Saturiwa Indians

Saturiwa Tribe. Meaning unknown.

Saturiwa Connections. (See Utina)

Saturiwa Location. About the mouth of St. Johns River. Some early writers seem to include Cumberland Island in their jurisdiction.

Saturiwa Villages. Laudonni√©re (1586) says that the chief of this tribe ruled over 30 subchiefs, but it is uncertain whether these subchiefs represented villages belonging allied tribes, or both. The Spaniards give the following: San Juan dell Puerrto, the main mission for this province under which were Vera Cruz, Arratbo, Potaya, San Matheo, San Pablo, Hicachirico (“Little Town”), Chinisca, and Carabay. San Diego de Salamototo, near the site of Picolata, on which no villages seem have depended; and Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, 3 leagues from St. Augustine, may be classed here somewhat uncertainly.

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Saturiwa History. The Saturiwa were visited by Jean Ribault in 1562 and probably by earlier explorers, but they appear first under their proper name in the chronicles of the Huguenot settlement of Florida of 1564-5. Fort Caroline was built in the territory of the Saturiwa and intimate relations continued between the French and Indians until the former were dispossessed by Spain. The chief, known as Saturiwa at this time, assisted De Gourgues in 1567 to avenge the destruction of his countrymen. It is perhaps for this reason that we find the Spaniards espousing the cause of Utina against Saturiwa 10 years later. The tribe soon submitted to Spain, however, and was one of the first missionized, its principal mission being San Juan del Puerto. There labored Francisco de Pareja to whose grammar and religious works we are chiefly indebted for our knowledge of the Timucua language (Pareja, 1612, 1613, 1856). Like the other Florida Indians, they suffered severely from pestilence in 1617 and 1672. The name of their chief appears among those involved in the Timucua rebellion of 1656, and the names of their missions appear in the list of Bishop Calder6n and in that of 1680. We hear nothing more of them, and they evidently suffered the same fate as the other tribes of the group.

Saturiwa Population. No separate figures for the Saturiwa have been preserved, except that a missionary states in 1602 that there were about 500 Christians among them and in 1675 San Juan del Puerto contained “about thirty persons” and Salamototo “about forty.” (See Utina)

Connection in which they have become noted. The prominence of the Saturiwa was due to the intimate dealings between them and the French colonists. Later the same people, though not under the same name, became a main support of the Spanish missionary movement among the Florida Indians.


Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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