Marriages have always offered architects of empire a means of creating political alliances between peoples. The wedding of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469 brought together the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, unifying Spain and making it a great power in Europe. In American colonial history, the marriage in 1614 of John Rolfe and the Indian princess Pocahontas bridged cultural differences to help create a brief era of peace between the English settlers in Virginia and the Powhatan Indians. Another example of intercultural union from American colonial history was the marriage in 1566 of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the adelantado of Florida, and an Indian princess known to the Spaniards as Doña Antonia, the sister of the Calusa Indian chief, Carlos. The wedding took place on what is now known as Mound Key on the southwest coast of Florida and was quite an intercultural event, including both Calusa and Spanish foods, choruses of Calusa maidens, and a performance by a dancing dwarf. It did not, however, produce political results of global importance as did that of Ferdinand and Isabella, nor even a child as did that of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. The significance of this union, which Carlos forced upon an unwilling Menéndez, lies in what it reveals about the Calusa and their world.
Reilly, Stephen Edward
"A Marriage of Expedience: The Calusa Indians and Their Relations with Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in Southwest Florida, 1566-1569,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 59:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol59/iss4/3