Florida's Rich Mission Heritage
Missions were established throughout north Florida during the 16th and 17th centuries. Although attempts were made to establish missions in central and south Florida, the Indians living there were unreceptive to the fraier's religious message. The purpose of the missions was to Christianize and "civilize" the Indian population, while providing a bulwark against European enemies. In the early 18th century, most of the Florida missions were destroyed by English-Instigated raids in what historian Michal Gannon has called "oneof the great tragedies in the stories of the South.