1704 – British raids against the Apalachee Indians

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1704 – British raids against the Apalachee Indians

The campaign took place from January to April 1704


In Spanish Florida, the Apalachee Province (roughly present-day western Florida and southwestern Georgia) consisted of 14 missions with a population of some 9,000. These missions were mostly populated by by the Apalachee Indians. They supplied food for the San Agustín and Pensacola.

The Apalachees resented the Spanish rule and there was some unrest in the Apalachee Province. Some Apalachees had even fled to the neighbouring British colony of Carolina. The Spaniards forbade Indians the possession of muskets. Thus the Apalachees depended on the Spaniards for protection against their hereditary enemy, the Creeks who were armed by the British.

At the time of the declaration of war in 1702, there were already tensions on the frontier between the Spanish establishments of Florida and the English Province of Carolina.

In 1700, the English had even claimed the recently founded (1698) settlement of Pensacola.

In 1701, English parties accompanied by their Creek allies had raided the Apalachee region where the Spaniards had 14 missions with a population of some 9,000. Until then, the Spaniards had always been reluctant to arm the Apalachee Indians with muskets.

At the beginning of 1702, the French commander at Mobile, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, induced the Spanish commander of Pensacola to arm the Apalachees. In May of the same year, English and Creeks burned the mission of Santa Fé de Toloca in Northern Florida. The Spanish Governor of Florida sent an unsuccessful punitive expedition against the Creeks.

At then end of 1703, James Moore, the former governor of Carolina, was authorised to prepare an expedition against the Apalachees. He assembled 50 colonists who were soon joined by 1,000 Creeks.


On 25 January 1704, Moore's force reached Ayubale, a large mission in the Apalachee Province. The Creeks raided the surrounding villages. Meanwhile, around 7:00 a.m., Moore entered into the mission of Ayubale at the head of most of the colonists and 15 Creeks. Father Angel Miranda and 26 men took refuge into the church compound which was surrounded by a mud wall. They resisted to Moore’s force for nine hours, surrendering when they ran out of arrows. They were then killed.

When the news of the attack reached the mission of San Luis, some 40 km south of Ayubale, Captain Juan Ruíz de Mexía came to the rescue of Ayubale with 400 Apalachees and 30 Spanish cavalry.

Another engagement took place at Ayubale, some 50 Apalachees changed side during combat and the Spaniards were decisively defeated. In this action, more than 200 Apalachees were killed or captured, 3 Spaniards were killed and 8 captured (including Mexía).

After these two engagements, Moore’s force counted several wounded. Instead of attacking the mission of San Luis, he decided to obtain ransoms for his prisoners, releasing Miranda, Mexía and others. However, the garrison commander refused to pay.

Moore then resumed his advance into the Apalachee Province, extorting contributions from the mission of San Lorenzo de Ivitachuco and gaining seven missions to his cause.

Moore later claimed to have killed more than 1,100 men, women, and children. He also stated that he chased 300 people out of the province and enslaved more than 4,300 people, mostly women and children.

Only two missions survived the British raid: San Luis and San Lorenzo de Ivitachuco.

The Spanish first tried to fortify these missions but soon abandon this project and relocated the survivors at Abosaya, east of San Francisco de Potano.

After Moore departure, the Spaniards sent a force from San Agustín and Pensacola to Ayubale to bury the dead.


As a result of this expedition, the vast majority of the Apalachees were expelled from their homeland. Many were sold into slavery, or absorbed by the Creeks. Some refugees fled to Louisiana and a small number reached San Agustín.


Florida Memory – Moore’s Letter on the Destruction of Apalachee (April 16, 1704) retrieved on July 16, 2019

Wikipedia – Apalachee massacre