by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
Before continuing our series on the search for the real location of the Creek Province of Chiaha, I should explain that although I did finally find the ruins of the capital of Chiaha, the readers will be left with many unanswered questions. We have uncovered just too much evidence of intentional withholding and concealment of information by the late 20th century generation of academicians.
It was clear that they were in a rush to get credit and eternal fame for creating the ultimate description of what happened back then. The odd thing was that they completely ignored French and English sources. Yes, the French, especially the French Huguenots, who had a much better rapport with the Native Peoples of the Southeast, were completely ignored. The French colony of Mellilot in what is now NE Metro Atlanta was founded in early 1566 and stayed on the maps until 1700.
In doing so, these academicians completely missed the most powerful and culturally advanced player on the landscape . . . whose name is emblazoned on all French, Spanish, English and Dutch maps from the early 1500s until 1700 . . . the Kingdom of Apalache.
The plural of Apalache, Apalachen, became the name of a mountain chain that stretches from Maine to Alabama. The direct descendant of the Kingdom of Apalache was the Creek Confederacy. There is something almost apocalyptic in this failure to see the obvious.
A key fact to remember at this point in our series is this: While it is quite easy to find digital images of the original Spanish versions of the De Soto Chronicles, digital images of the original Spanish version of Juan de la Bandera’s report on the Pardo Exhibition appear to be non-existent. Southeastern academicians never posted it online or cite it as a reference . . . only the 1990 “edited” version of an unpublished translation made in 1950. There are plenty of us out here in internet land, me included, who are quite capable of comparing what was said in Spanish to what we are told in English. It does make one suspicious.
The history that you are not being told
In 1586, Sir Francis Drake captured two long time residents of Santa Elena. They were questioned under oath by the famous English historian and friend of the Huguenots, Richard Hakluyt. Pedro Moreles and Nicholas Burgiognon (a former resident at Fort Caroline) stated that trade began with Apalache, shortly after the founding of Santa Elena. The Spanish government went to great extremes to conceal this clandestine source of gold and gems . . . even going to the extent of planting fictionalized reports in the Spanish Royal Archives for English spies to find. Was the Pardo report, partially fictionalized?
They described repeated journeys from Santa Elena to the Georgia Mountains to trade with the Apalaches for gold, rubies, sapphires and even diamonds for over two decades. One trader sold a diamond from Copal to the governor of La Florida for 5,000 crowns.
The two men also told Hakluyt that the capital of this province was a city in these mountains named “Great Copal.” It was on the side of a mountain. Most traders had to go to a special market town on the edge of Apalache. Only Spanish traders, given special permission, would be allowed to venture into the higher mountains to trade in Great Copal. Those attempting to reach this town without permission were killed on the spot.
The Juan Pardo Expedition chronicles make no mention of Apalache, even though this province was closer and easier to reach (188 mi ~ 304 km) than most of the towns and villages, mentioned in Juan de la Bandera’s report. In fact, several of the provinces of other Native American tribes, confederated with Apalache, lay on the path that Pardo would have taken to find a route to Mexico. Centuries earlier, the kings of Apalache had already constructed a trade trail to Mexico!
The Truth is out there somewhere!