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Riverview in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Saved from Slavery

Florida De Soto Trail

— June 20, 1539 —

 
 
Saved from Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 31, 2018
1. Saved from Slavery Marker
Inscription.  
It’s June 20, 1539…
Juan Ortiz, a lost Spaniard from an earlier expedition with Pánfilo de Narváez, is found by De Soto’s men not far from here. He tells his story –

Ten years ago I was captured by Chief Ucita. I later escaped to the village of Mocoso, with the aid of Chief Ucita’s daughter, who had saved my life. Living among the people of Mocoso, I assumed their dress and traditional tattoos. Speaking several Indian languages, I helped De Soto communicate with tribes in the area.

”And as the [soldiers] ran forth against them, the Indians, fleeing, plunged into the forest, and one of them came forth to the road shouting and saying ‘Sirs, for the love of God and of St. Mary do not kill me: I am a Christian, like you, and I am a native of Seville, and my name is Juan Ortiz.’ ”
- Account by Rodrigo Rangel

The De Soto Chronicles

The Native Path
It was common for chiefs in La Florida to use war captives and shipwrecked Spaniards as slaves. These prisoners served the village as a source of labor or as a trade commodity. Ortiz was captured by the Ucita while
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on a mission to find the lost Narváez expedition.

The Conquistador Trail
Just like the other Spanish conquistadors from this time period, when De Soto entered a village, it was common for a priest to read aloud the Requerimiento. This royal declaration, usually read without translation, offered the native Floridians the opportunity to submit to Spanish rule and convert to Christianity – or face consequences. If they refused to comply, they were treated severely.
 
Erected by Florida De Soto Trail, Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Park Service, and the National Park Service. (Marker Number 5.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraExplorationNative AmericansNotable Events. A significant historical date for this entry is June 20, 1539.
 
Location. 27° 50.432′ N, 82° 18.063′ W. Marker is in Riverview, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker can be reached from McMullen Road, 0.9 miles south of Boyette Road, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located within Bell Creek Nature Preserve, at the trailhead near the south end of the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10940 McMullen Road, Riverview FL 33569, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Brandon Homestead
Marker detail: “Sevilla! Sevilla!” by George Gibbs (1898) image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
2. Marker detail: “Sevilla! Sevilla!” by George Gibbs (1898)
The rescue of Juan Ortiz, a Spaniard captured by Indians 10 years earlier. Ortiz became De Soto’s translator.
(approx. 6.7 miles away); Hillsborough County's Confederate Monument (approx. 6.8 miles away); Memoria In Aeterna, 1911 (approx. 6.8 miles away); Brandon Family Cemetery (approx. 6.8 miles away); A Butterfly’s Habitat (approx. 6.9 miles away); Brandon Masonic Lodge No. 114, F. & A.M. (approx. 6.9 miles away); Storm Water and the Estuary (approx. 7 miles away); Manatee Scar Identification (approx. 7 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large, composite plaque mounted vertically within a heavy-duty wooden kiosk.
 
Regarding Saved from Slavery. It is well known that the Spanish Expedition to Florida led by Pánfilo de Narváez was a disaster and that almost all of the six hundred members were never seen again. It is also well known that Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and three companions made it back to the Spanish Empire after eight years of captivity and wandering. Less well known is that another member of the expedition survived in Florida for eight years. This is the story of that survivor. Ortiz lived safely for many years in the village of Mosocos. He became tanned and tattooed
Marker detail: Reenactment of De Soto’s landing, De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida image. Click for full size.
Photographed By De Soto National Memorial
3. Marker detail: Reenactment of De Soto’s landing, De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida
and looked virtually the same as the others in the village.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Florida De Soto Trail
 
Also see . . .  Juan Ortiz and Princess Hirrihigua - Story of a Florida Pocahontas. Explore Southern History webite entry (Submitted on November 13, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
Florida De Soto Trail Map (<i>panel to the left of marker in kiosk</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 31, 2018
4. Florida De Soto Trail Map (panel to the left of marker in kiosk)
De Soto Trail
1539-1540
You are standing along the historic route of the conquistador Hernando de Soto and his expedition through the Florida Native American territories in his quest for gold and glory.
Saved from Slavery Marker Kiosk (<i>marker panel is on right side of kiosk; map is on left</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 31, 2018
5. Saved from Slavery Marker Kiosk (marker panel is on right side of kiosk; map is on left)
Saved from Slavery Marker Kiosk (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 31, 2018
6. Saved from Slavery Marker Kiosk (wide view)
Bell Creek Nature Preserve Sign (<i>turn off McMullen Road here to access marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 31, 2018
7. Bell Creek Nature Preserve Sign (turn off McMullen Road here to access marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 490 times since then and 15 times this year. Last updated on November 21, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7. submitted on December 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 24, 2024