Spain's Pacification Policy

Conquest by the Gospel

Spain’s campaign to extend its dominance into North America by means of missions and gift-based alliances made Florida part of the larger Spanish borderlands; the same tactics employed in New Mexico, Texas, and California. On the peripheries of empire the Spanish Crown turned to a policy of pacification that reduced the military to the job of protecting missions and missionaries.  Information about these missions is sparse. While Jesuit historians treated their order’s fruitless Florida missions with characteristic thoroughness, the Franciscans who replaced them on the ground seem to have had less to say about themselves. This is due, perhaps, to the fact that precious manuscripts housed in St. Augustine may have been lost in 1702, when invadors from South Carolina burned their library.


31. “The martyrdom P. Petrus Martinez.”  In:  Matthias Tanner.  Societas Jesu.  Prague, 1675.
Tanner’s illustrated necrology of Jesuit martyrs throughout the world includes a description of the lives and martyrdoms of nine of their order who died in Florida. 



32. Fray Francisco Pareja.  Confessionario en lengua Castellana, y Timuquana.  Mexico City, 1613.*
Many customs of native peoples were set down by Franciscan missionaries who viewed their practices as sin that must be carefully described and understood so that appropriate formulas could be devised to replace their “old, barbaric ways” with Christianity. A primary linguistic/anthropological source is the work of Fray Francisco Pareja, who published several books that demonstrated his command of the language and many of the customs of the Timucuan Indians of northern Florida. 

*This book has been digitized in full and forms part of the Library’s data base of Indigenous languages, available through Internet Archive online at  


33. Juan Ferro Machado.  Señor. El Bachiller don Juan Ferro Machado … Visitador General de las provincias de la Florida.  [Madrid? 1688]. 

This memorial to the King of Spain on the ecclesiastical visitation of Florida conducted in 1688 by Ferro Machado, deputy to the bishop of Cuba, claims that the Florida Indians are being mistreated. He recommends the establishment of a separate bishopric of Florida in St. Augustine to keep closer watch on the mission system.


34. [Shipwreck of Jonathan Dickinson’s party.]  In: Pieter van der Aa. Naaukeurige versameling. Leyden, 1707. Vol. 28. 


35. Jonathan Dickinson. God’s protecting Providence.  London, 1700.

Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker trader from Jamaica, was shipwrecked on the Wild Coast of Florida near present-day Jupiter Inlet in September, 1696, along with his family, his slaves, and the ship’s company. Dickinson’s printed account of his experiences includes descriptions of the barren coastal landscape and the sometimes harsh treatment that the party received from the four groups of Indians they encountered on their harrowing 200-mile walk to St. Augustine. There, the Spanish governor told them that the garrison had not seen a supply ship in three years. South of St. Augustine, Dickonson met only one Indian who admitted to being a Christian. North of it, he noted several flourishing missions.

  To next section: wars & Schemes: Carolina, Queen Anne's War, the Gulf, Azilia, Carolana and Georgia, Jenkin's Ear, and the Maritime Presidio  

Exhibition may be seen in THE Reading Room from january through
april 2013.

Exhibition prepared by Amy Turner Bushnell, Independent Research Scholar, and Susan Danforth, Curator of Maps, John Carter Brown Library.