A New World: The Peoples of La Florida

Houses and Other Buildings


The Guales lived in houses constructed of wood, thatched with palm-fronds. These dwellings were usually circular, more rarely rectangular in shape, accommodating from a few persons to more than a hundred individuals.


There were also to be found, in special circumstances, separate dwellings for women. This arrangement was sometimes adopted as a means of assuring family peace in cases where a man had plural wives.

The bohio, or council-house, served several purposes. Here the natives held meetings and ceremonial activities. On occasion, as many as three hundred men could sleep in one. 12 The bohio at Tolomato was honored by the display, in a place of prominence, of an armorial shield bearing the royal arms of Spain.13

There were also mortuary houses in which the corpses of members of the community were kept for a period of mourning.14 During his captivity Fray Francisco d'Avila was ordered to serve in such a charnel, where food was regularly left for the demons to consume; he refused to have any part in this act of pagan worship.15

The Quale village had a special house for storing grain.16 Ore says this custom was common in every part of La Florida, describing the construction as a type of barn supported by four high and bulky posts.17

lbid., 198.

Informacion juridica sobre los sucesos de la provincia de Guale, de la rebelion di los indios y muerte de cinco religiosos de San Francisco (San Agustin, a 12 de enero de 1598) (AGI, Audiencia de Santo Domingo, 224) ed. Ignacio Omaecheverria, "Martires Franciscanos de Georgia," Missio11alia Hispa11ica 12 (1955): 296.

Larson, 198-200.

[Luis] Jeronimo de Ore, Relacion Historica de La Florida, ed. Atanasio Lopez, O.F.M., 2 vols. (Madrid, 1931), 1:101; English trans. Maynard Geiger, O.F.M., The Martyrs of Florida, Franciscan Studies, 18 (July, 1936), (New York: Joseph F. Wagner), 91-92.

Lewis H. Larson, Jr., "Historic Guale Indians of the Georgia Coast and the Impact of the Spanish Mission Effort," in Tacachale: Essays 011 the India11s of Florida and Southeastern Georgia during the Historic Period, ed. J.T. Milanich and S. Proctor (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1978), 132.

Ore, ed. Lopez 1 :67; Geiger, Martyrs, 24.

CREDIT: REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
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REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
The First Georgia Missions: Our Southern Catholic Heritage, Dr. Paul Thigpen and Katherine Ragan. Illustrations by Pamela Gardner, based on the retablo by Dan Nichols. This retablo is part of the parish patrimony of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church in Jasper, Georgia

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