Thursday, May 31, 2012


A trip to the mountains from Saxapahaw to Valdese and then above Morganton, North Carolina, culminated in a visit to Joara, a key Catawba Nation concentration in the 1500s. Joara was reached in 1540 by a Spanish expedition into the interior led by Hernando de Soto. The current Berry Site is an archaeological investigation ongoing since 1986.

A later Spanish expedition under Juan Pardo established Fort San Juan among the Catawba -- in 1567. He left thirty soldiers in Fort San Juan, one of a chain of small forts established during the expedition. This one, so far as I know, is the only one that's been found and surveyed as of this posting. By 1568, The Catawba (or equivalent) inhabitants of Joara apparently decided they'd had enough of the intruders. They attacked and destroyed this particular Spanish outpost, well before a fledgling English settlement was set up -- and similarly lost -- on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina.

Today's Rune: Journey.

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