Uzita (Florida)

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A proposed route for the first leg of the de Soto Expedition, based on Charles M. Hudson map of 1997

Uzita (Uçita) was the name of a 16th-century chiefdom, of its chief town and of its chief. The chief town was near the mouth of the Little Manatee River on the south side of Tampa Bay, Florida. The territory of Uzita was said to extend from the Little Manatee River to Sarasota Bay. Uzita were part of the Safety Harbor culture. The people of Uzita were the first inhabitants of Florida encountered by both the Narváez expedition in 1528 and the de Soto expedition in 1539. The town of Uzita consisted the chief's house on a mound, seven or eight other houses, and a "temple" (apparently a charnel house). The houses were made of wood and palm thatch, and probably housed a large number of people each. The Uzitans used bows and arrows. The Spanish described the bows as being very long. Some arrows were sharpened reeds that could pierce a shield, or splinter and penetrate chain mail, while others had fish bone or stone points. The Uzitans practiced human sacrifice. Juan Ortíz, who had been sent on a small boat to search for the missing Narvaez expedition, was captured by the Uzitans. For several years the Uzitans had set him to guard the bodies in the charnel house from wild animals at night. Utiza, the chief, planned to roast Juan Ortíz over a grill, but the chief's daughter requested her father to not sacrifice Ortíz. When the chief later planned again to sacrifice Ortíz, the chief's daughter helped Ortíz to escape to the neighboring chiefdom of Mocoso. Uzita is not mentioned in Spanish records after the departure of the de Soto expedition. In the early 17th century the area where Uzita had been located was known as Pojoy.[1][2]

See also[edit]

List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hann, John H. (2003). Indians of Central and South Florida: 1513-1763. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-2645-8 Pp. 104, 111-2, 114-5, 117, 130-1
  2. ^ Milanich, Jerald T. (2004). "Early Groups of Central and South Florida". In R. D. Fogelson (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians: Southeast (Vol. 14, pp. 213-8). Smithsonian Institution.

External links[edit]