By the time the Franciscan fathers began their conversion of the Indians in Apalache in 1633, Spain as a world power had long been in decline. Other European governments recognized the growing impotency, and several, including England and France, had begun to seize territory within the limits claimed by Spain across the Atlantic. After the early aggressions in the West Indies, the Spanish authorities in dread of further encroachments that might seriously threaten the security of their hold on New Spain, became, concerned over the extension of French interests in the interior of the continent and were alarmed when news of La Salle’s attempt to found a colony on the Gulf reached their attention.
Boyd, Mark F.
"Expedition of Marcos Delgado, 1686,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 16
, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol16/iss1/4