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A History of the Catholic Church in the American South,
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James M. Woods

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035321

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035321.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Cross and Sword

Cross and Sword

The Spanish Catholic Mission to La Florida, 1513–1763

(p.1) One Cross and Sword
A History of the Catholic Church in the American South, 1513–1900

James M. Woods

University Press of Florida

In April 1513, Juan Ponce de León first sighted the coast of what would become the United States and part of the American South. He was not, however, the first European to see these shores. For at least a decade, slavers operating out of La Española occasionally searched for Indians on this continent to replace the indigenous people of that island who were dying from overwork and from diseases introduced by the Europeans. The next day, Ponce de León set foot on his new discovery. This thirty-nine-year-old former Spanish governor of Puerto Rico designated it La Isla de la Florida, as he believed this tierra to be an island. He thus gave the first permanent name to any portion of North America. Ponce de León's importance regarding religion is minimal, for óalthough he was a Catholic, he brought with him no priest-missionaries to convert the natives into Catholicism.

Keywords:   Juan Ponce de León, United States, South, La Española, Indians, indigenous people, Catholicism

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