Celebrate Florida Archaeology Thoughout Our State!

Signature of Apalachee chiefs at the bottom of their 1689 letter to Charles II, King of Spain.

Friars and Indian Literacy

Among the most powerful gifts given to some of Florida's Christianized Indians was literacy. Before European contact, the Indians did not read or write. They communicated verbally and passed down their history and customs through oral traditions.

Several of the Florida friars were talented linguists. They recorded native languages in written form and taught the Indians how to read and write in their own languages. Many Indians also became familiar with Latin and Spanish. The idea that you could share your thoughts with others far away by putting ink markings on parchment seemed magical to them.

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