In 1565, Spain decided that they wanted to build a permanent settlement in North America. Captain General Pedro Menendez found a colony in St. Augustine, Florida. A colony is a group of people who settle in a new land and bring with them the culture, language, and religion of their old land. In 1566, the Spaniards moved north along the coast and settled on two of the barrier islands, naming them St. Catherine's Island and Cumberland island. They built a mission on St. Catherine's Island and named it Santa Catalina. A mission is like a church and its main purpose is to convert the religion and culture of the Native people to the religion and culture of the Spanish.
The Spanish named this area of land Guale (pronounced "Wallie") after the Indians living in the area at the time. Only about thirty men decided to stay in Guale to protect the land and to begin converting that Native Americans to Catholicism. Because the Spanish built a fort and a church, they were announcing to the whole world that this land was theirs to keep.
The Spanish mission on St. Catherine's Island and Cumberland Island were successful for awhile. In fact, the Spanish later settled on St. Simons Island and at Sapelo, building missions there too. There were some tensions and conflict between the Indians and the missionaries though. The missionaries tried to force the Indians to conform to a new way of life. The Indians had been content with their way of life for thousands of years and did not appreciate strangers coming onto their land and telling them to change their religion and village life. As a result, there were occasional uprisings and revolts. Some of the Indians moved further away from the Spanish missions. The Indian population in the region began to decrease because of the diseases brought over by the Europeans.
Things started to heat up when the British arrived in North America and began settling just north of the Spanish missions. The British settled at present-day Charleston, South Carolina around 1670. They set up trade routes with the local Indians and encouraged the Indians to disagree with the Spanish and to fight back. The British also encouraged pirates to raid the Spanish settlements. As a result, the Spanish missions struggled and eventually the people living and working at the Spanish missions withdrew from the barrier islands off the Georgia coast. By 1685, almost 100 years after Spain built its first permanent settlement in North America, all of the missions had been abandoned.
Answer the following questions below on a separate sheet of paper. Please write the question and your answer.
1. What was the name of the Spanish mission established on Cumberland Island?
2. What was the main purpose of the Spanish missions in the barrier islands?
3. Why did the Spanish missions begin to decline?
4. What do you think would have happened if the Spanish missionaries and the Native Americans had gotten along better?