Potano Indians

Potano Tribe – Meaning unknown.

Potano Connections. (See Utina)

Potano Location. In the, territory of the present Alachua County.

Potano Towns. The following places named in the De Soto narratives probably belonged to this tribe: Itaraholata or Ytara, Potano, Utinamocharra or Utinama, Cholupaha, and a town they called Mala-Paz. A letter dated 1602 mentions five towns, and on and after 1606, when missionaries reached the tribe, stations were established called San Francisco, San Miguel, Santa Anna, San Buenaventura, and San Martin(?). There is mention also of a mission station called Apalo.

Potano History. The name Potano first appears as that of a province through which De Soto passed in 1539. In 1564-65 the French colonists of Florida found this tribe at war with the Utina and assisted the latter to win victory over them. After the Spaniards had supplanted the French, they also supported the Utina in wars between them and the Potano. In 1584 a Spanish captain sent to invade the Potano country was defeated and slain. A second expedition, however, killed many Indians and drove them from their town. In 1601 they asked to be allowed to return to it and in 1606 missionary work undertaken among them resulting in their conversion along with most of the other Timucua peoples. Their mission was known as San Francisco de Potano and it appears in the mission lists of 1655 and 1680. In 1656 they took part in a general Timucuan uprising which lasted 8 months. In 1672 a pestilence carried off many and a the chief of Potano does not appear as signatory to a letter written to Charles II by several Timucua chiefs in 1688, it is possible their separate identity had come to an end by the date. Early in the 18th century the Timucua along with the rest of Spanish Indians of Florida were decimated rapidly and the remnant of the Potano must have shared their fate. (See Utina)

Potano Population. Mooney (1928) estimates the number of Potano Indians at at 3,000 in 1650 and this is probably fairly accurate, as the Franciscan missionaries state that they were catechizing 1,100 persons in the 5 towns belonging to the tribe in 1602. In 1675 there were about 160 in the 2 Potano missions (See Acuera and Utina)

Connections in which they have become noted. The Potano tribe was anciently celebrated as, with one or two possible exceptions, the most powerful of all the Timucua peoples.


Alachua County FL,

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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1 thought on “Potano Indians”

  1. Hola Bird and followers! Research reporting continues here concerning the Fla. native Americans history in context of mxd race amerind. in the land of the slave, the home of the brave original people living in the deep durrrty south!
    The Potano Indian people were in a good location away from alot of danger Brit & Spn. corruption. Reportedly there are 5 Potano twps of the Spn Fransican mission sysm. in 1650. There were over a dzn documented and recognized Amerind. communities active in the territ. later known as the Gulf States.
    Signifigant is the ldrshp and structure within natv american society in the deep south. The Timucuans Potana division we’re within groups in the lower muscogee Creek conferation. Even the south eastern Sioux Indian people were nearby as the Guale Inds who lived on Sapelo Isle, GA larger Ind. population. The English were slavers and criminals putting natv Americans in to servitude, jail, wholesale manslaughter on the Inds who defend the coast against raids who terrorized and bothered peaceful Indians around Charlestown, SC. as far as St. Augustine, Fla.! The mighty Shawnees frequented la florida in the northern part of the fla-ga border mingled with the Hitichi living in eastern Alabamon territory who exchange the green corn for French made bread and fruit to the Mobilian speaking fish eating Choctaws surrounding Choctawhatchee Bay sound and westward into Mississippi where the strict and law abiding Chickasaws and Caddos who dutifully guarded holy ground and the red earth long tall people property.
    And the Westos ethnically mxd grp of Anglo natv American (asianic) Algonquian Inds vacationed at their winter homes among interrelated Yamasee Ind. people living in South Georgia ! These Potano Timucuans send warriers to the north who walk and talked about distinction and honor of being real men strong and proud! Desoto meet with independent natives unafraid to fight cross wearing heathens if necessary. So be it!
    Those Timucuana Potanos twp. located in northern Central Florida had joined with the already mentioned Choctaws.
    The history about the Florida band of Pensacola Choctaws and Tunicans* in the context of their position between the tribes of the GA Santees, the lower Muscogee Creek Inds (later recognized as the Fla Seminoles), the Shawnees, the lower town Cherokees as savers of the Florida native Indian population that has survived consist of Eastern band Timucuans who live today who were the member descendants and non tribal citizens of the Seminoes whose story is not widely known about.
    I am going to learn how to read and speak Timucuans words. Unlike the Paiute people I won’t ever speak the language of the enemy the white man dog. I am compiling research data for reports about the families involved in the Indian Wars, conflictive encounters with European emigres. I love Nippy for life. Stay tuned. Keep reading. Keep thinking. Reply! I love history! HAPPY FISHING, y’all ! GDAP!

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