16th and 17th century visitors to the South Carolina Upcountry
The Lower Cherokees . . . Who were they really? – Part Two
(Map Above) – Late 20th century academicians ignored several important statements in the chronicles of the Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo Expeditions in order to “make” De Soto pass through Asheville, NC on his way to Kusa in NW Georgia . . . and Pardo pass through a small village 250 miles north of Santa Elena to establish a fort at Joara, when the King of Spain had ordered him to find the shortest land route between Santa Elena and Zacatecas, Mexico. On his second expedition, Pardo DID travel northward, where he established a mission and small fort in a village, named Otari, but he traveled for several weeks westward to visit again the town of Joara, where he had built a fort on his first expedition. Joara was directly on the route between Santa Elena and Chiaha. The De Soto Chronicles clearly stated that De Soto directed his men to follow the direction of the sunrise, due east. They passed through an uninhabited region, which was known as the “Saluda Desert” in the late 1600s and 1700s. Even as late as 1776, the region was identified by botanist William Bartram as “pine barrens.” It was located too far south to be in the path of De Soto’s Entrada, if they had headed toward a Native town site near Camden, SC . . . as South Carolina academicians now believe. In addition, ALL words recorded by the De Soto Expedition in present day South Carolina were Creek words, easily translated by a modern Creek dictionary. They are NOT Siouan or Cherokee words, as many academicians in the Carolinas would have you believe. Cofitachequi was in a region that spoke a Creek language.
The Colonial Era descriptions of early contacts with the indigenous peoples of the northern edge of South Carolina are brief and somewhat vague. During the past forty years, the original accounts have been altered to present “Cherokee” and “Catawba” labels to all stories. One must go to the original eyewitness accounts to get the facts.
(1) Hernando de Soto Expedition (1540): The chroniclers describe three peoples in the South Carolina Up Country . . . the Chilique (or Chalaque),the Xuale and the Guasuli.
(a) The Chiliki were described as a primitive people, who obtained sustenance by digging up roots and hunting. Chiliki is the Totonac, Itza Maya and Itsate Creek word for barbarians. Chaliki or chiliki are the Muskogee Creek versions of the word. They were NOT Algonquian Cherokees. They were obviously a people of Caribbean or South American origin, who grew root crops rather than corn for their main source of carbohydrates. The most likely candidate for this people
In 1568, Juan Pardo specifically mentioned a village, named Aho (Ajo in Castilian) which specialized in the cultivation of Sweet Potatoes. Aho is the Southern Arawak and Creek word for sweet potato.
(b) The Xuale (or Suale) [pronounced Zshwä : lē were the largest and most culturally advanced tribe in West Virginia. They were Shawnee mound builders, who probably originally had a Muskogean or Itza elite. The Xuale village in South Carolina was probably either a regional trading colony for the motherland or a breakaway band.
The Xuale in West Virginia were arch-enemies of the Cherokees in the early 1700s. This Xuale village in South Carolina could not have been “Cherokee” as Charles Hudson would have had you believe. The Saluda River’s name is the Anglicization of the Creek name for Xuale, Suale-te. If Cherokees were living in the vicinity of Xuale, they would have not given it a Creek name.
(c) The village of Guasuli (Castilian), Guaxule (Portugeese) or Wasaw-le (Uchee-Creek) was located on the western side of the first range of mountains. It probably was just inside the boundary of present day North Carolina, but still in territory later considered Lower Cherokee in the 1700s. The mother province of the Guasali was probably on Wassaw Sound and Wassaw Island, Georgia.
Speakers of European languages were confused how to write the Muskogean V (äw) sound in their alphabets. Chroniclers of the De Soto and Pardo Expeditions typically used a U (aka Ocute) or an O (aka Ochese). French speakers typically use an AU (aka Houstanauqua). English speakers used an AU or AW for the sound.
The map at left is typical of the misleading Native American history that was created in the late 20th century. The Purple Gatekeepers of Wikipedia never bother to read what the De Soto Chronicles and Juan Pardo actually said, if some recognizable name is cited as the reference.
This particular map that was officially authored by Charles Hudson, but prepared by a student, appears in the Wikipedia articles on Joara, the De Soto Expedition and the Juan Pardo Expeditions. The anthropology professors, who created such scams, assumed that the general public would follow them as blindly as the anthropology students in their classrooms. At the time, no one dared to challenge the inaccuracies of the official routes adopted by a team of prominent Southeastern anthropology professors, for fear of having a negative impact on their careers or their grades.
There were only two Native American village, which both Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo visited . . . Cofitachequi and Chiaha. None of the four versions of the De Soto Chronicles mention the villages of Hymani, Ilasi, Guaquilli, Joara, Chalahume and Satipo. These are only mentioned in the Pardo Report, yet they appear here as villages visited by De Soto.
On the other hand, the Pardo Report does not mention Talimeco, Guasili, Canasoga, Coste and Tasqui. Yet, the Wikipedia article tells readers that the Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo followed the same trails. This is particularly odd, since the report by De la Bandera specifically states that his boss, Juan Pardo, had planned to take part of the route, used by De Soto, but then decided to take another route, which cut across the Blue Ridge Mountains, rather than skirt them as De Soto had done.
(2) French Huguenot explorers (1562-1565): After the unsuccessful attempts to establish fortified colonies on Parris Island, SC and at Fort Caroline, French cartographers produced astonishingly accurate maps of the Savannah and Altamaha River Systems, plus the North Georgia Mountains. Such accuracy would not be seen again until the mid-1770s on British maps. Captain René de Laundonnière mentioned in his memoir that Lt. Laroche Ferrière spent six months in the interior of Georgia, most of the time in the Southern Highlands. However, such detail suggests that either Domique Gourgues (see Expedition 4) or one of the other five expeditions dispatched by De Laudonnière, spent considerable time along the Savannah River and in the Highlands of Georgia and South Carolina.
(a) Houstanaqua (or Ustanauli) was a powerful province in extreme Northeast Georgia and extreme Western South Carolina, which was an arch-rival of Apalache. The Apalache controlled the gold and greenstone trade in North Georgia. The king of Ustanauli sent a message to De Laundonnière via Laroche Ferrière, which asked the French to become his allies in an assault on Apalache. Ustanauli was probably the name of the large town on Tugaloo Island in the Tugaloo river, upstream from the head of the Savannah River. The Tocahle (Tugaloo) originally lived in the mountains to the east of this town, plus along the upper Tuckasegee River.
(3) Captain Juan Pardo (1566-1568): Captain Juan Pardo was directed by the Viceroy in Havana to find the shortest land route between Santa Elena and the mines in Zacatecas, Mexico. Hurricanes and pirates were taking a horrendous bite into the gold and silver being shipped to Spain in great treasure fleets. At least, that was the official story.
However . . . on September 20, 1565 Spanish forces under the command of Pedro Menendez, attacked and captured Fort Caroline. All Protestants, except a few teenagers, were killed in battle or executed afterward. Roman Catholics were spared. It is quite probable that at least some of the French Catholics told the Spanish that small expeditions dispatched to the Apalachen (North Georgia) Mountains had returned with gold, silver and copper. Perhaps, the true mission of Pardo was to find that gold.
Pardo built five forts to protect the route between Santa Elena, SC on the coast and those gold and silver deposits in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. The construction of those forts does not make sense otherwise.
Most of the enlisted men were either Basques or Moriscos and Conversos – converted Muslims and Jews. Pardo was a Spanish ethnic term in the 1400s and 1500s. It could be roughly translated as “half-breed.”
Spain allowed it to be generally known that all but one of the soldiers died in Indian massacres of the five Pardo forts. Strangely, Santa Elena stayed on good terms for the next few years with the Native province due north of their town, where supposedly the entire garrison was massacred. The Spanish government stated that it is no longer interested in exploring the Appalachians. The reason given was that there was nothing there of particular value to trade for.
It is quite possible that the Spanish forts were not massacred, but rather mutinied or maybe the whole story was a ruse. The fact is that traders began going to the Georgia Mountains to trade European items for gold and precious stones. This will be explained in a subsequent section.
These are the villages and towns visited by the two Pardo expeditions in the South Carolina Upcountry. They are listed from east to west. The only communities that Pardo’s adjutant, Juan de la Bandera, labeled a pueblos or towns were Cofitachequi, Joara, Chiaha and Tanasqui.
(a) The Vehedi (Castilian) or Vehete (Itsate Creek and Itza Maya) occupied the Pee Dee River Valley. In the 1600s most moved to Georgia and became the ancestors of the Hillabee Creeks. The word, Pee Dee, evolved from Vehedi. South Carolina academicians, who have labeled them Southern Siouan are totally wrong.
The word means “Archers” in Itza Maya and Itsate Creek. In Muskogee-Creek the word came to mean the highly skilled senior warriors, who stayed behind in the towns to protect non-combatants, when most of the soldiers went on military expeditions.
(b) Ilape was the capital of the Vehidi. The site of Ilape on the Pee Dee River contains at least 28 mounds. The people of Ilape moved to South Georgia in the late 1600s due to the depredations of European plagues and British-backed slave raids.
(c) Otari was a village on the Upper Catawba River. Captain Pardo established a mission and a small fort here. Its description by De La Bandera most closely matches the Berry Site in Burke County, NC, which North Carolina archaeologists and journalists have labeled Joara.
(d) Catapa (Castilian) or Katawpa (Itsate Creek/Itza Maya) or Catawba (English) was the name of two villages, who made contact with Juan Pardo. This was a colony of the main body of Katawpa, whose province was part of the Kingdom of Apalache in Georgia. The mother province is shown on 16th and 17th century maps to be located between Atlanta and Gainesville, GA. The word means “Place of the Crown.”
(e) The Yssa (Castilian) or Issa (English) were the Siouans, who were under the domination of the Itsate-Creek Katawpa.
(f) Quinahaqui was a Middle Arawak village in the Upcountry of the Carolinas. The word means “Quinine -place of”. A letter from a resident of Fort Caroline mentioned that a tribe on the north side of the Altamaha River in Georgia, the Alecmani, grew cinchona trees and traded its bark, containing quinine, throughout Southeastern North America.
(g) The Guatari (Castilian), Watari (Uchee-Itsate-Creek), Wata-gi (Cherokee and Muskogee-Creek) or Watauga (English) composed a large tribe that originally spanned a broad swath of the South Carolina Upcountry across the French Broad River Valley in North Carolina to the Holston River Valley in Tennessee. The word means “Fire People” in hybrid Wata-Uchee syllables. The homeland of the Wata is the western Amazon River Basin. Although, not quite pygmies, they are extremely short and have dark complexion.
(h) Joara is one of the most frequently mentioned “towns,” visited by Pardo, in contemporary academic literature. However, in the original Spanish text, Joara is described as “un lugar” (a place)m not a town. The use of the word is akin to such contemporary regional labels as “the Golden Triangle,” or “the Peach Belt.” Juan de la Bandera, the author of Pardo’s Relacion (report) only provided the artificial Spanish name, Cuenca, of the large town in Joara . . . not either the indigenous name or the people, who lived there.
Joara was described as being a large town with many houses, streets, plazas and temples. It was in a deep canyon in the mountains like the Spanish city of Cuenca, where four rushing mountain rivers met. The only location in the Southern Highlands, which exactly matches that description is now under Lake Jocasee, South Carolina. Rembert Mounds near Elberton, GA meet all the criteria, except that they are not actually in the mountains.
Joara is correctly pronounced Wä : rä . . . as in Joaquin . . . not Jōe – ă – rüh, as was used in the National Geographic TV special on the Berry Site in Burke County, NC. It is incredulous that a Washington, DC based institution would not have caught the mispronunciation being used by North Carolina archaeologists. Wara is a word in almost all the languages of Mesoamerica and South America . . . with different meanings, so it is almost impossible to state what the word means in English.
The Berry Site, which all references now tell you is the site of Joara, does not match any of De La Bandera’s description of Joara. It is a small village site in the Upper Piedmont with a single three feet tall mound, which is barely visible today. Only a few house footprints have actually been excavated, but its archaeologists estimate that the village had about 20-25 houses. The contemporary town of Kusa in Northwest Georgia contained over 3,000 houses.
(i) The Toque People were a tribe in the Tugaloo Mountains and headwaters of the Tuckasegee River, immediately northwest of Joara. This fact is one of the many proofs that the North Carolina academician’s location for Joara is bogus. The Toque lived at least 120 miles southwest of the Berry Site in Burke County, NC.
The actual Muskogean words this ethnic group are either Tokah-ke (Toccoa) or Tokah-le (Tugaloo) and mean “Freckled or spotted People.” Most of the Tokah-le moved southwestward into western Georgia and eastern Alabama in the 1600s. There, they became one of the most powerful branches of the Creek Confederacy. However, some Tokah-le joined the Cherokee Alliance, where they were known as Tocqua. This is a hybrid Creek-Arawak word, Tokah-koa, meaning “Freckled or Spotted People.”
(4) Captain Dominique de Gourgues (1567-1568): De Gourgues privately financed a three ship expedition to avenge the massacre of the French colonists at Fort Caroline. Fort San Mateo and two outer forts were massacred by a combined French-Native Force led by Captain Dominique de Gourgues in April 1569. Between November of 1568 and early April of 1568, the soldiers of Captain de Gourgues’ expedition were somewhere in the interior of the Southeast, but he was silent about his activities during this time. The detailed information on the Savannah River may have come from Gourgues.
(5) Covert Spanish traders from Santa Elena and San Augustin (1568 -1584): In 1586, Sir Francis Drake raided San Augustin, Florida. He captured two colonists and brought them back to England. They were depositioned under oath by Sir Richard Hakluyt. The colonists revealed that despite Spain’s official stance that there was nothing of value in the Appalachian Mountains, Santa Elena was trading with the Indians in the mountains. Hakluyt published the accounts of Spanish trade in the Southern Piedmont and Appalachian Mountains in his book, Voyages and Discoveries: Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation .
With the full knowledge of the Governor of La Florida, a steady stream of Spanish traders traveled covertly to the Apalache to trade European crafted items for gold, silver, copper, sapphires, rubies and diamonds. Almost all Spanish traders were forbidden from entering the inner sanctum of the Apalache in the Nottely River Valley. Trading probably occurred at villages located near Dahlonega, GA, Cleveland, GA and probably north of Athens, GA.
Those Spaniards, who attempted to hike into the Nottely Valley over the gap at Blood Mountain, were killed on sight. Sixteenth century Spanish armor has been found near US Hwy. 19-129, south of Blood Mountain, which follows the old Native American “Great White Path.” The White Path is mentioned in both the Rochefort book and the “Migration Legend of the Kashita People.
(7) 1646 – Edward Bland Expedition from Virginia – Immediately after arriving in Jamestown, after working as a merchant in Spain for five years, Bland met alone with Governor William Berkeley. Both were royalists and England was under the control of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonweath. Bland then secretly traveled southward to the southern tip of the Appalachians, where Spanish Governor Benito Ruíz de Salazar Vallecilla had established a fortified trading post in the Nacoochee Valley. Bland most likely took the old trade path that followed the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which would have taken across the entire width of the South Carolina UpCountry. He never publicly explained what he was doing in a Spanish domain, but probably was an investor in the trading post.
(8) 1653 – Richard Briggstock Expedition from Barbados – Briggstock spent several months in the Kingdom of Apalache as the guest of the Paracusite (High King) of Apalache. The ethnic name Paracusite means that he was descended from the people, who built the Nazca effigy figures in western Peru. The Nazca People only built the lines. Briggstock was investigating the desirability of moving his plantation to Apalache and being a member of the Melilot European Colony. He eventually decided to move to Virginia, because Apalache did not allow slavery.
Briggstock spent a considerable time in the Nacoochee Valley, which in the 1700s would be in the territory of the Lower Cherokees much of the time. He also visited a Spanish-speaking gem mining colony in the vicinity of what is now, Franklin, NC. He only mentioned Apalachete and Spanish-speaking peoples in both locations. The description of Briggstock’s expedition is in a book, published by French ethnologist-historian Charles de Rochefort, in 1658. De Rochefort stated that at that time, the Southern Appalachians were most occupied by Apalachete’s (Proto-Creeks), but in the past had a considerable Carib (Arawak?) population. He said that there were still some Caribs living in remote areas of the mountains.
(9) 1653 Yeardley Expedition from Virginia – A party of Virginians under the leadership of Francis Yeardley visited the principal chief of the Tuscaroras in central North Carolina. At that time, it was in southern Virginia. The chief told them that a wealthy Spaniard, 30 members of his family and seven Africans had lived in his village for seven years before moving westward.
Between 1587 and 1670, the Atlantic Coast between the mouth of the Savannah River in Georgia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina was a “no-man’s land” significantly depopulated of its indigenous peoples by European plagues and slave raids and claimed by three nations, Spain, France and England. The South Carolina coast was the domain of pirates, many of whom were Sephardic Jews. Its intricate pattern of barrier islands, capes, tidal marshes, tidal creeks and the mouths of rivers that led all the way to the Appalachians made an ideal location for covert groups of colonists to land and then disappear into the interior.
(10) 1669 – Lederer Expedition – Johann Lederer, a recent immigrant to Virginia from Germany led a small exploration party southward along the Blue Ridge Mountain escarpment of North Carolina. This was one of three journeys that he made to the west in search of a route to the Pacific Ocean. The map, which he prepared for his book on the journey, showed the southwest Virginia and NW North Carolina Mountains occupied solely by the Rickohocken Indians. The largest town on the South Carolina side of the Blue Ridge Mountains was named Sara . . . pronounced Jzhă : ră.
The party turned around at the headwaters of the Keowee River. In the vicinity of the Keowee, Lederer sketched a man-made dam and pond at that location. Lederer’s map does not mention the Cherokees or Spanish settlers in the mountains.
(11) 1674 – Gabriel Arthur and John Needham were dispatched by their employer to establish trade relations between Virginia and a dense population of Proto-Creeks living along the Little Tennessee River. Needham was captured and later killed by hostile Natives in southwestern Virginia. Arthur only mentioned seeing Spaniards, Portuguese, Africans and a Caucasian colonists living in a brick town with a large church. The church had a 8-9 feet tall bell, which was rung three times a day to call these Christians to prayer. This description exactly matches the religious practices of the Anatolian and Armenia Orthodox Churches.
Arthur crossed the North Carolina Mountains then traveled southeastward to arrive in the newly founded colony of Charleston. Nowhere in his journey did he encounter Indians, whose tribal name was similar to Cherokee . . . only Muskogeans.
(12) 1684 – Dr. Henry Woodward facilitated a treaty with an alliance of eight small villages on the tributaries of the Savannah River. The leading town was named Tamasee, which is a creek word meaning, “Tama – Colony” of or “Descendants of.” The Mother Town of Tama was located on the Altamaha River in present day Southeast Georgia. Woodward found the population of this alliance to small to produce much income, so he immediately traveled west and established trading posts on the Lower Chattahoochee River and the Upper Ocmulgee River.
(13) 1690 and 1693 – James Moore, future governor of South Carolina, along with a few companions explored the Upper Savannah River Basin, the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River and the region around Hayesville, NC in two expeditions. South Carolina considered northern Georgia to be part of their province until after the American Revolution. Moore encountered Spanish-speaking miners with long beards in both the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia and the Hayesville-Murphy area of North Carolina. The exploration party quickly turned around, when they realized that there was a fortified Spanish trading post in the valley and that they would be greatly out-numbered. The Creek town of Apalache, the fortified Spanish trading post and the Spanish-speaking mining colony disappeared later that decade, apparently from a covert military action that was part of the Nine Years’ War (1688–97)
.(14) 1700-1701 – John Lawson was a young Englishman, who took it upon himself to explorer all of Carolina. There was no North and South Carolina at that time. For the southern part of the expedition, Lawson traveled along the coast to the mouth of the Santee River then with a few companions paddled up the Santee River and its tributaries all the way to the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He stated that virtually every Indian village spoke a different language and practiced different customs than its neighbors.
Lawson was awed with the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Upcountry. He stated that it was a far more desirable place to live than the Low Country.
The maps online for Lawson’s southern journey do not correlate with Lawson’s description of his journey. Therefore, they should not be considered accurate references. The mapmakers show him going up the Wateree River to the Catawba River in North Carolina. Lawson specifically stated that he paddled through Congaree Indian territory to the Blue Ridge then turned west until he encountered Keowee villages. The Keowee village was at the headwaters of the Keowee River in northwestern South Carolina. Duh-h-h!
The villages of Keowee and Tamasee were the two dominant members of the Lower Cherokee Alliance. They signed a trade agreement with Carolina in 1684, before the terms Charakey or Cherokee were even being used.
Lawson’s description of the Keowee exactly matches Hernando de Soto’s 1540 description of the people in Ocute, which was a Muskogean province in Northeast Georgia. He said that they were very tall, plus wore turbans and mustaches.
There is a very good reason for this identical description. The mother town for the Keowees was in present day Watkinsville, GA – south of Athens. The site still has three mounds. The Keowees were a sub-tribe of the Oconees . . . who were called Ocute by the Hernando de Soto Expedition chroniclers The Keowee village in South Carolina was a small colony to facilitate trade with the mountain tribes. None of academicians in the Carolinas seem to be aware of it.
Nowhere in the book, which Lawson wrote about the geography and peoples of Carolina, does he mention the word Cherokee or Charakey. Since he literally stayed in the future capital village of the Lower Cherokees, that is strong evidence that in 1700, the Cherokees did not exist as a tribe.
John Lawson was named Royal Surveyor of the northern district of Carolina in 1610. While on a surveying expedition on the Neuse River with his friend, Christoph von Graffenried, and an African slave, whose name does not survive, the three were captured by Tuscarora Indians. Von Graffenried was soon freed, but Lawson and his assistant were ritually tortured to death.
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
- What is the difference between Coweta, Cohutta and Kaweta? - June 18, 2018
- Native American appointed special prosecutor to bust crime in Georgia - June 16, 2018
- Archaeologist Arthur Kelly found Paracus-style skulls on Etowah River - June 13, 2018
- Downtown Cancun, Mexico in August 1970 - June 12, 2018
- My color slides survived eight years in an oven . . . but there was another surprise that made me weep! - June 10, 2018