Africans - Portuguese
Mixt Crew & Melungeons


In his travels Pardo took a side trip to Ylasi, which appears to have been the same as the Ilapi of the De Soto expedition'' ( The Forgotten centuries -Charles Hudson)

Compare the above map of Ylasi/Ilapi to this 1725 map showing the Cheraw/Sarah Indians on the Pee Dee River.  The Saura/Cheraw Indians who were united with the Saponi at one time and returned to the Dan River where we find the Upper and Lower Saura Town -- home of many Bunch, Goins, Gibsons, etc.

Saura Town Links
Historical Marker

See Rockingham Indians
and Notes

de Ayllon &  de Soto

Lucas Vazquez
de Ayllon
San Miguel de Guadalupe

"History records the first slave revolt in 1526 at de Ayllon's settlement San Miguel de Guadalupe somewhere in the vicinity of Winyah Bay and the Pedee River."  It is not far from here that in 1754 there were reported to be 50 families a 'mixt crew' that were listed as "not Indians".  Whoever these people were there is very strong evidence they were the people who would later be called Redbones, Lumbees, Melungeons etc.  It is *not* speculation, but indeed fact, that the families named in the court records in 1874 as Melungeons were living on this land in 1754, 

There are several versions of just exactly who and how many colonists accompanied de Ayllon.  Some report there were 500 men, women and children and 100 slaves while others report between 500 and 600 colonists, and while the extent of the revolt has not been recorded it is known that of the  Spaniards and slaves with de Ayllon only 150 returned,  and there indeed was a slave revolt."

Few records from almost five hundred years ago have been recorded  but I have found most historicans, authors and researchers believe that at least some of these slaves that came with de Ayllon were left behind.  It does not seem unlikely that some remained behind to mix with the native tribes,  perhaps captured, perhaps by choice.

A few of these mentioned;
"The first settlement within the present borders of the United States to contain Negro slaves was the locale of the first slave revolt.  A Spanish colonizer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, founded, in the summer of 1526, a community whose probable location was at or near the mouth of the Pedee River in what is now South Carolina. The settlement consisted of about five hundred Spaniards and one hundred Negro slaves. Trouble soon beset it. Illness caused numerous deaths, carrying off in October, Ayllon himself.  Internal dissension arose, and the Indians grew increasingly suspicious and hostile. Finally, probably in November, several of the slaves rebelled and fled to the Indians. The next month what was left of the adventurers, some one hundred and fifty souls, returned to Haiti, leaving the rebel Negroes with their Indian friends.  (1)"
"The first African slaves arrived in present day United States as part of the San Miguel de Gualdape colony (most likely located in the Winyah Bay area of present-day South Carolina), founded by Spanish explorer Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón in 1526. The ill-fated colony was almost immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership, during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local Native Americans. De'Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic, and the colony was abandoned, leaving the escaped slaves behind on North American soil." (2)

"Just as with De Soto's expedition, African slaves had accompanied de Ayllon's settlement colony on the Peedee River in 1526. When there was a crisis over leadership, the colony fell into disarray. In the midst of this crisis, a slave revolt further ripped the settlement apart. With the colony in shambles, many of the African slaves fled to live among the nearby native people.  According to De Soto, these refugees must have lived among the Cofitachiqui and taught them the craftwork of the
Europeans." (3)

There may have been several of these slaves left behind, there may have been a dozen or they might just as likely been the majority of them left to live among these South Carolina tribes in which case many of these Native tribes would be carrying the DNA of these early settlers for two hundred years before they mixed with the Portuguese Adeventurers found living on Drowning Creek in 1754.


Andre de Vasconcelos<>

As Luis de Moscoso passed through Elvas, Andre de Vasconcelos spoke with him, and requested him to speak to Don Hernando de Soto in his behalf, and gave him patents issued by the marques de Vilareal, conferring on him the captaincy of Ceuta, so that he might exhibit them. The adelantado saw these and found out who he [Vasconcelos] was and wrote him promising that he would favor him in every way and would give him men to command in Florida


The Portuguese left Elvas on the 15th of January. They reached Seville on St. Sebastian's eve and went to the governor's lodging. They entered the patio upon which looked some balconies where he was. He looked down and went to meet them at the stairs where they went up to the balconies. When they were up, he ordered chairs to be given them so that they might be seated. Andre de Vasconcelos told him who he and the other Portuguese were and how they had all come to accompany him and to serve him on his voyage. He [i.e. Soto] thanked him and appeared well pleased with their coming and proffer. The table being already laid, he invited them to eat; and while they were eating, he directed his majordomo to find lodgings for them near his inn. From Seville, the adelantado went to San Liicar with all the men that were to go with him. He ordered a muster to be held, to which the Portuguese went armed with very splendid arms, and the Castilians very elegantly, in silk over silk, and many plaits and slashes. As such finery was not pleasing to the governor on such an occasion, he ordered a muster to be held on the next day and for every man to appear with his armor.

To this the Portuguese came as at first, armed with very excellent armor, and the governor set them in order near the standard borne by his alferez. Most of the Castilians wore poor and rusty coats of mail, and all [wore] helmets and carried worthless and poor lances. Some of them managed to get a place among the Portuguese. Thus they passed in review, and those who were to the liking of Soto and whom he wished were counted and enrolled and went with him to Florida. Those who went numbered in all six hundred men. He had already bought seven ships and had placed in them the provisions necessary, appointed captains, and assigned his ship to each captain, giving each one a list of the men he was to take.


In the month of April, of the year 1538, the adelantado delivered the ships over to the captains who were to go in them. He took a new and good sailing ship for himself and gave one to Andre de Vasconcelos, in which the Portuguese went.

DeSoto & Cofitachiqui

Matters of the Heart

As she approached the bank of the river, their eyes met for the first time.  She, the Queen of Cofitachiqui, was borne on a royal vessel, seated upon pillows and accompanied in other canoes by her beloved men.  He, a slave of Andre de Vasconcelos, was a follower of Hernando de Soto and the expedition to explore and exploit the natural resources of the American Southeast.  The queen "was a young girl of fine bearing...and she spoke to the governor quite gracefully and at her ease" (Bourne, 1904, p. 100).  She placed pearls upon the neck of de Soto and said, "With sincerest and purest goodwill, I tender you my person, my lands, my people, and make you these small gifts" (Jameson, 1907, p.172). [paragraph 1]

Without a doubt, the Queen understood the import of de Soto's coming. When neighboring villagers refused to show him to her village, he had them burned alive. When a native warrior challenged de Soto in the traditional way to a manly duel of skill, de Soto set his dogs upon him and had him torn to pieces. However, as much as de Soto had attracted the Lady's attention...her eyes continued to fall upon the African slave. There is little doubt that this was not the first time that she had encountered an African, but this one was somehow different. Over the next couple of days, it was an attraction she could not resist. It was one of those chance encounters that is the stuff of which romance novels are made. [paragraph 2]

On the third day, the Queen disappeared; de Soto sent his guards to find her but she was not to be found (Bourne, 1904, p. 110). Taking advantage of her absence, he entered one of the ancient temple mounds that were scattered about the town of Talemico, the religious and political center of the people of Cofitachiqui.  The temple mound was one hundred feet long and forty feet wide with massive doors.  As he entered through the doors, he encountered paired rows of massive wooden statues with diamond-shaped heads bearing first batons, then broadswords, and then bows and arrows (Hudson, 1976, p. 111).  Like the ancient pyramids of Egypt, these temple mounds contained statues of notable persons of antiquity and chests filled with the remains of the elders. Scattered about the temples were bundles of fur, breastplates, and weapons -- tools for the next life -- covered with pearls, colored leather, and "something green like an emerald" (Bourne, p. 100).  [paragraph 3]

De Soto and his men plundered the ancient temple.  Among the booty were items of a European make, "Biscayan axes or iron and rosaries with their crosses" (Bourne, 1904, p. 100).  De Soto and his men determined that these materials were the remnants of an earlier expedition led by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon.  He and his men had  settled on the coast of the Carolinas near on the Peedee River in 1526. African slaves were members of Ayllon's colony; when there was a crisis over leadership, the colony fell into disarray. In this crisis, there was a slave revolt. When the colony crumbled, many of the African slaves fled to live among the nearby Native Americans (Wright, 1902, pp. 217-228).  According to de Soto, the items found in the temple bore the marks of European craftsmanship; these refugees must have lived among the Cofitachiqui and taught them the ways of the Europeans (Bourne, p. 101). [paragraph 4]

When the Queen of Cofitachiqui finally returned from her absence, de Soto seized her and questioned her as to where there was more wealth to be gained. She said that there were riches further inland. When de Soto and his men set about to find this land, they carried with them the "'woman chief of Cofitachiqui" (Bourne, 1904, p. 105).  After seven days of travel, the party traversed lofty ridges and arrived at the "province of Chalaque" near the Oconnaluftee river in western North Carolina (Jameson, 1907, p. 176).  After staying a few days in Xualla, the party set out for Guaxule where "there were more indications that there were gold mines" (Bourne, p. 104). [paragraph 5]

As they were on their journey, the Lady of Cofitachiqui "left the road, with the excuse of going in the thicket, where, deceiving them, she so concealed herself that for all their search she could not be found."  De Soto, frustrated in his quest to find her, moved on to Guaxule (Jameson, 1907, p. 176).  It seems that the Lady had arranged a rendezvous with others in de Soto's party.  These included an "Indian slave boy from Cuba," a "slave belonging to Don Carlos, a Berber, well versed in Spanish," and "Gomez, a negro belonging to Vasco Goncalvez who spoke good Spanish" (Bourne, 1904, p. 104).  A short time later, Alimamos, a horseman of de Soto who "got lost," somehow wandered upon the refugee slaves.  He "labored with the slaves to make leave of their evil designs" but only two of the refugees returned to de Soto.  When Alimamos arrived back at the camp with the refugees who had decided to return, "the Governor wished to hang them" (Jameson, p. 177). [paragraph 6]

However, the horseman also made another report. He stated that "The Cacica remained in Xualla, with a slave of Andre de Vasconcelas, who would not come with him (Alimamos), and that it was very sure that they lived together as man and wife, and were to go together to Cutafichiqui" (Jameson, p. 177). In an effort that would be repeated countless times over the next three hundred years, refugee slaves who fled from their masters to the sanctuary of neighboring Native Americans were thus given shelter and protection. Equally as important to our collective history, the "queen of Cofitichiqui" and the "slave of Andre de Vasconcelas" returned to their "village of the dogwoods" on the banks of the Savannah River. It would be in Silver Bluff, South Carolina where they would begin their life together as "Aframerindians" (Porter, 1933, p. 321).1 [paragraph 7]


A location within the Santee River system is also compatible with Paul Quattlebaum’s persuasive argument that the attempted Allyon settlement was in the vicinity of Winyah Bay[88A] and with the statement by Elvas that “...the [Cofitachiqui] Indians said [it] had been in the port two days’ journey thence..., and that Allyon had died there.” [88B]  The Cofitachiqui had Spanish armor, axes, a rosary, and other material, and a Spaniard who had been with Allyon and was with DeSoto had no doubt that these artifacts had come from the attempted settlement.


  (1) American Negro Slave Revolts 1943 By Herbert Aptheker Page 163  

(2) Slavery in the colonial United States  From Wikipedi

 (3) Slavery in the Cherokee Nation  By Patrick Neal Minges

Another detailed account of de Ayllon and his failed settlement;
Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors John Reed Swanton      

Chapter Two