Spanish Speaking Jewish Colonists in the Nacoochee Valley . . . 1694
Factual history that you will only read in a South Carolina State History textbook
Well, actually, you will also read in The Forgotten History of North Georgia and The Nacoochee Valley . . . Ancient Crossroads of the Americas, but certainly not in Wikipedia. Southeastern academicians seem determined to keep the presence of 16th and 17th century Sephardic colonists in the Appalachians a closely guarded secret. There is a brief mention in Wikipedia, which states, “There are vague and unsubstantiated claims from unreliable sources that there were some Spanish-speaking colonists in the Southern Appalachians during the 1600s. Archaeologists have not found any proof of their presence.”
Actually, two 16th or 17th century mining villages, containing Spanish artifacts, were found in the Nacoochee Valley by Anglo-American gold miners in the 1820s and 1830s. They were reported in Georgia newspapers at the time and described by pioneer archaeologist, Charles C. Jones, Jr. in his landmark book, Antiquities of the Southern Indians (1873).
In his book, Archaeological Survey of North Georgia, archaeologist Robert Wauchope mentioned being shown an immense number of 16th and 17th century European weapons and tools by “old time” families of the Nacoochee Valley. He interpreted them as being deposited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition.
In April 2010, I found a boulder at 5,400 feet above sea level on Hoopers Bald, North Carolina, which memorialized a Sephardic marriage on September 15, 1615 in Ladino Spanish. The boulder is still there and has been verified by many people.
Also, in the late 20th century, geologists radiocarbon dated mining timbers at silver mine in the base of Fort Mountain, GA, plus gold mines near Murphy, NC and Mount Mitchell, NC. They were found to date from around 1580 AD to 1600 AD.
During the first horrific stage of the Yamasee War, a Jewish girl carved “Liube 1715” on a boulder at Track Rock Gap, GA. Presumably, Liube’s parents had been killed and she was either a captive of Indians or fleeing a war party and wanted to let any rescuers that she had come through the gap.
Straight from the South Carolina Colonial Archives
HOWEVER, the two descriptions below are straight from the official colonial archives of the State of South Carolina. This information is taught to South Carolina school children, but not to North Carolina and Georgia school children. Apparently, they don’t want their children to know that their were Jewish colonists in the Georgia and North Carolina Mountains a century before Anglo-American settlers founded Charleston.
1690: European readers became aware of the Apalache Indians in North Georgia and the presence of gold in Northeast Georgia, when the memoirs of Captain René de Laudonnière. Commander of Fort Caroline, were published in English in 1587. All this information was confirmed, plus with more geographical details, when a book by Charles De Rochefort was published in English during 1660.
James Moore and Maurice Mathews attempted to prospect for gold in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia, but were turned away by what they thought were hostile Native Americans (not Proto-Cherokee allies of Carolina). They then took the Unicoi Trail northward into what is now Clay and Cherokee Counties, North Carolina. Here they observed white men mining, probably in the the Andrews Valley near Murphy, where there were silver deposits. All the men wore long beards.
It is interesting that in the early 1700s, Carolinians were aware of gold being in the Nacoochee Valley. Moore was appointed Royal Governor in 1704. At that time, he reported that Indian allies (Proto-Cherokes) had moved into the Hiwassee River Valley and killed all the Spanish-speaking miners. That means that there were no Cherokees living there until around 1700.
1694: An exploration party composed of British soldiers and their Native American guides from the Savannah Headwaters towns followed a trail to a vantage point overlooking the Nacoochee Valley. The British observed many columns of smoke. They were told by their Native guides that the smoke was produced by the gold smelters, being operated by Spanish gold miners. Obviously, being seriously outnumbered, the mounted British soldiers turned around and raced back to inform government officials in Charleston. Apparently, the colonists in the Nacoochee Valley were subsequently either killed or driven out by Proto-Cherokees at the request of Carolina officials.
Straight from the French Colonial Archives
1690-1700: French engineers, marines and traders explored and mapped the Southern Appalachians. At that time, the predominant tribe in Western North Carolina were the Shawnee, while the Apalache dominated North Georgia.
Apparently while within the future boundaries of Georgia, the explorers encountered a village that they said had to be seen to be believed. It was a town of log cabins. The occupants had European beards, hair color and eyes. They spoke a broken form of Elizabethan English. This may be the descendants of the survivors of the Roanoke Colony, who took refuge in the Nacoochee Valley or the colony settled by the Englishmen who decided in 1621 to settle in the Kingdom of Apalache rather than Virginia.
The olive complexion of these mountaineers and past experience with Mediterranean traders led the French explorers to conclude they had found a colony of “Moors” in the New World. Because of the English language being spoke, it is more likely that the skin color was from 70 years of intermarriage with Native women or nearby Sephardic Jewish miners.
No 20th or 21st century archaeologist has attempted to find any of these very early European colonies. There are obviously some missing chapters from American History textbooks.
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