In 1565, an English sailor named John Sparke visited the colonial Floridas for the first, and probably, only time. Sparke, along with thousands of other Europeans, was in the midst of exploring, settling, and exploiting the Western Hemisphere's eastern coastline, an endeavour that escalated in intensity following the spectacular voyages of Christopher Columbus almost eighty years before. Encountering a variety of locales, objects, and peoples for the first time, the mariner made observations that reveal a great deal about the meeting of Old and New World cultures. Referring to the indigenous inhabitants of the region, Sparke wrote, ‘those people of the cape of Florida are of more savage and fierce nature, and more valiant than any of the rest [he had met in the Americas]’. Significantly, the sailor based his opinions, at least in part, on tales of native barbarity communicated to him by Spanish settlers who had begun colonising the peninsula at the dawn of the sixteenth century. According to these stories, Indians were uncivilised and ‘eaters of the flesh of men […] canibals’. Yet, Sparke remained unsure about how to evaluate the indigenous inhabitants. His confusion stemmed from conflicting assessments supplied by French colonisers who had also recently established a foothold in the Floridas.