Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
The Spanish Franciscan mission of Santa Catalina de Guale was the most important on the coast of present Georgia during the 17th century. It had been constructed by the time Gov. Pedro de Ybarra visited Guale (Georgia) in 1604, following the Guale revolt of 1597, although the precise date is uncertain. It continued to be the most significant mission in the area until its abandonment in 1686 in the face of continued English inspired and directed raids from the Carolinas. No surface indications of the mission buildings are visible today, but excavation has uncovered Spanish and Indian pottery sherds of the period and a few iron nails. The site, well preserved, is owned by a private foundation. Now in forest and underbrush, it is used for grazing.
This site was probably the location of Santo Domingo de Talaje Mission, one of the Spanish missions to the Guale Indians during the period 1600-1675. Excavation of the site has revealed large, square postholes outlining a rectangular building 70 by 35 feet that was obviously not of Indian design. Three burials in the cemetery of nearby Fort King George, which was active during the period 1721-26, were superimposed over some of the postholes. Because the postholes contained only Indian and 17th-century Spanish materials, they undoubtedly were dug, used, and refilled before Fort King George was established.
A wall enclosed the rectangular building as well as a small, Indian-type house to its rear. Outside the wall to the east were shallow wall trenches and small, round postholes of 15 Indian houses. Nearly 200 sherds of Spanish majolica and tinaja, dating from the first half of the 17th century, substantiate the dating and verify Spanish occupation of the mission. Most of the site is in a State-owned tract that includes the sites of Fort King George and Fort Darien.
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005