ULUMAY - Merrit Island, FL
N 28° 22.265 W 080° 40.804
17R E 531348 N 3138351
Quick Description: This plaque is located at 805 Sykes Creek Parkway at the entrance of the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary in Cocoa.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 3/26/2010 5:26:35 AM
Waymark Code: WM8FFB
Text from the marker:
The Ais were one of the most influential and powerful tribes in Florida when Spanish Army Lt. Alvaro Mexia mapped Ulumay Lagoon in 1605. He wrote in his diary “Here is the town of Ulumay, the first one of the province of Ais. In back of and adjacent to this town there are many camps.” Ulumay was part of the vibrant Ais (Malabar) culture. Ais people occupied small interior camps and towns along resource-rich estuaries. The Ais were subject to Spanish patrols but were independent when British merchant Jonathan Dickinson from Jamaica trekked north through their territory in 1696 after he was shipwrecked near Hobe. Within a few years of his visit, epidemics weakened and then decimated the Ais. By 1715 only a few natives were seen by survivors of a Spanish fleet wreck. Through the 1950s, Ais village mounds including Ulumay were mined to obtain decomposed shell for use as roadbed. During the 1960s, local naturalist and historian Johnnie Johnson helped record what remained of Ulumay mounds. In 1970 the area was given to Brevard County by the State of Florida as a park. In 1993, the Brevard County Historical Commission dedicated the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary as a historical landmark.
A FLORIDA HERITAGE LANDMARK SPOSORED BY THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION,FRIENDS OF ULUMAY, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Information from website mentioned below:
The earliest know written record of this area was made by Alvaro Mexia in 1605. While on a mapping expedition, this young soldier from the St. Augustine garrison came to the area to meet the Ais chief . He drew a rough map of the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River with Ais language place names of Surruque, Urribia, Urruya, Suyagueche, Potopotoya, Ulumay, Saboboche, Savochequeya, Pentoaya and the Baya Grande de Ays. (Rouse 1951, 1981)
Learn more about the Ais Indians Only the name Ulumay has survived as the name of the Ulumay Wildlife Refuge on Merritt Island (named by naturalist and local historian Johnnie Johnson). Quoting from Irving Rouse's survey of Indian River Archaeology, Mexia's diary says, "Here is the town of Ulumay, the first one of the province of the Ais. In back and adjacent to this town there are many camps."
The Ais Indians remained in the area until their disappearance between 1715 and 1720. The shell mounds which were all that was left of these villages were used in the construction of early Merritt Island roads long before their archaeological significance was recognized. Recognition finally came on December 7, 1993, when the Brevard County Historic Commission presented a plaque to the Board of County Commissioners dedicating Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary as an Historic Landmark.
The late Johnny Johnson, a long time member of the Brevard Historic Commission, helped record what little was left of these Ais sites while heading a trailblazing effort along the dike in the 1960s.