By N. Rhoodie, I Liebenberg
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They often parade about, and play buffoon tricks, for two or three days; haunting the residence of the married pair, and disturbing the whole city . . until they can be bought off with money or liquor. Of St. Augustine, he wrote: Masks, dominoes, Harlequins, Punchinellos, and a great variety of grotesque disguises, on horseback . . and on foot, paraded the streets with guitars, violins, and other instruments; and in the evening, the houses were open to receive masks, and balls were given in every direction.
Already in 1689 a census of Timucuans had indicated that the tribe had been reduced by 98 percent from the estimated population in 1492. ”77 Entire clans had disappeared, and tribes that had formerly had populations in the tens of thousands now numbered in the mere hundreds. Indeed, huge stretches of Florida were without population. Tampa Bay, where the Tocobaga had lived so successfully, would be completely without permanent residents from the early 1700s until well into the 1800s. Only the occasional fishing boat passed by; otherwise, decades of waves and wind went unseen by a human population.
Augustine, and the city’s original mission, Nombre de Dios (sometimes called Nuestra Señora de la Leche, or Our Lady of the Milk). Then in 1763 France lost its North American colonies to Britain at the end of what Americans call the French and Indian War. Because Spain had backed the losing French against the English, part of the complex European negotiations meant that Florida was transferred from Spain to Britain. This would last for only twenty years—but no one could foretell that future, and news of British government was terrifying to longtime Spanish Floridians.