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“C” is for Chicora, Francisco de

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  “C” is for Chicora, Francisco de. Indian captive. Born in the early 16th century, the man the Spaniards called “Francisco” was a native of the present-day South Carolina coast. He and other Indians (of what the Spaniards understood to be the Chicora tribe) were captured by a Spanish raiding party in 1521. Francisco became the slave of Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón. Ayllón took Francisco to Spain where the Indian’s tales of the marvels and wealth of his homeland became part of sixteenth-century chronicles about the new world. Ayllón used Francisco’s description of Chicora to inspire Spanish interest in settling the area. Francisco accompanied a 1526 Spanish expedition as translator and guide. When the ships dropped anchor off the Carolina coast, Francisco de Chicora fled inland with other captive Indians—and was never seen again.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.