Who were the Guale Indians?

By Jeannette Holland Austin

I do not think that anyone has traced the origin of these Indians. The word Guale actually refers to the Indians who occupied the coast of Georgia and the Sea Islands dating from about 1150 A. D. During the 16th century, the Spanish occupying Florida established its Roman Catholic missionary system. Some of the early journals indicate the conversion of reluctant tribes. The friars would establish churches and depart the region. Afterwards, the Indians would destroy the church. During the late 17th century and early 18th century, the Guale society suffered epidemics of new infectious diseases and warfare from other tribes. Some of the surviving remnants migrated to the mission areas of Spanish Florida while others remained along the Georgia coast. Joining with other survivors, they became known as the Yamasee, an ethnically mixed group which that emerged.

The archaeological digs in Georgia have endeavored to locate Mayan ruins. However, studies indicate that the precursors of the historically known Guale lived along the Georgia coast and Sea Islands. So far, it appears that the Creeks and Cherokees occupied middle and northern Georgia from about 1600. Both of these tribes kept Indian Rolls which survived from about 1818. In Georgia, genealogists should research all of the available Indian Rolls and Census as outlined on Georgia Pioneers