ⓘ Northern Utina

                                     

ⓘ Northern Utina

The Northern Utina, also known as the Timucua or simply Utina, were a Timucua people of northern Florida. They lived north of the Santa Fe River and east of the Suwannee River, and spoke a dialect of the Timucua language known as "Timucua proper". They appear to have been closely associated with the Yustaga people, who lived on the other side of the Suwannee. The Northern Utina represented one of the most powerful tribal units in the region in the 16th and 17th centuries, and may have been organized as a loose chiefdom or confederation of smaller chiefdoms. The Fig Springs archaeological site may be the remains of their principal village, Ayacuto, and the later Spanish mission of San Martin de Timucua.

Northern Utina had sporadic contact with Europeans since the first half of the 16th century. In 1539, Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto passed through the region of the Northern Utina, where he was taken prisoner and subsequently executed Aguacaleycuen, which may have been the main chief at the time. Later French sources say a powerful chief in the area named Onatheaqua who can be the successor Aguacaleycuen. After several decades of resistance to the Northern Utina became part of the Spanish mission system in Florida in the year 1597. Their territory was organized in the Timucua province, and San Martin de Timucua and three other missions were established between 1608 and 1616. Profile of the Northern Utina increased significantly since less peripheral provinces were included in the province of Timucua, which eventually included all of Northern Florida, approximately between the rivers of Aucilla, and St. Johns.

However, the tribe is experiencing a significant demographic decline over the same period due to disease and other factors. They occupied the forefront in the Timucua rebellion of 1665. It was suppressed by the Spaniards, who destroyed their villages and moved the population a number of new communities along the Camino real or Royal road between the province Apalachee and St. Augustine. In this reduced position in the Northern Utina were largely powerless against the raids of the Northern tribes in Alliance with the English settlers, such as the Creek and Yamasee, and further suffered from epidemics. In the end, they moved closer to St. Augustine and mixed with other Timucua groups, losing their independent identity.