Princess Ulele Statue Returns

Ulele statue in Tampa
Princess Ulele, known a Florida’s Pocahontas, is a local legend in Tampa, Florida thus it was quite the surprise when a statue of her was removed from the Tampa riverwalk in the dead of night back in 2018. (This was the same year I published my first children’s book, Uleyli- The Princess & Pirate: Based […]

Juan Ortiz and Princess Uleleh Hirrihigua

The following article was written by F. P. Fleming and appeared in Publications of the Florida Historical Society, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Jul., 1908), pp. 42-47. It recounts the true story of a Spaniard named Juan Ortiz who was rescued by a Native American princess named Uleleh Hirrihigua. A modern retelling of this story can be […]

Princess Ulele is a Tampa History Mystery

Ulele statue at Ulele restaurant in Tampa, Florida. Also known as Princess Uleyli
Editor’s Note: While writing my new book Uleyli- The Princess & Pirate: The True Story of Florida’s Pocahontas I did a lot of research about her origins. One question I always had was where did the name “Ulele” come from. In reading the original Spanish source materials I never found that name mentioned anywhere. This […]

Tampa rips out Ulele statue in the dark of night

Ulele statue in Tampa
Editor’s Note: Ulele was a Native American princess who rescued a Spanish captive named Juan Ortiz from execution by her father, Chief Ucita. These events are believed to have taken place in Tampa, Florida. Tampa has repaid this kindness by removing a beautiful statue of Ulele from its riverwalk erected by a local business owner […]

Merchant-Traders of Florida

Editor’s Note: This Spanish eyewitness account from Garcilaso de la Vega’s Florida of the Inca reveals two different types of Native American traders that existed in Florida in 1539. The first was a more localized merchant who traded for everyday goods. The second was a more long-distance merchant who traded in high-value goods including precious […]

New Book About Princess Ulele and Juan Ortiz

native american history for kids
Uleyli: The Princess & Pirate is a new book about Ulele (respelled Uleyli) known as Florida’s Pocahontas because of her rescue of a Spanish captive, Juan Ortiz, from execution by her father, Chief Ucita of Hirrihigua province in modern-day Tampa Bay, Florida. Juan Ortiz was captured in 1528 and eventually rescued by the Hernando de […]

Letter of Hernando de Soto at Tampa Bay

LETTER OF HERNANDO DE SOTO, in Florida, to the Justice and Board of Magistrates in Santiago de Cuba. VERY NOBLE GENTLEMEN: The being in a new country, not very distant indeed from that where you are, still with some sea between, a thousand years appear to me to have gone by since any thing has […]

How Natives Conducted Their Warfare Near Tampa

    This eyewitness account from one of the first expeditions into the Southeastern U.S. shows the Spanish were definitely impressed by the military tactics of the Native inhabits of Florida. -Editor From A Narrative of the Expedition of Hernando de Soto Into Florida, by a Gentleman of Elvas The Governor sent the chief constable, Baltasar […]

Juan Ortiz Captivity Narrative by El Inca

This is a second and more extensive version of the captivity and rescue of the Spaniard Juan Ortiz who lived among the Indians of La Florida for 12 years. This version by El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega is considered the first piece of literature written by someone born in the Americas. El Inca was […]

Juan Ortiz Captivity Narrative by Elvas

Ulele, Ucita, Juan Ortiz
When Hernando de Soto landed in southwest Florida to begin his exploration of the Southeast, he did so without the aid of his local native interpreters who had escaped upon sighting land. This would certainly have doomed the expedition but as luck would have it De Soto found a Spanish captive named Juan Ortiz who […]