Eugene Lyon in The Enterprise of Florida states that it is important not to ignore the “private side” of the Spanish conquest of the New World. Despite Lyon’s admonition, the personal aspect of the attempted spiritual conquest of La Florida by the Society of Jesus between 1566 and 1572, particularly its relation to the failure of the apostolic enterprise, remains somewhat neglected. The central hypothesis of this study is that the human frailties of Juan Baptista de Segura, the superior of the Jesuit undertaking, played a major role in an evangelical disaster. Segura, a fascinating idealist, after experiencing frustrating failures among the natives of modern South Florida, coastal Georgia, and South Carolina, led seven men to their deaths in the Virginia wilderness, while engaged in a quixotic quest for souls. In taking this action, Father Baptista was responding to a lifetime of recurrent personal pressures. That is, Segura’s superiors, especially Father General Francis Borgia, consistently misjudged his leadership abilities. The result was a botched venture in Florida, which nevertheless provided valuable experience for the order’s subsequent endeavors in Spain’s overseas possessions.
Marotti, Jr., Frank
"Juan Baptista de Segura and the Failure of the Florida Jesuit Mission, 1566-1572,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 63:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol63/iss3/3