San Pedro de Mocama

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San Pedro de Mocama was a Spanish Franciscan mission built in the mid-16th century on Cumberland Island in what is now the U.S. state of Georgia. It was part of the missions system of Spanish Florida, and was founded to serve the Tacatacuru, a chiefdom of the Timucua. San Pedro was one of the earliest and most prominent missions of Spanish Florida, and its church was as big as the church in St. Augustine.

The Tacatacuru were part of a Timucua group known as the Mocama. The Mocama spoke a dialect of Timucuan also known as Mocama and lived in the coastal areas of southern Georgia and northern Florida.[1] Mission San Pedro was built at the south end of Cumberland Island, near the main village of the Tacatacuru. Together with Mission San Juan del Puerto on Fort George Island (in the mouth of the St. Johns River), it was one of the principal missions of what the Spanish came to know as the Mocama Province. San Pedro, protected by an associated fort, was for a time at the northern extent of Spanish power, serving as a bulwark against the Guale people to the north. By 1595 some of the Mocama living near the mission were fluent in Spanish. Some had learned to read and write in a combination of Spanish, Latin, and the system of writing the Timucua language devised by Father Francisco Pareja. He worked at the San Juan del Puetro mission, located at the mouth of the St. Johns River at present-day Fort George Island. He wrote a catechism in Spanish and Timucuan that was printed in 1612.

The Tacatacuru were severely affected by disease and warfare through the 17th century. Pressure from other tribes led them to abandon Cumberland Island by 1675, and the mission was abandoned as well.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Soergel, Matt (18 Oct 2009). "The Mocama: New name for an old people". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 


  • Milanich, Jerald T. (2000). "The Timucua Indians of Northern Florida and Southern Georgia". In Bonnie G. McEwan (ed.). Indians of the Greater Southeast: Historical Archaeology and Ethnohistory. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1778-5.