Satellite image showing possible Spanish fort in the Nacoochee Valley
Those of you have the book, The Apalache Chronicles, may recall that while Richard Briggstock was a guest of the King of Apalache in 1653, he visited the Nacoochee Valley, where a fortified Spanish trading post and mission had been established. He also traveled farther north into what was probably the Franklin, NC area and made friends with Spanish gem miners there. I think that I have found the footprint of the Spanish fort in the Nacoochee Valley.
First of all, I found confirmation of the trading post in the Spanish colonial archives. In 1646, Florida Governor Benito Ruíz de Salazar Vallecilla directed that a pack mule road be built from St. Augustine to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River in order to construct a trading post to develop the deerskin industry there.
A few months later, I found a French map from 1684 by Jean Baptiste Franquelin that showed the road and noted that the original road had been extended over the mountains to the Little Tennessee River. That extension is now known as the Unicoi Trail. However, originally the Unicoi trail included most of the road. Unicoi is derived from the Creek words that mean “path following water.” Most of the Spanish road paralleled rivers.
Analysis of enhanced satellite image
Notice that there are really two architectural footprints, one triangular and the other rectangular. I don’t know if it means that a rectangular fort was added onto a triangular fort . . . or that they are two different forts, constructed at different times. At the top is a drawing a triangular Spanish fort looked like in that era.
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