[PAST EVENT] Brown Bag: "Indigenous Peoples and Iberian Colonists in Western North Carolina Piedmont, 1540-1600"

October 28, 2020
12pm - 1pm

Indigenous peoples of western North Carolina first encountered Europeans in the form of mid-sixteenth-century expeditions to explore and to colonize territory known to those Spanish conquistadors as La Florida. The Hernando de Soto expedition traversed western North Carolina in 1540, and the Juan Pardo expeditions revisited some of the same areas and others in western North Carolina between 1566 and 1568. Archaeological investigations at the Berry site, in the upper Catawba River Valley of western North Carolina, have unearthed remnants of Fort San Juan and the Spanish colonial town of Cuenca, built adjacent to the main town in the Native American polity and province of Joara. This talk summarizes major findings from the site and the relevance of these finds for our knowledge of European encounters with Mississippian societies of the American South. It also then poses the questions—and suggests some answers—about how we can understand these colonial encounters and entanglements from the perspectives of the Indigenous peoples involved in these interactions, and what implications the relatively short lifespan of Fort San Juan and Cuenca had on the people and province of Joara in the years after the conquest and abandonment of this Spanish outpost at the northern edge of La Florida. 

Please email [[jdcarlson]] for the Zoom link for this event.