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Total population
106[1] (1715)
Regions with significant populations
Winyah Bay, Black River, and the lower course of the Pee Dee River.[2]
Siouan, Catawban [3]
Native American religion
Related ethnic groups
Pedee, Waccamaw [4]

The Winyaw (also Winyah, Weenee, Wineaws) were a Native American tribe living near Winyah Bay, Black River, and the lower course of the Pee Dee River in South Carolina. The Winyaw people disappeared as a distinct entity after 1720 and are thought to have merged with the Waccamaw.


The Winyaw might have been the Yenyohol mentioned by the Native American captive, Francisco de Chicora in 1521 to the Spanish.[5] If this is the case then it is also possible that they might have been carried away during Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón's expedition during that same year.[6] The Winyaw were first mentioned by colonists of South Carolina after 1670. They were at first friends with the English who settled in Charles Town but this friendship soon was shattered when slave dealers instigated a war against them in 1683 as an excuse to capture slaves.[7] During the Tuscarora War of 1711, John Barnwell had twenty four Wineaws on his expedition into North Carolina but they deserted him before arriving as they refused to go further with no guns or ammunition.[8] In 1715 the Cheraw tried to pressure them into participating in the Yamasee War against the English but they refused, staying on friendly terms with the colonists.[9] Later that year the Winyaw were living within a single village of one hundred and six people but by 1716 a number of them were living on the Santee River.[10] After two years the Winyaw on the Santee returned to their former residence to be near the trading house operated by Meredith Hughes at Uauenee.[11] When the Waccamaw moved to the Black River in 1718, the Winyaw may have felt crowded, for they apparently helped the English in the Waccamaw War during 1720.[12] A map made in 1722 depicts the Winyaw as staying on the south side of the Pee Dee River.[13] Nothing more is known of the Winyaw as they disappeared as a distinct entity, it is assumed that they later merged with the Waccamaw.[14]


While the tribe disappeared from history during the early eighteenth century, Winyah Bay in South Carolina still bears their name.

It was from the Winyaw or a tribe nearby that Francisco de Chicora was carried away from by the first Ayllón expedition and from which one of the earliest ethnological descriptions of a North American tribe was ever recorded.


  1. ^ Swanton, John Reed (1952). The Indian Tribes of North America. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 103. ISBN 9780806317304. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Swanton, 103
  3. ^ Swanton, 102-103
  4. ^ Swanton, 103
  5. ^ Swanton, 103
  6. ^ South, Stanley (1972). The Unabridged Version of Tribes of the Carolina Lowland: Pedee - Sewee - Winyaw - Waccamaw - Cape Fear - Congaree - Wateree - Santee. Columbia: The South Carolina Institute of Archeology and Anthropology--University of South Carolina. p. 31. 
  7. ^ South,31
  8. ^ South,31
  9. ^ South,31
  10. ^ Swanton, 103
  11. ^ South,32
  12. ^ South,32
  13. ^ South,32
  14. ^ Swanton, 103