Timucuan Preserve

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Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
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Location Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Nearest city Jacksonville, Florida
Coordinates 30°27′16″N81°27′00″W / 30.45445°N 81.44988°W / 30.45445; -81.44988 Coordinates: 30°27′16″N81°27′00″W / 30.45445°N 81.44988°W / 30.45445; -81.44988 [1]
Area46,000 acres (190 km2)
EstablishedFebruary 16, 1988
Visitors1,300,000 [2] (in 2013)
Governing body National Park Service in cooperation with other agencies
Website Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
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Location13165 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Jacksonville, Florida
Area46,000 acres (19,000 ha)
NRHP reference No. 01000283 [3]
Added to NRHPFebruary 16, 1988

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a U.S. National Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida. It comprises 46,000 acres (19,000 ha) of wetlands, waterways, and other habitats in northeastern Duval County. Managed by the National Park Service in cooperation with the City of Jacksonville and Florida State Parks, it includes natural and historic areas such as the Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Kingsley Plantation.


The preserve was established in 1988 and expanded in 1999 by Preservation Project Jacksonville.


Ribault monument, in the Preserve, with the St. Johns River in the background Jacksonville FL Fort Caroline Natl Mem Ribault mnmt01.jpg
Ribault monument, in the Preserve, with the St. Johns River in the background

The Fort Caroline National Memorial is located in the Timucuan Preserve, as is the Kingsley Plantation, the oldest standing plantation in the state. The Preserve is maintained through cooperation by the National Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Jacksonville Department of Parks and Recreation. It is named for the Timucua Indians who had 35 chiefdoms throughout northern Florida and south Georgia at the time of Spanish colonization.

Archeological excavation by a University of North Florida team has revealed more information about indigenous peoples in the area. On Black Hammock Island, they have discovered remnants of the second-oldest pottery in the United States, dating to 2500 BCE. (There have been slightly older finds in the Savannah River area.) [4]

They also have excavated more recent artifacts contemporary with the Mocama chiefdom. In the last 25 years, these Native American people have been recognized as distinct from the Timucua, although they spoke a Timucuan dialect. Their chiefdom extended from the St. Johns River to St. Simons Island, Georgia. [4]

Archeologists believe they have found evidence of a Spanish mission on the island as well. [4] San Juan del Puerto, one of the oldest Spanish missions in Florida, was established here during the 16th century. Franciscan brothers were missionaries to the Timucua and Guale Indians along the coast, whose territory included the Sea Islands in Georgia and up to the Savannah River.

On June 9, 2020, the Preserve gained another 2,500 acres of marshland along the Nassau River from two private land trusts. [5]

Related Research Articles

Fort Caroline 139 acres in Florida (US) managed by the National Park Service

Fort Caroline was an attempted French colonial settlement in Florida, located on the banks of the St. Johns River in present-day Duval County. It was established under the leadership of René Goulaine de Laudonnière on June 22, 1564, as a new territorial claim in French Florida and a safe haven for Huguenots. The French colony came into conflict with the Spanish, who established St. Augustine in September 1565, and Fort Caroline was sacked by Spanish troops under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on September 20. The Spanish continued to occupy the site as San Mateo until 1569.

San Juan del Puerto, Florida

San Juan del Puerto was a Spanish Franciscan mission founded before 1587 on Fort George Island, near the mouth of the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. It was founded to serve the Saturiwa, a Timucua tribe who lived around the mouth of the St. Johns. It was organized by separating them into nine smaller villages. It has an important place in the study of the Timucua, as the place where Francisco Pareja undertook his work on the Timucua language.

Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley was a West African from present-day Senegal who was enslaved and sold in Cuba. She became the wife of a plantation owner, and then a planter and slaveholder in her own right as a free black in early 19th-century Florida.

Fort George Island Cultural State Park

Fort George Island State Cultural Site is a Florida State Park located on Fort George Island, about three miles (5 km) south of Little Talbot Island State Park on SR A1A. It is home to the Ribault Inn Club, constructed in 1928 as a winter resort and now used as a visitor's center. The 46,000-acre (190 km2) Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, in Jacksonville, Florida is nearby. Fort George has the highest point along the Atlantic coast south of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and contains Timucua oyster shell mounds. The park is part of the Talbot Islands GEOpark complex.

Guale was a historic Native American chiefdom of Mississippian culture peoples located along the coast of present-day Georgia and the Sea Islands. Spanish Florida established its Roman Catholic missionary system in the chiefdom in the late 16th century.

The Mocama were a Native American people who lived in the coastal areas of what are now northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. A Timucua group, they spoke the dialect known as Mocama, the best-attested dialect of the Timucua language. Their territory extended from about the Altamaha River in Georgia to south of St. Augustine, Florida, covering the Sea Islands and the inland waterways, including the mouth of the St. Johns River in present-day Jacksonville and the Intracoastal. At the time of contact with Europeans, there were two major chiefdoms among the Mocama, the Saturiwa and the Tacatacuru, each of which evidently had authority over multiple villages.

Saturiwa (chief) 16th century Timucua chief

Saturiwa was chief of the Saturiwa tribe, a Timucua chiefdom centered at the mouth of the St. Johns River in Florida, during the 16th century. His main village, also known as Saturiwa, was located on the south bank of the river near its mouth, and according to French sources he was sovereign over thirty other village chiefs. Chief Saturiwa was a prominent figure in the early days of European settlement in Florida, forging friendly relations with the French Huguenot settlers, who founded Fort Caroline in his territory.

Kingsley Plantation United States historic place

Kingsley Plantation is the site of a former estate in Jacksonville, Florida, that was named for an early owner, Zephaniah Kingsley, who spent 25 years there. It is located at the northern tip of Fort George Island at Fort George Inlet, and is part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve managed by the U.S. National Park Service.

Spanish missions in Florida Missions serving Native Americans in Spanish Florida

Beginning in the second half of the 16th century, the Kingdom of Spain established a number of missions throughout La Florida in order to convert the Native Americans to Christianity, to facilitate control of the area, and to prevent its colonization by other countries, in particular, England and France. Spanish Florida originally included much of what is now the Southeastern United States, although Spain never exercised long-term effective control over more than the northern part of what is now the State of Florida from present-day St. Augustine to the area around Tallahassee, southeastern Georgia, and some coastal settlements, such as Pensacola, Florida. A few short-lived missions were established in other locations, including Mission Santa Elena in present-day South Carolina, around the Florida peninsula, and in the interior of Georgia and Alabama.

Mission San Pedro de Mocama was a Spanish colonial Franciscan mission on Cumberland Island, on the coast of the present-day U.S. state of Georgia, from the late 16th century through the mid-17th century. It was built to serve the Tacatacuru, a Mocama Timucua people.

Zephaniah Kingsley Jr., a Quaker born in England who moved as a child with his family to South Carolina, became a planter, slave trader, and merchant who built several plantations in the Spanish colony of Florida in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. He served on the Florida Territorial Council after Florida was acquired by the United States in 1821. Kingsley Plantation, which he owned and where he lived for 25 years, has been preserved as part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, run by the United States National Park Service.

Francisco Pareja was a Franciscan missionary in Spanish Florida, where he was primarily assigned to San Juan del Puerto. The Spaniard became a spokesman for the Franciscan community to the Spanish and colonial governments, was a leader among the missionaries, and served as custodio for the community in Florida. After the Franciscan organization was promoted to a provincia (province), Pareja was elected by his fellow missionaries as provincial in 1616.

Timucua Native American people

The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the Timucua language. At the time of European contact, Timucuan speakers occupied about 19,200 square miles (50,000 km2) in the present-day states of Florida and Georgia, with an estimated population of 200,000. Milanich notes that the population density calculated from those figures, 10.4 per square mile (4.0/km2) is close to the population densities calculated by other authors for the Bahamas and for Hispaniola at the time of first European contact. The territory occupied by Timucua speakers stretched from the Altamaha River and Cumberland Island in present-day Georgia as far south as Lake George in central Florida, and from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Aucilla River in the Florida Panhandle, though it reached the Gulf of Mexico at no more than a couple of points.


The Saturiwa were a Timucua chiefdom centered on the mouth of the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. They were the largest and best attested chiefdom of the Timucua subgroup known as the Mocama, who spoke the Mocama dialect of Timucuan and lived in the coastal areas of present-day northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. They were a prominent political force in the early days of European settlement in Florida, forging friendly relations with the French Huguenot settlers at Fort Caroline in 1564 and later becoming heavily involved in the Spanish mission system.

Agua Dulce people Timucua tribe in Spanish Florida

The Agua Dulce or Agua Fresca (Freshwater) were a Timucua people of northeastern Florida. They lived in the St. Johns River watershed north of Lake George, and spoke a dialect of the Timucua language also known as Agua Dulce.

Tacatacuru was a Timucua chiefdom located on Cumberland Island in what is now the U.S. state of Georgia in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was one of two chiefdoms of the Timucua subgroup known as the Mocama, who spoke the Mocama dialect of Timucuan and lived in the coastal areas of southeastern Georgia and northern Florida.

The Ibi, also known as the Yui or Ibihica, were a Timucua chiefdom in the present-day U.S. state of Georgia during the 16th and 17th centuries. They lived in southeastern Georgia, about 50 miles from the coast. Like their neighbors, the Icafui tribe, they spoke a dialect of the Timucua language called Itafi.

The Timucua were a Native American people of northern Florida and southeastern Georgia.

Northside (Jacksonville) Region of Jacksonville, Florida, US

The Northside is a large region of Jacksonville, Florida, and is generally understood as a counterpart to the city's other large regions, the Urban Core, Arlington, Southside, Westside, and the Beaches. The expansive area consists of historic communities, cultural landmarks, protected ecosystems and vital transportation and logistics facilities, all fundamental to the history and development of Jacksonville.


  1. Google Earth
  2. Bauerlein, David (February 20, 2014). "National Park Service seeking bids for Timucuan Preserve water taxi service". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  3. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 Matt Soergel, "Archaeologists help distinguish Mocama group", Morris News Service, 25 Oct 2009, accessed 11 May 2010
  5. "Land Trust sells 2,500 acres of Nassau River marsh to National Park Service" . Retrieved 10 June 2020.

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