Those late 20th century Southeastern university professors never realized that he was a Sephardic Jew!
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
In Part Two of our series on the Province of Chiaha, we will closely examine the chronicles of the Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo Expeditions to point out the details, which I used a decade ago to help find the real location of Chiaha. The Wikipedia articles on the De Soto and Pardo Expeditions are filled with false statements, trying to continue the fable that De Soto and Pardo passed through what is now Asheville, NC . . . when it was disproven over two decades ago. I eventually found in the digital archives of the US Geological Survey in Reston, VA, the first topographic map ever made of terrain in western North Carolina!
There was some other information, however, that told me I was on the right track. A retired professional archaeologist from Florida had found the site of the fort underneath Lake Santeetlah, which Juan Pardo’s men constructed near Chiaha . . . complete with 16th century Spanish weapons! In March 2010, the archaeologist’s report was in the filing cabinet of the Graham County, NC Public Library . . . with the archaeologist’s name redacted.
The archaeologist also found eighteen mounds in Graham County. However, North Carolina officials concealed public knowledge of his report, because most of the mounds contained artifacts typical of those found in Etowah Mounds, Georgia. The ancestors of the Creek Indians had occupied the Little Tennessee River Valley in North Carolina up until the 1700s – not the Cherokees.
Less you think that I am trying to pull the wool over your eyes, here is my first satellite photo of three of Chiaha’s mounds! Newer satellite images are much clearer. The arrangement of the mounds is identical to what I found at the site of Kaushe (Coosa) underneath Carters Lake in NW Georgia.
While trying to finish up Part Two, I thought it might be wise to get more biographical information on Juan Pardo . . . which sorely lacking in the Wikipedia articles and the only book on Juan Pardo, written by none other than the infamous Charles Hudson. The book was yet another effort by Hudson to make people think that the “De Soto and Pardo in Asheville Thang” was a historical fact. Hudson stated that shortly after returning to Santa Elena on the South Carolina coast in 1569, Pardo sailed back to Spain, never to be heard from again. ACTUALLY, Pardo just disappeared from the “radars” of Spanish authorities.
I looked up the Pardo Family name: “Pardo (Hebrew: פרדו) is a very old surname of Sephardic Jewish origin that derives from the Greek and Latin name Pardus which means leopard. It evolved in Spain to Pardo and came to mean brown . . . a pejorative adjective, referring to the darker skin pigmentation of Sephardic Jews, who immigrated there from North Africa.”
I looked up the names of Pardo’s soldiers, who are mentioned in the chronicles of his expedition. Most were Sephardic names. including Moreno, which was the family name of my French Sephardic girlfriend in Mexico City! Methinks I am on to something.
Several books and pamphlets, published by 16th and 17th century Jews in the Netherlands mention a “New Israel” or “New Jerusalem” in the interior of La Florida. The new Temple was being constructed at the same latitude as Old Jerusalem. That would be Browns Mount near Macon, GA. After we finish the series on Chiaha, we will give the Sephardic colonists in the Southern Highlands a closer look.
Oh, did I mention that in April 2010, I found a Ladino (Spanish Sephardic) inscription, carved on a boulder on top of Hoopers Bald, overlooking Lake Santeetlah. In English, it means “Prayer we will give . . . married September 15, 1615. Only Sephardic Jews used the word “pre” for prayer. Spanish Catholics use supplicacion.
The truth is out there somewhere!