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National Historic Landmark SAN LUIS DE TALIMALI
(fomerly San Luis de Apalache)

Location: Leon County, near U.S. 90, about 2 miles west of Tallahassee.

Ownership and Administration. Fifty acres of the original townsite were purchased by the State of Florida in 1983.

Significance. During the century following the founding of St. Augustine, in 1565, Spanish padres extended their mission system steadily northward along the Atlantic coast into the province of Guale, and westward into the provinces of Timucua and Apalachee. In this way, by the conversion and stabilization of the Indians, they helped make St. Augustine secure. Furthermore, the fertile soils of Apalachee supplied badly needed grain for the inhabitants of St. Augustine. In 1633, the mission system reached Apalachee. San Luís de Apalache (San Luís de Talimali), established sometime during the next two decades, became the administrative center of the province.

By 1675, when the Spanish mission system reached the height of its influence, some 8,000 persons were centered around the 14 flourishing missions of Apalachee. San Luís itself had some 1,400 inhabitants, including the Deputy Governor and a military garrison of infantry and artillery. In 1696, the Spanish built a wooden blockhouse because of the activities of British traders who were stirring up the Indians of the interior against them.

Prior to 1690 Indian war parties, armed and directed by the English, had destroyed two of the Timucua missions. In 1702, the British began a concentrated effort to destroy the Spanish mission system in Florida. A combined English and Creek force from the Ocmulgee trading post area attacked and partially destroyed two more Timucua missions; and the Spanish and Apalachee army, heading north in reprisal, was met and defeated on the Flint River by English-led Creeks. Later that month, Col. James Moore's army of Carolinians sailed south from Charleston, ravaged the Guale missions, and besieged Castillo de San Marcos. All Florida was now in a state of terror.

Only two missions, one in Apalachee and the other in Timucua, were attacked in 1703. In 1704, however, the attacks broke out with renewed fury. In January, an army of 50 Carolinians and 1,000 Creeks, led by Colonel Moore, destroyed 5 of the Apalachee missions—including San Francisco de Oconee—and captured more than 1,000 Apalachee Indians. San Luís escaped destruction, but the province was completely demoralized. Two more Apalachee missions were destroyed in June 1704 and another was attacked. In July, the Spanish evacuated and destroyed San Luís and abandoned the province of Apalachee. More than a decade passed before the Spanish again established a garrison in the province.

Present Appearance. Intermittently since 1948 excavation of the site has been carried out under the auspices of the Florida Park Service and Florida State University. The eastern moat of the fort and postholes indicating one wall of the blockhouse have been uncovered and many artifacts found. Further excavation will no doubt uncover evidence of the whole complex. The site is well preserved. [16]

NHL Designation: 10/09/60

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005