The Utina, with the possible exception of the Potano, was the leading Timucua division in Florida and gave its name to the whole. They lived along the Suwannee River to the St. Johns and eastward, though some of the subdivisions given should be rated as independent tribes.
First European contact with the Utina Indians
The Utina first came into contact with Europeans during Ponce de Leon’s initial expedition in 1513 when the peninsula and subsequently the State received its name. Narvaez in 1528 and De Soto in 1539 passed through the country of the western tribes. In 1564 the French came in contact with them after the establishment of Fort Caroline. On one occasion they sent a contingent to help them defeat the neighboring Potano.
After the Spaniards had supplanted the French, the Timucua allied themselves with the Spanish and in 1576 or 1577 a body of soldiers was sent to support them against several neighboring tribes. The Spaniards supplanted the French in 1565 and gradually conquered the Timucua tribes while the Franciscans missionized them.The Utina were one of the earlier missionized tribes.
Ribault visited those on and near St. Johns River in 1562, and the French settlers of Fort Caroline on that river in 1564-65 were in close contact with them. A considerable part of our knowledge regarding these Indians is contained in the records of that colony.
Laudonniere (1586) states that there were more than 40 towns under the Utina chief, but among them he includes some sub-divisions that were independent of the Utina such as “Acquera” (Acuera) and Moquoso far to the south. This makes it unsure of the accuracy of his claims of status of others he names such as: Cadecha, Calanay, Chilili, Eclauou, Molona, Omittaqua, and Onachaquara.
In De Soto’s time Aguacaleyquen or Caliquen seems to have been the principal town. In the mission period we are told that the chief lived at Ayaocuto. Acassa, a town inland from Tampa Bay.
Other (mostly Utina) towns in the Timucua empire included:
- Aguacaleyquen, a town in the province of Utina between Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers.
- Ahoica, probably near the Santa Fe River.
- Alachepoyo, inland from Tampa Bay.
- Alatico, probably on Cumberland Island.
- Albino, 40 leagues or 4 days inland from St. Augustine and within 1% to 2 leagues of two others called Tucuro and Utiaca.
- Alimacani, on an island of the same name not far north of the mouth of St. Johns River.
- Amaca, inland from Tampa Bay.
- Anacapa, in the Fresh Water Province 20 leagues south of St. Augustine. Anacharaqua, location unknown.
- Antonico, in the Fresh Water Province.
- Apalu, in the province of Yustaga.
- Arapaja, 70 leagues from St. Augustine, Probably on Alapaha River.
- Araya, south of the Withlacoochee River.
- Archaha, location unknown.
- Assile, on or near Aucilla River.
- Astina, location unknown.
- Atuluteca, probably near San Pedro or Cumberland Island.
- Ayacamale, location unknown.
- Ayaocute, in the Utina country 34 leagues from St. Augustine.
- Ayotore, inland from Cumberland Island and probably southwest.
- Beca, location unknown.
- Becao, location unknown.
- Bejesi, location unknown, perhaps the Apalachee town of Wacissa.
- Cachipile, 70 leagues west of St. Augustine.
- Çacoroy, south of St. Augustine and 1′J2 leagues from Nocoroco, probably in the Fresh Water Province.
- Cadecha, allied with Utina.
- Calany, allied with Utina.
- Caparaca, south of St. Augustine, southwest of Nocoroco and probably in the Fresh Water Province.
- Casti, location unknown.
- Cayuco, near Tampa Bay.
- Chamini, 70 leagues west of St. Augustine.
- Chimaucayo, south of St. Augustine.
- Çhinica, 131 leagues from St. Augustine.
- Cholupaha, south of Aguacaleyquen in the Potano Province.
- Chuaquin, 60 leagues west of St. Augustine.
- Çicale, south of St. Augustine and 3 leagues south of Nocoroco, perhaps in the Fresh Water Province.
- Cilili, said to be a Utina town.
- Colucuchia, several leagues south of Nocoroco.
- Coya, location unknown.
- Disnica, south of St. Augustine, perhaps should be Tisnica.
- Eçalamototo, on the site of Picolata
- Egita, near Tampa Bay, possibly a variant of Oçita.
- Eclauou, location unknown.
- Edelano, on an island of the same name in St. Johns River.
- Elajay, location unknown, perhaps Calusa.
- Elanogue, in the Fresh Water Province near Antonico.
- Emola, location unknown.
- Enecaque, location unknown.
- Equale, in the Fresh Water Province.
- Ereze, inland from Tampa Bay.
- Esquega, a town or tribe on the west coast.
- Exangue, near Cumberland Island. Filache, in the Fresh Water Province.
- Guacara, on Suwannee River in northwestern Florida
- Guaçoco, probably a town on a plain so called Urriparacoxi country. Heliocopile, location unknown.
- Helmacape, location unknown.
- Hicachirico (“Little town”), one league from the mission of San Juan del Puerto, which was probably at the mouth of St. Johns River in the Saturiwa Province.
- Hiocaia, the probable name of a town giving its name to a chief, location unknown.
- Huara, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Itaraholata, south of Potano, Potano Province.
- Juraya, a rancheria, apparently in the Timucua territory.
- Laca, another name for Eçalamototo.
- Lamale, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Luca, between Tampa Bay and the Withlacoochee River in the Urriparacoxi country.
- Machaba, 64 leagues from St. Augustine, near the northern border of the Timucua country inland.
- Maiaca the town of the Fresh Water Province most distant from St. Augustine, a few leagues north of Cape Canaveral and on St. Johns River.
- Malaca, south of Nocoroco.
- Marracou, location unknown.
- Mathiaqua, location unknown.
- Mayajuaca, near Maiaca.
- Mayara, on lower St. Johns River.
- Mocama, possibly a town on Cumberland Island, province of Tacatacuru, but probably a province.
- Mogote, south of St. Augustine in the region of Nocoroco.
- Moloa, on the south side of St. Johns River near its mouth, province of Saturiwa. Napa, on an island one league from Cumberland Island.
- Napituca, north of Aguacaleyquen, province of Utina.
- Natobo, a mission station and probably native town 232 leagues from San Juan
- del Puerto at the mouth of St. Johns River, province of Saturiwa.
- Nocoroco, at the mouth of a river, perhaps Halifax River, one day’s journey south of Matanzas Inlet, Fresh Water Province.
- Ocale, in a province of the same name in the neighborhood of the present Ocala.
- Oçita, probably on Terra Ceia Island, on Hillsborough Bay.
- Onathaqua, a town or tribe near Cape Canaveral.
- Osigubede, a chief and probably town on the west coast.
- Panara, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Patca, location unknown.
- Patica, on the seacoast 8 leagues south of the mouth of St. Johns River.
- Patica, on the west bank of St. Johns River in the Utina territory.
- Pebe, a chief and probably a town on the west coast.
- Pentoaya, at the head of Indian River.
- Perquyinaland, south of Nocoroco; possibly the names of two towns, Perqui and Maland, run together.
- Pia, on the east coast south of Nocoroco.
- Pitano, a mission station and probably a native town a league and a half from Puturiba.
- Pohoy, a town or province, or both, at Tampa Bay, and perhaps a synonym of Ocita.
- Potano, the principal town of the Potano tribe, on the Alachua plains.
- Potaya, 4 leagues from San Juan del Puerto at the mouth of St. Johns River. Puala, near Cumberland Island.
- Punhuri, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Puturiba, probably near the northern end of Cumberland Island, province of
- Tacatacuru. There was another town of the same name west of the Suwannee River.
- Sabobche, near the coast south of Nocoroco.
- Saint Julian, in the Fresh Water Province.
- San Mateo, about 2 leagues from San Juan del Puerto at the mouth of St. Johns River, province of Saturiwa.
- San Pablo, about 13 leagues from San Juan del Puerto, province of Saturiwa. San Sebastian, on an arm of the sea near St. Augustine.
- Sarauahi, a quarter of a league from San Juan del Puerto.
- Sena, on an “inlet” north of the mouth of St. Johns River, perhaps Amelia River. Siyagueche, near Cape Canaveral.
- Socochuno, location unknown.
- Soloy, not far from St. Augustine and probably on the river called Seloy by the French.
- Surruque, a town or tribe near Cape Canaveral.
- Tacatacuru, the name of Cumberland Island and Province, and perhaps of the chief town, on the mainland side of the island near the southern end, 2 leagues from the Barra de San Pedro.
- Tafocole, inland from Tampa Bay.
- Tahupa, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Tanpacaste, a chief and perhaps town north of Pohoy, i. e., north of Tampa Bay.
- Tarihica, 54 leagues from St. Augustine, and perhaps in the Onatheaqua Province.
- Tocaste, on a large lake south of the Withlacoochee River, province of Urriparacoxi.
- Tocoaya, very near Cumberland Island.
- Tocobaga, the chief town of the province so called, in Safety Harbor, Tampa Bay.
- Tocoy, in the Fresh Water Province 5 leagues south of St. Augustine. Tolapatafi, probably toward the west coast of the peninsula of Florida near Aucilla River.
- Toloco, location unknown.
- Tomeo, near the Fresh Water Province.
- Tucura, near the Fresh Water Province.
- Tucuro, see Abino.
- Tunsa, possibly a synonym of Antonico.
- Uçachile, a town or tribe in the Yustaga Province, perhaps the mother town of the Osochi.
- Uqueten, the southernmost village of the province of Ocale on Withlacoochee River entered by De Soto.
- Urica, 60 leagues from St. Augustine.
- Uriutina, just north of the river of Aguacaleyquen, perhaps at Lake City.
- Urubia, near Cape Canaveral and 134 leagues from the town of Surruque. Utayne, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Utiaca, see Abino.
- Utichini, inland from Cumberland Island and within a league and a half of Puturiba.
- Utinamocharra, 1 day’s journey north of Potano, Potano Province.
- Vera Cruz, half a league from San Juan del Puerto, province of Saturiwa.
- Vicela, a short distance south of Withlacoochee River, province of Urriparacoxi.
- Xapuica, near the Guale country, perhaps a synonym of Caparaca.
- Xatalalano, inland from Cumberland Island.
- Yaocay, near Antonico in the Fresh Water Province.
- Ycapalano, inland from Cumberland Island and probably within half a league or a league of Puturiba.
- Yufera, inland and probably northwest from Cumberland Island.
Our knowledge of the Timucua language is derived mainly from religious works by the missionaries Pareja and Mouilla and a grammar compiled by the former. During the early half of the seventeenth century the missions were in a flourishing condition but a general rebellion in 1656 resulted in some losses by death and exile. They also suffered severely from European diseases which raged in the missions in 1613-17, 1649-50, and 1672. It is probable that some decline in population took place even before the great rebellion but that and the epidemics occasioned considerable losses.
Toward the end of the seventeenth century all the Florida Indians began to suffer from the invasion of Creek and Yuchi Indians to the northward, and this was accentuated after the break-up of the Apalachee in 1704 by the expedition under Moore.
The Timucua collectively are estimated by Mooney (1928) to have numbered 13,000 in 1650, including 3,000 Potano, 1,000 Hostaqua, 8,000 Timucua proper and their allies, and 1,000 Tocobaga. In a letter dated February 2, 1635, it is asserted that 30,000 Christian Indians were connected with the 44 missions then maintained in the Guale and Timucua provinces. While this figure is probably too high, it tends to confirm Mooney’s (1928) estimate.
In 1675 Bishop Calderón of Cuba states that he confirmed 13,152 in the four provinces of Timucua, Guale. Apalache, and Apalachicoli, but Governor Salazar estimates only 1,400 in the Timucua missions that year.
Later, European diseases decimated the Timucua very rapidly, and their ruin was completed by attacks of the English and the northern Indians, so that by 1728 the single town which seems to have contained most of the survivors had but 15 men and 20 women. Eight years later 17 men were reported there. Not long after this time the tribe disappears entirely, though it is highly probable that numbers of individuals who had belonged to it had made their homes with other Indians.
As to the Utina tribe by itself, we have a missionary letter dated 1602 which estimates its population as 1,500, in this case probably an understatement.
What happened to the Utina tribe?
After most of the Utina died in massive epidemics, the remaining Timucua were concentrated into missions near St. Augustine, but this did not secure immunity against further attacks by the English and their Indian allies. Sometime after 1736 the remnants of these people seem to have removed to a stream in the present day Volusia County which is called the Tomoka today. Here they disappear from history, and it is probable that they were swallowed up by the invading Seminole.