocahontas. Anna Brickhouse argues that this is a case of literary borrowing. The famous intercession of Pocahontas appears only in John Smith's second account of the expedition, printed 15 years after Richard Hakluyt's publication of Elvas in translation, and Smith was apparently well-versed in conquest literature. See Brickhouse, Unsettlement of America, 28–31.

40. See Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 21; and Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Ynca, 32–33.

41. This lawsuit was between Madalena's owner, Isabel de Bobadilla, and Hernán Ponce de León, a business associate of her husband. Hernán Ponce de León contra Isabel de Bobadilla, 1545–1554, AGI, Justicia 750B, N.1, fols.1504v–1532r.

42. See Oviedo, Historia general y natural, 545–547; and Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 19–20.

43. Oviedo, Historia general y natural, 545–547.

44. Branding was used as a way to unambiguously mark indigenous slaves as property, particularly when claims to such slaves or the legality of their enslavement were questionable. For a thorough discussion of branding of indigenous slaves, see Van Deusen, Global Indios, 133–140.

45. See McLeod, Murdo F., Spanish Central America: A Socioeconomic History, 1520–1720 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 5052 . Isabel de Bobadilla's father Pedrarías Dávila and Soto's business partner Hernán Ponce de Leon were also involved in the Central American indigenous slave trade.

46. Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 25–27.

47. Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Ynca, 121–123.

48. “a ella le fueron traydo de la dicha provincia dos yndios e una yndia.” See Philip II to the Council of the Indies, “Averiguación sobre ciertos indios,” 1545, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fols. 221r–221v.

49. Luis Cáncer to Bartolomé de Las Casas, undated, AGI, Patronato 252, R.11, fol. 9v. This source is a letter from Luis Cáncer to Bartolomé de Las Casas describing his preparations for his expedition to Florida.

50. Luis Hernández de Biedma, in The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 226.

51. On Añasco's return, see ibid., 227–228; Elvas, Relaçam verdadeira, 27–35; Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Ynca, 98–141; and Rangel, in The De Soto Chronicles, 257–275. Though these accounts vary in their particulars, they agree on a general narrative for this time period.

52. Nancy van Deusen describes this moment of terror and acculturation beautifully: “march[ing] behind the conquerors; they became sexual objects and partners, laborers, and caretakers for men at sea . . . just as much a part of the mobile early Atlantic world economy as Spaniards.” Deusen, Van, “The Intimacies of Bondage: Female Indigenous Servants and Slaves and Their Spanish Masters, 1492–1555,” Journal of Women's History 24:1 (2012): 14 .

53. Van Deusen, “The Intimacies of Bondage,” 13–43.

54. The inquiry into the treatment of Madalena and the two Florida men would seem to argue against this, but Bobadilla was from a powerful family well enmeshed in Indies affairs. See “Averiguación sobre ciertos indios,” 1545, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fols. 221r–222v.

55. The history of sixteenth-century Havana, and of Cuba more generally during the same period, is understudied. Alejandro de la Fuente, an academic trained in Cuba who currently works in the United States, attributes this to the fact that postrevolutionary Cuban historiography has focused on the origins of the slave-driven sugar export economy, viewing the period before its emergence as prehistory. See de la Fuente, Alejandro, “Sugar and Slavery in Early Colonial Cuba,” Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450–1680 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 115157 . Many works deal with this period in passing, however. The first, and perhaps most comprehensive, is Wright, Irene A., Historia documentada de San Cristóbal de La Habana en el siglo XVI, Vols. 1-3 (Havana: Imprenta El Siglo XX, 1927), which combines transcriptions of primary sources with short essays. Beginning in 1937, Havana's city historian Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring published transcriptions of the minutes of the town council meetings from 1550–1578, beginning with the year after this article's span; he also published an introductory volume that draws heavily on Wright's work. See Actas capitulares del Ayuntamiento de la Habana, 1550–1565, Havana: Municipio de la Habana, 1937, and subsequent volumes. Volume 1 of Levi Marrero's comprehensive multivolume history Cuba: economía y sociedad (San Juan: Editorial San Juan, 1971) briefly deals with demography and famous citizens. Hortensia Pichardo Viñals has compiled primary sources dealing with the settlement of other regions of Cuba in her book La fundación de las primeras villas de la Isla de Cuba (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1986). I rely most heavily on Alejandro de la Fuente's recent work, including the opening chapter of Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), and his demographic article “Población y crecimiento en Cuba (Siglos XVI y XVII): un estudio regional,” European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 55 (December 1993): 59–93. I also make extensive use of the testimonies included in Ponce de Leon contra Bobadilla, AGI, Justicia 750B, N.1, in which former residents of Havana describe the city in their own words.

56. The effects of the raid are described in passing in Ponce de Leon contra Bobadilla, AGI, Justicia 750B, N.1, fols.1504v–1532r. Kris Lane describes this series of French pirate raids in 1536-7 in Pillaging the Empire: Piracy in the Americas, 1500–1750 (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1998).

57. Carta del Obispo al Emperador dando cuenta de la visita hecha a las villas y iglesias, y del estado en que se hallan, in Colección de Documentos Inéditos Relativos al Descubrimiento, Conquista y Organización de las Antiguas Posesiones Españolas de Ultramar, Real Academia de la Historia, Series 2, Section 6, Vol. 3, (Madrid: Impresores de la Real Casa, 1891), 231. The original reads “Visité esta iglesia. Hay 40 vecinos casados y por casar. Indios naborias naturales de la isla 120; esclavos indios y negros 200.” In 1554 the town was defended from a pirate attack by 220 indigenous men, 80 African-descendant men, and only 35 Spaniards. See Alejandro de La Fuente, Havana, 1–7.

58. The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. I, 52–54.

59. Wright, Historia documentada de San Cristóbal de La Habana, 9.

60. Unfortunately, the historiography of Cuba's encomiendas is rather undeveloped. For a general overview of Spanish labor forms and households on the island, see De la Fuente, “Población.” For primary descriptions of Cuban encomiendas, see the account books related to the gold mines of the island contained in Cuentas desde que se pobló Cuba hasta 1577, 1529–1577, AGI, Contaduria 1174; and the debates about labor arrangements and indigenous autonomy on the island in Capacidad de los indios para autogobernarse: Cuba, 1531, AGI, Patronato 177, N.1, R.12.

61. Woodruff Stone, “Indian Harvest,” 54.

62. Ibid., 261.

63. “muger de gran ser é bondad é de muy gentil juiçio é persona.” Fernández de Oviedo, Historia general y natural, 544.

64. Adelantados were granted a series of major economic and political concessions to encourage them to conquer frontier regions of the Spanish empire. After their successful conquest, they would become governors of these territories. See Lyon, Eugene, The Enterprise of Florida: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Spanish Conquest of 1565–1568 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1983), 220223 .

65. Juan de Añasco appeared as a witness when Bobadilla's mother bequeathed her property on the occasion of her marriage. See her dowry agreement in The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 357. Catalina Ximénes, wife of Rodrigo Rangel, had known both mother and daughter for decades. See Ponce de Leon contra Bobadilla, AGI, Justicia 750B, N.1, fol. 1526r.

66. The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 357.

67. Ibid., 50–57.

68. This kind of leadership role was not entirely unusual for elite Spanish women, especially following the absence or death of their husbands. See Coolidge, Grace E., Guardianship, Gender, and the Nobility in Early Modern Spain, (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2011). For correspondence relating to her governorship, see Andrés de Parada to Isabel de Bobadilla, April 10, 1540, AGI, Santo Domingo 99, R.2, N.13; and Andrés de Parada to Isabel de Bobadilla, October 12, 1540, AGI, Santo Domingo 99, R.2, N.14. Although it was Soto who was originally ordered to construct the fort, his wife was issued an order to complete it in his absence. For the original order and the follow-up order to Bobadilla, see Charles V to Hernando de Soto, October 7, 1540, AGI, Santo Domingo 1121, L.2, fol. 179r; and Charles V to Isabel de Bobadilla, October 7, 1540, AGI, Santo Domingo 1121, L.2, fol. 179v.

69. The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 490.

70. Van Deusen, 34–63.

71. See the 1543 property inventory of the Soto/Bobadilla household in Solar y Taboada, Antonio del and y de Ochotorena, José de Rújula, El Adelantado Hernando de Soto (Badajoz: Ediciones Arqueros, 1929), 227240 ; and the 1546 license for an “esclava blanca” to return to Havana in Licencia de esclavos a Isabel de Bobadilla, January 13, 1546, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fol. 318r-v. The inventory is available in translation in The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. I, 489–498.

72. The Cuban brown form of these lizards (called anoles) has become the most common one in the state of Florida, after being introduced in the late nineteenth century. See Woodward, Susan L. and Quinn, Joyce A., “Brown Anole” in Encyclopedia of Invasive Species: From Africanized Honey Bees to Zebra Mussels (Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2011), 214217 .

73. “Averiguación sobre ciertos indios,” 1545, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fol. 221.

74. See the property inventory in Solar y Taboada and Rújula y de Ochotorena, El Adelantado Hernando de Soto, 227–240.

75. Wright, Historia documentada de San Cristóbal de La Habana, 21.

76. As of 1544, Havana's church had one cleric and a sacristan, a person entrusted with the material trappings of church ritual. See the bishop's report quoted above in Colección de documentos inéditos, 231.

77. For a perceptive discussion of this transition, see Van Deusen, “The Intimacies of Bondage,” 19–21.

78. See Solar y Taboada and Rújula y de Ochotorena, 227–240; and The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. I, 489–498.

79. van Deusen, Nancy, “Coming to Castille with Cortés: Indigenous Servitude in the Sixteenth Century,” Ethnohistory 62 (Spring 2015): 285308 .

80. Rubio, Rocío Sánchez, “El Adelantado Don Hernando de Soto,” in The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 416417 .

81. Coll Thrush makes the point that travelers, both indigenous and not, found London exhausting, and Seville was of a similar size to London during the early modern period. See Thrush, “The Iceberg,” 71.

82. Philip II to the officials of the Casa de La Contratación, “Entrega de bienes a Isabel de Bobadilla,” February 7, 1545, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fol. 172v.

83. Van Deusen, Global Indios,109.

84. On the depósito, see ibid., 23.

85. “Entrega de bienes,” 1546, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fol. 172v.

86. Emplazamiento y compulsoria contra Hernán Ponce de León, a petición de Isabel de Bobadilla, March 9, 1545, AGI, Indiferente 423, L.20, fol. 857v. Veinticuatro was a term used to describe councilmen in early modern Andalusia. For an analysis of the social standing of one roughly contemporary veinticuatro from Jerez de La Frontera, see Pilares, Enrique José Ruiz, “El mayorazgo del veinticuatro Pedro Camacho de Villavicencio ‘el rico’ (1507),” En la España Medieval 35 (2012): 317347 .

87. “Averiguación sobre ciertos indios,” 1545, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fol. 221.

88. Seijas, Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico, 221–222.

89. Metcalf, Go-Betweens,17–55.

90. Licencia de esclavos, 1546, AGI, Indiferente 1963, L.9, fol. 318r-v.

91. Van Deusen, “Coming to Castile,” 285–308. Seijas notes similar struggles faced by Filipinos and other Asians in Mexico.

92. Royal Decree of 1547, reproduced in Remesal, Fray Antonio de, Historia de la Provincia de San Vicente de Chyapa y Guatemala (Madrid: Francisco de Angulo, 1619).

93. Cáncer to Las Casas, Patronato 252, R.11, fol. 9v. “Yten dize que en Mexico no hay lenguas a lo que el es de la costa de la Florida de nosotros hemos de yr sino de la tierra adentro y que en la Havana ay quatro yndios esclavos e por mandado de Soto que saben la lengua de aquella costa y que por los estos convenia mucho llegarnos a la Havana. Santana dize que no hay mas de una yndia y yo dixe que no la llevaria por todo el mundo. Respondieron todos que si no avia yndio que convenia mucho llevarse.”

94. For a more thorough description of this pattern, see Restall, Seven Myths, chapt. 5.

95. Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 3r.

96. Fuentes' identity is something of a mystery. In Padilla, Agustín Dávila, Historia de la fundación y discurso de la Provincia de Santiago de México (Brussels: Casa de Ivan de Meerbeque, 1625) and Remesal (Historia), he is described as a lay brother. However, Cáncer describes him only as a “good man” and lists only his last name. Following the analysis of Matthew Connolly, who consulted the financial records of the expedition, I believe Fuentes to be Esteban de Fuentes, a salaried agricultural worker hired to support the mission. For more, see Matthew Connolly, “Missionary Journey of Fray Luis Cáncer, 1549” (MA thesis: Catholic University of America, 1956), 44–47.

97. “La yndia en ver tanta paz estava muy alegre y dixome ‘Padre yo no te dixe que como yo los hablese no te matarian. Estos son de mi tierra y este es de mi lengua.’” Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 2v.

98. For example, Fernández de Oviedo says of an indigenous group that “Las mugeres andan desnudas, e desde la cinta abaxo traen unas mantas de algodón fasta la mitad de la pantorrilla” (The women walk about nude, and from their waists down they wear some cotton blankets to mid-calf.) See Fernández de Oviedo, Historia general y natural, Vol. 1, 68.

99. Remesal, Historia, 526.

100. Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 4r. “Y dada besala muy de veras y vase a tierra con muy gran priesa y dala a besar a la yndia nuestra lengua que aun no la conociamos porque estava desnuda y luego va de yndio a yndio dandosela a besar y despues que se fueron va delante de todos y con ella el mas contento del mundo mucho note y me holgue d'esto: Para el efecto en que al presente estoy.”

101. Jornada, 1549, AGI, Patronato 19, R.4, fol. 4r-v.

102. In an odd bit of narrative symmetry, Beteta was meant to be one of the friars to escort Don Luis de Moscoso, the subject of Brickhouse's book, back to Virginia. For the order, see Carta acordada del Consejo de Indias a Ochoa de Luyando, su secretario, dándole orden de pago de 12 ducados para fray Gregorio Beteta, para ayuda de camino, June 4, 1562, AGI, Indiferente 425, L.24, fols.105v–106r.

103. Woodruff Stone, “Indian Harvest,” 199. On El Chicorano, see Hoffman, Paul, A New Andalucia and a Way to the Orient: The American Southeast during the Sixteenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990), 67 .

104. The De Soto Chronicles, Vol. 1, 58.

105. Brickhouse, Unsettlement of America.

106. Dávila Padilla, Historia de la fundacion, 189.

First, I would like to thank the Huntington, John Carter Brown, and Newberry Libraries, whose amazing collections and fellowships made this article possible. The CLAH Lydia Cabrera Award provided invaluable funding to do archival research in Spain that added a great deal of depth to my analysis. Special thanks goes to Michael Francis, who taught me paleography at the University of North Florida and who accidentally introduced me to Cáncer and Madalena. Thanks to Chau Kelly and Kristie Flannery, who helped reassure me in the early stages of this article when it seemed almost impossible to write. Thanks also to the participants of the TePaske Seminar for their helpful feedback. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my next round of peer-reviewers: Christine de Lucia, Hayley Negrin, Iris Montero, Kate Godfrey, and my wife, Amanda Cave. Finally, I owe an immeasurable debt to Erin Woodruff Stone and Rebekah Martin, both of whom read multiple drafts; I cannot be grateful enough to them. Thanks to Matthew Restall and Tatiana Seijas for their comments on later drafts and advice in going through this process, and also to the anonymous reviewer at The Americas for pushing me to clarify my thinking and add more context to the final draft.

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