Unifying Histories: What’s in a Name

Appalachian Toponymy, Flora and Fauna Point to Greek and Pelagian Roots


Appalachian – A map of French Florida (Floride Françoise) shows the Cherokee (Chaloque, Tsalagi, pronounced Tschah-lah-kee) west of Apalache territory at the base of the mountains, with the Apalache capital named as Melilot. The lowermost of the Appalachians at the head of the Chattahoochee (Rio del Spiritu Santo, or River of the Holy Spirit) are called Montes Apalatci. Source: map by Pierre du Val (1618-1683), official geographer of the King (Louis XIV), La Floride, Paris, 1660.

As is well known, the mountains stretching north from the seat of the Apalache Indians in Georgia were named after this powerful tribe—or vice versa. Whichever way it goes, however, we are still left wondering about the original language of that tribal name and where the name came from, or its etymology. Is it an Indian language? Muskogean? Cherokee? Hitchiti?

Richard Thornton, a Georgia architect, author and Creek tribal member, believes Apalache is the Europeanization of Aparasi,  “which means ‘From – Ocean or Upper Amazon Basin – Descendants of’” in a South American language the dwellers spoke. He explains that many of the place-names in the Apalache country are Panoan from eastern Peru. Other names come from a Mayan language he identifies as Itsate.[1]

So, according to this conception of history, many if not most or all of the old place-names in Georgia are rooted in Indian languages, mostly Creek.[2]

We will demonstrate in this post that the word Apalache and numerous others in the history of Eastern North America are Greek, not Creek.

Brinton, a respected anthropologist who wrote in the late nineteenth century, had a different take on the meaning of the name Appalachian. He acknowledged that its origin or etymology is a “vexed question,” and that “the orthography of the name is given variously by the older writers, Apahlache, Abolachi, Apeolatei, Appalatta, and very frequently without the first letter, Palaxy, Palatcy,” but believes, upon weighing the evidence, “that we must explain its meaning [and] consider it an indication of ancient connections with the southern continent, and in itself a pure Carib word.” We quote his explanation as follows:

Apáliché in the Tamanaca dialect of the Guaranay stem on the Orinoco signifies man [Gilii, Saggio di Storia Americana, Tomo III, p. 375], and the earliest application of the name in the northern continent was as a title of the chief of a country, l’homme par excellence, and hence, like very many other Indian tribes (Apaches, Lenni Lenape, Illinois), his subjects assumed by eminence the proud appellation of The Men.[3]

He further refers to an obscure note in Latin preserved in a Dutch account dated originally 1562, when apparently the Frenchman Jean Ribault first visited the Apalachites and reported on them. This note designates both the king of the tribe and the surrounding mountains with the same name, Apalache.[4] We see the same congruence in Rochefort’s account, in Book 2, Chapter 7 and 8, of the second, expanded French edition of Charles de Rochefort, Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Iles Antilles de l’Amerique (Rotterdam: Chez Reinier Leers, 1681), pp. 344-434, where Apalache designates the country and Apalachites the inhabitants.

The name may just mean “white mountains,” for the Unicoi range in northeast Georgia was named after the Cherokee word for “white [man],” uneka, though it is unclear whether “white” referred to the European settlers or to original inhabitants. At any rate, the mystery of the etymology of Appalachian and Apalache and Apalachites endures.

Before deciding what the most likely explanation is, let us look at some other place-names within the same orbit, as described by those first eyewitnesses, Richard Brigstock and the Baron de Graeves, whose notes are included in Rochefort’s natural history in French from about 1650.

The Apalachites called the Chattahoochee River the Hitanachi, “its ancient name … which means in their language ‘beautiful and pleasant.’” So what was “their” language? Rafinesque noted that the word hitana in the “Apalachi” language was the same as in the Taino or “Haytian” and meant “noble, good, fine, handsome, lord, chief” (p. 253). The headwaters of the Chattahoochee were in the Apalache kingdom in the foothills of the mountains. Its lower length was named Appalachicola.

The river draining most of Georgia was named the Noble or White River in the Pelagian language of the “Indians” who settled the Caribbean and East Coast of the Southeast in the Bronze Age. Their capital was at its headwaters in the Gold Fields of Georgia, which the tribe named Melilot. Later, perhaps after about the eighth century, following the Iztacan invasions from Mexico, it was called the River of the Choctaws after what had become the dominant tribe in North Georgia.

HDt is “white” in Ancient Egyptian. The word is also used of things that are good and fair and pleasant. With the suffix -an, it means “white people, Libyans, sea people.” More specifically, TmHt designates “land of the white people, either Libya or North America. The Hindus also called America the White Land, as did the Norse and Britons. Tomahitans, a synonym for the Apalachites, means People of the White Continent, or of the White Mountains. This appears to be one of the oldest ethnonyms of the Apalachites. It is a word enshrined in Cherokee, Choctaw and Creek custom. The element “white” seems also to be part of the tribal name Hitchiti, as well. The Hitchiti at one time dominated the middle reaches of the Chattahoochee around Rome, Georgia. They were not the original inhabitants, however.

The same phenomenon of linguistic change across layers of tribal settlement and migration can be observed in the name Nickajack. The Old World presence in Georgia’s Gold Belt evidently goes back to the Minoans and Egyptians. The earliest name for the Georgia Gold Zone was undoubtedly  a variation of Nucay, the word for ‘gold’. This and no other was the word used by  Columbus, De Soto and the other European gold-seekers in their inquiries of the natives. The Taino forms nucay, nozay are related to the African forms nege, nexe (pronounced nuh-kuh) and Egyptian nb-, all meaning “gold, ore, precious metal.”[5] Gold was called by its Old World name in the New World.

According to this explanation, the original name must have been something like Nuh-kuh-gee, meaning “Gold Country.” The Creeks heard in this their name for “bear” (nokosi), the Cherokee interpreted it as their word for “star” (nokwsi). White settlers renamed the mountain Yonah (Cherokee for “bear”). Eventually the name evolved into Nagoochee, which was corrupted into Nickajack, preserving its original root, Nucay. The place-names of Georgia, like other states, are polylingual. There is no one story behind them. Their history is a bizarre palimpsest, repeatedly erased and rewritten.

Where are Cherokee in Early Picture?

Maps of the seventeenth century actually show two place-names, to the east and the west of the Apalache capital, that correspond to Cherokee lands, despite what Thornton and others have claimed, viz., that the Cherokee were never in Georgia. One of the six Apalache provinces was named Achalaque, an obvious rendering of the Cherokee ethnonym Tsalagi (pronounced Tscha-lo-kee). It lay “partly in the mountains and partly in the swamps on the boundaries of the large body of water that regularly floods two times a year,” in other words, it stretched from the headwaters of the Savannah River through southeast central Georgia in the territory later known as that of the Lower Cherokee around Keowee.

Joannes de Laet’s 1630 map

On Joannes de Laet’s 1630 map of Florida and neighboring regions, there are the same two place-names, Chalaque and Achalaque.

Chalaqua appears as the name of a city also on the 1566 (and later) map in the compilation of Abraham Ortelius by Chavez. The two variants (Chalaque and Achalaque) are on Nicolas Sanson’s map of French Florida from 1657, though not Melilot, the Apalachee capital. This suggests Rochfort’s reports did not penetrate to French intellectuals until a few years later. (They have still not penetrated to American university history departments.)[6]

The lower province was referred to as the dominion of the Lower Cherokee, or Elati, Eastern Cherokee. They were encountered by the traders and settlers out of Savannah and Charleston first, before the Middle or Overhill Settlements. Their dialect expressed l’s as r’s, thus Charakey, Cherokee, etc. instead of Tsalagi, Choloki and the like. The opposite were the Otali or Mountain Cherokee. Both these names are Greek, not Cherokee. Thus there are two locations for Cherokee on either side of the Apalache. As I have shown in Old World Roots of the Cherokee, both locations probably reflect the Greek E-shel-o-kee (“volunteer settlers”), the traditional ethnonym according to the Cherokees’ national origin-story.

On the earliest maps made after the De Soto expedition of 1540, for instance, a map of La Florida by G. Chavez 1566 (p. 34 in Thornton’s Encyclopedia of Georgia), Chalaqua (filtered through Spanish, where qu is a k sound) is marked as a city at the southern extremity of the Appalachian mountains. Since their inception, the Cherokee have chiefly been called the Tsalagi and by no other name. The word was originally in the Greek language, as were many others in the Cherokees’ “old language” before they adopted Mohawk.

Greek, Not Creek

If we pick out names of Apalache provinces, flora and fauna and other terms from Brigstock’s account, we can see that the majority can be etymologized in Greek. The Apalache Indians’ earliest language must predate Creek, Choctaw, and related tongues in the U.S. Southeast. It would not make sense to relegate these Greek words to a late period, say of Greek settlement from the 15th century. They go all the way back, and fortunately for us, they were recorded in the mid-seventeenth century by French missionaries. Their forms are ancient Greek, not Byzantine or modern.

Combing through the second, expanded edition of Rochefort’s work with its valuable additions from Edouard de Graeves in 1653, we have about twenty words reported as Apalache from the lips of the Indians themselves. About a quarter of them have glosses or etymologies provided by the Indian informants. Consistently, they come from Old World languages, not those of the New World as spoken, say, by Creek Indians. In analyzing them, we believe they have the necessary “dimensions of cognancy and evidence of shared beliefs” so prized by linguists like Mary LeCron.[7] Without such controls, comparisons of words in different languages become mere exercises in ingenuity.

Rafinesque believed that the first Indian nations came from the Caribbean, and before that from the Canaries, North Africa and Iberian Peninsula. He called these the Atalan tribes and compared the Haitian (Taino) language to what he called Pelagic, a pre-Greek language spoken around the Mediterranean basin by ancestors of the Greeks and Italians, especially by peoples around the Aegean Sea. Modern-day linguists call it Pelagian, or Pelasgian, a forerunner of Greek.

Rafinesque found nearly 200 comparable words, “whereof about 160 offer more or less analogies… mutual affinity 80 percent… complete and near connection.” He concluded that the Haitians or Tainos were of Pelagic or Mediterranean origin. The closest languages after proto-Greek were the “Atlantic [Iberian], Lybian, Egyptian, Bask [Basque], Sanscrit, Persian etc., which are all connected with the Pelagic nations.” His tabulations showed that Taino-Pelagian affinities were “of course the greatest with the Aruac [Arawak] nations of South America, who are their brothers, and extend to the Taos of Tucuman and the Tinguis or true Patagons of Pigafetta.” Further, he observed that the “nearest affinities after these were the Apalachis, Nachez, Cadoz, Huastecas, Mexican, Tarasca, Maya, Chontal etc. of North America and the Darien, Betoy (Chibchan), Peruvian, Chili, Mbaya etc. of South America”— all of which connections we can confirm in DNA matches.

The converse was also true. There was little overlap with Asiatic-type languages like those in the  Algonquian macro-linguistic family. Pelagian seemed a litmus test for American languages of eastern or Atlantic origin (Rafinesque, pp. 219-20). Likewise, the DNA lineages in Eastern North America were not the classic Asian types A-D, Q, R and X. They were a diversified assortment of types from Old Europe and the Mediterranean, T, I, U, J and the rest.

We list here some of the authentic words recorded by French residents in the provinces of the Apalachee Indians circa 1650 together with some speculative derivations.

Titmouse-like kinglet

Titmouse-like kinglet (genus Regulus), the paracousse of the Apalachites.

Paracousse. We think this word is, quite plainly and literally, Greek, syllable for syllable: parakoussa, a particle of parakio “to excel,” meaning “surpassing, nonpareil, without rival.” This meaning explains why it is applied to the resident king or supreme chief of a province (p. 374), especially the supreme ruler in Melilot to which others pay court, as well as to a rare bird described at length on page 383. This seems obviously to be the golden-crowned kinglet or goldcrest, which the peoples of Europe and other places around the world recognized as the king of the bird kingdom. Richard Thornton (a Creek Indian) says the Apalache word means “sea elite,” but that is not an etymology. It may be a calque or translation, it may even be a folk etymology, but it is not an analysis of the elements with “a dimension of cognancy and evidence of shared beliefs.” Thornton makes the first element the same as Panoan par “water,” as in Peru, rather than a prepositional prefix para. This strikes me as akin to deriving a Latin word from French. French came after Latin, just as the Creek Indians followed the Apalache Indians in point of chronology.

The Sacred Mountain of Olaimi (p. 362) seems to reproduce exactly Pelagian *ALEIM “(Mountain of) the Gods” (Rafinesque, p. 150; compare Elohim in Hebrew).

Iaoüas. The priests of the Apalache are keepers of the rites of the temple, augurs and healers. They are responsible for incense burning, ritual baths, the annals and songs of the kingdom and ceremonial release of six tonatzuli birds, or “messengers of the sun” each year symbolizing the freedom of the six provinces (pp. 365, 417, 429—see below). The name of the priests who are keepers of Apalache oral literature and religious customs provides unmistakable evidence of the Apalache’s origins, for it means, quite simply, “Ionians, Greeks, Children of the Sun, Worshipers of Apollo.”  Egyptians used the word j-w-n(-n)-’ for the Greek race. Assyrians used the word Iawanu, Persians the name Yauna, Babylonians the terms Yaman and Yamanaya. In Biblical Hebrew, the word was Yāwān, and in Modern Hebrew it is Yavan, Javan. Throughout antiquity, Javan was the ethnonym applied to Ionians, the Kittim or Cypriot or Aegean peoples (Rafinesque’s Cutans), including the Minoans and Mycenaeans and Tartessians of Spain.

In his Haitian language notes, Rafinesque gives the core lexeme as Jovana “God.” He notes its currency in the Carib-speaking islands as well as in other Indian languages in both North and South America and cites the following analogies (p. 246):

Jan Janus of Etruscans, Ju Ombrian, Yu Ausonian, Jovis Latin, —Jona, Yauna, Juneva, Jaungoieva of Basks—Jo-cauna, Janum of Lybians, IEUE [Yahweh, Jehovah] of Moses, Joh Luchu, Yavang Sunda, Iona Troyan, Iunak Slavic, Achaman Ahican Guanch, etc. ——Yah, yoha vah Chactah, Hioh New Albion, Yaho Apalachi, Ohuae Old Peruvian, Jahuagon Huron, Wakon Ozages, Conome Yaruras, Oho Aleutian, Ogha Othomi, etc.


Do they share ancestry from the Sea Peoples? Left: Doryphorus (Spear Bearer), by Polyclitus, circa 440 BCE, Ancient Cyrene (plaster cast, Ancient Art Museum in former Franciscan church, Arnau/Hostinné, Czech Republic). Right: Far-off Warrior, Fushatchee Mikko, or Birdtail King of the Kashitas/Cusseta Creeks, by John Trumbull, 1790 (New York Public Library). Was “Far-off” an ethnic reference to origins from across the seas?

Six Provinces Surrounding the Capital

During the period shortly after De Soto, ”the Caraïbes had for their chief and king of their nation one of the most valiant of their captains, whom they called Regazim. They also  added to their state another province that lay adjacent to them on the south called Matica, or Matique, which “reaches into the mountains with a leg of territory that receives a stream rushing from the same mountains and then extends at length to the west as far as the river which takes its source at the great lake after several islands and which flows through several provinces and at last debouches into the ocean (Ogeechee). The word Regazim  sounds very much like Ragusan, “one from Dubrovnik. ” The meaning of Matique is “wooded” and it reflects Slavic roots. The Sea Peoples spoke a mishmash of paleo-Balkan, pre-Greek, Phyrgian, Armenian and “Pelagian” languages. The name could go all the way back to the Bronze Age, though Regazim seems to be post-1492. It confirms that Ragusans or Slavic-speaking Croatians who “accepted Christianity” (p. 418) colonized the natives in this region. Their imprint is heavy on the original and admixed DNA of the region also, with numerous high Croatian matches in the ancestry of Cherokees and Lumbee.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge State Park.

“Of all the beautiful trees growing in those regions there is one, a species of cedar with a very pleasant smell, that is commonly found only in a beautiful valley that the natives of the province of Matique have, named Bersakayou, which means in their language, Valley of the Cedars. These trees erect their trunks very straight and very high after they spread their branches. Their wood is without knots, of lemon color and so dense that one can polish it” (p. 416).

From this description, the “cedars” (acacia was generic for trees) are likely to have been yellow poplar or tulip-trees, tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). They grow in the canyon’s mesic and riparian soils, while pines and eastern red cedar are found in the xeric (dry) rim and steep rocky sides. Tulip poplars are a tall tree (80-100 feet), with few lower branches, producing a perfect, straight trunk with clear lumber even in small trees, redolent and have dense lemony wood without knots that takes a good polish untreated. Pioneers in the Appalachian highlands, Carolinas and Cumberland Plateau made extensive use of poplar as a utilitarian wood, since it was intermediate between hardwood and softer pine and was, to a degree, durable in the soil. Spoons and bowls and drums were carved from it, as well as dugout canoes. Poplar sap was also an ingredient in syrups and medicines, especially against coughs.

We suggest Bersakayou is identical with one of Georgia’s oldest natural sights, the stunning Tallulah Gorge, a 1,000-foot deep canyon located about 30 miles as the crow flies from the Apalache capital in Nacoochee. This word begins with the element Bersa (Thracian, cf. IE *bhergho, German Berg) “a high place, bank, mountain.”

The original homeland of the Pelagians was on the shore of the Thracian Sea. The language they spoke was descended from the satem or eastern division of Indo-European, which gave birth to Greek along with the more common western branch or centum (V. I. Georgiev). After the Pelagians began their wanderings in the 13th century BCE they morphed into, among other ethnic groups, the Philistines of the East Mediterranean. Their original name in the Balkans was Pelastians. They are thus responsible for the name of the country Palestine.

“The Caraïbes having thus extended their boundaries and forced their enemies to retreat, made a truce for some years with the Apalachites, who being wearied with the wars and discouraged by the loss of a considerable province, willingly agreed to that cessation of arms and all acts of hostility.”

Next we hear how the Apalachites win back the loyalty of the Caraïbes in the province of Matica by requiring them to submit to the worship of the sun and annual pilgrimage to the capital of Melilot. The disaffected portion of the Caraïbes leaves the land for the Bahamas and settles in the Caribbean. This is the origin of a large portion of the Caribbean people, an event which the chroniclers here suspect goes back perhaps to relatively recent memory.

“The Valley of the Cedars is ideally situated to act as a refuge from the neighboring barbarians. According to the recent communiqué from M. de Graeves there are plans to remove to it the armies of the state, the Royal Household, the colleges of learning and all the other civilized institutions of their capital and build there another capital of greater extent than Melilot following the designs drawn up several years ago by an Irish Captain, versed in architecture and fort building (p. 388).”

Taino, Greek, Slavic, Hebrew, Armenian and Portuguese Names

Beginning on page 374 in the French, we learn about the other provinces of the Apalachian empire. “The State of the Apalachites contains several small provinces, all of them in that beautiful, spacious valley bounded by slopes on the east and on the north by a chain of high mountains known on all the maps by the name of Apalates.” Mozenkis notes that “Paleo-Balkan peoples named themselves systematically… ‘after mountains’ (Albanians, Bryges/Phrygians, Bessi, Carpi, Caucones, Caucasians)…” (Iurii Mosenkis, “Hellenic Origin of Europe,” p. 16).  Thus the term Apalat- (to which we will return later) is applied to a people, their ruler and the mountains where they reside.

“In the south,” so the description continues, “is the province of Tagoüesta, inhabited by a cruel and most barbarous nation always at war with its neighbors.” The Tagesta Indians of the coastal plain were considered the wildest and most uncivilized of all the tribes in the region. They were often called cannibals. “It lies along the banks of the Hitanachi, which the Spanish call the River of the Holy Spirit. Some low hills separate them from the Cofacites. And there are other smaller territories in alliance with or under the protection of the King of Apalache.”

Rafinesque classed the Cofacites with the tribes who migrated from Mexico about 400-600 CE, saying, “When the Toltecas of Mexico drove away the Xicallans [Zicalans, Xicalanca in Vera Cruz, Tabasco, a Mayan people], the bulk of that nation came to the Mississippi, and settled on both sides of it, above the Natchez; many nations have sprung from that stock, all intimately connected in language and manners, such as the Chicasas [Chickasaw], Choctaws, Yazoos or Tapousas, Muscolgees [Muskogee], Cofachis [Fish Clan People?], &c. spreading north and east of the Natchez, they formed a bulwark between them and the northern invaders [Algonquians]; the Chicasas extended their conquests to the banks of the Ohio in Kentucky.”

The origin and significance of the word Muskogee has been despaired of, as it seems to pop up out of nowhere about 1750 and to mean nothing in any of the Creek languages. We believe it too comes from the Greek and Pelagian, specifically Greek moskoi (Colcheans), or Mushk, Biblical Meshach, the Mysian or Mushki people who named themselves after the beech (μύσος). The Moscheni (Armenians), Mus people and Moisoi of the East Balkans, all connected with the Phrygians (People of the Peaks, Hills), are related. This was an important and distinct group among the Sea Peoples (Mosenkis, p. 16).

“The most prominent of the provinces in the valley is named Bemarin, the next is called Amana and the third Matique. Admittedly, this last starts in the valley and extends into the mountains and even to the midst of the great body of water known to them by the name of Theomi. The other provinces are Schama and Meraco, situated in the Apalate Mountains, and Achalaque, partly in the mountains and partly in the swamps on the boundaries of the large body of water that regularly floods two times a year.”

Regarding Schama, the 1670 Latin geography Hercules Siculus by Giovanni Battista Nicolosi calls this province Sehema, the Italian word for Hebrew Shema, confirming that the name of the province was “Name (of God).” Shema (“speak” or “hear”) is the first word of the Jewish profession of faith Shema Yisroel Adonai Eloheinu, meaning “Hear O Israel the Lord Thy God is One.” This mountainous region partially adopted Judaism, as is evident in the appearance of the Cherokee uku and his retinue who visited England in 1730 with their Jewish-style sidelocks. See “Cherokee Had Orthodox Jewish Beards until 1750” (blog post, February 26, 2020).

Bemarin. This is the name of the main province, according to Brigstock’s account. It is the place where the court and king are situated, the region “of oldest continuance” and home of the language that serves as the national tongue, alongside “Caribbean dialects” in two of the other provinces. It is so-spelled on maps and in gazetteers, with a few exceptions, where it appears as Bomeria, as in a foldout in a German encyclopedia of 1753.[8]

Bemarin is a Sephardic  or Portuguese Jewish surname, and Bomeria is a Portuguese word, from bodemeria, a legal term meaning, variously, “contract, contrivance, investment, venture, speculative enterprise, bottomry.” Evidently, the surname is derived from commerce involving riskiness, one often dominated by Jewish investors, but it seems doubtful that the province is named for a single person. More probably, it meant “The Concession, Contrivance, Venture.” The Portuguese form Bemarin suggests its name began in the Spanish-Portuguese period of the Southern Highlands’ history (16th-17th centuries). It is a rare instance of a modern European name. The Portuguese left their mark primarily in the immediate area around the Nacoochee Valley beginning in 1566.This was the Apalache heartland and capital.

The Apalaches explicitly spell out the derivation of Caraibe, their name for the intrusive Carib or Sea Island element within their population. It means “added people, suddenly and unexpectedly coming in, strangers, stout or valiant men” (p. 357). Caraibe is obviously formed from Greek chaire “welcome, greetings” + the be suffix noticed in other compounds, “people.” Caribs are the People Welcomed Among Us. Carib and Caribbean are related to our words “charismatic” and “charitable.” The supposition that Caribbean comes from an Arawak word meaning “people” and is linked to our word “cannibal” are false etymologies. “Stout or valiant men” reflects the ethnonym Taino, which means nobleman or male aristocrat in the Haitian language.

Amana (pp. 358, 425). The pleasant southern province relinquished to the Caribbean Indians. Evidently composed of Haitian Am “water, root, plenty” (or A-ma “of great, water) and An “man, people, folk,” or else from A-na “of bloom, a flower” (Rafinesque, 222, 226). If related to A-na, the name of this lower province could have been the original “La Florida.” The Apalache name, then, designated a “Great or Watery Land of Flowers,” an apt one for the vast Okeefenokee and lower part of Georgia together with northern part of Florida.

“The province of Bemarin is productive of a type of very excellent root that the Indigenous call Oriaely. For the most part they are a bit bigger than a nut and of a form almost round. The skin that covers them is very fine and of a ruddy color but the inside which it envelops is gray-white with veins of violet. The roots are connected one with another by tiny filaments with which they draw nourishment. Cooked in ash or boiled in water, they have a pleasant and relish-like taste and a strengthening effect on the lungs.”

Oriaely can be identified as purple nutsedge, an important New World plant brought back to the Old World (Proto-Indo-European *h,rugh-ielo- “dig, root”, cf. Greek orua, orusso– “rooter, rootling, digger.” Here again is a Greek name for a food plant formerly eaten in North Georgia.[9]

“The Apalachites have knowledge also of another root that grows in the province with the peculiar property of strengthening the body after it has been overworked. The root is composed of several nodes about the size of a small egg. It is not to be eaten but arranged in little balls and dried in the shade like the chaplets we make of iris roots, and that way they serve to wash the hands and bathe the eyes in the place of soap… They call them Koymelak in their language, i.e. roots of good smell.”

Koymelak seems to derive from Greek koimao “soothing” with the so-called Armenian plural –k. Hay is the name of an Armenian, Hayk for the Armenian people. The -k as a sign of the plural is distinctive and practically diagnostic of  Armenian origins. The herb was probably tuberous yucca or soapweed roots. The word yucca comes from the Taino language, where it means “white.” Accordingly, Euchee or Yuchi means “white people.” They were also called, in unison with the Apalachites and Choctaw with whom they were co-settled, Children of the Sun.

“Among the thickets of the province of Amana there grows a plant in the shape of thistles with large leaves, bristling in different places with many thorns. The inhabitants of that country call it Hyaleitokt, from a term that means “the plant that is very useful.” It thrusts forth a stalk that is provided with two or three pods each year that enlarge like those of the Artichoke and which are crowned by a violet-colored flower.”

Hya is the pre-Greek root for “purple,” as in Hyacinth, where -cinth evidently means “flower,” also in the pre-Greek or Pelasgian language, the –th sound being characteristic, as in the word “labyrinth” and place-name Corinth. The medicine plant described here is without doubt common bull thistle or Cirsium vulgare. Native Americans have long treasured bull thistle as a food and medicine, especially the Cherokee, Delaware and Iroquois, who use it as an analgesic, antirheumatic, hemorrhoid remedy and anti-cancer treatment. A Creek healer named Tis Mal Crow mentioned by American Herbalists Guild registered member Matthew Alfs reported that the plant was used in Muscogee tradition as an alterative (tonic or blood purifier), febrifuge (fever reducer), topically as a vulnerary (wound treatment) and “swished in the mouth as a healing bath for stomatitis” (inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and lips).” This wide range of uses fit the Apalache description as “very useful.” Bull thistle is not included in the Western repertory of medicinal plants.[10]

“The provinces of Bemarin and Meraco are productive of certain trees the locals call Labiza, that is to say, Jewel (Ioyau), doubtless for the reason they see in it their necklaces, their bracelets and the better part of all their riches. They are of the size and habit of laurels, except that their blossoms, which are toothed at the extremity, are of a very gay green. They bear in spring flowers that strongly resemble those of apricots, which mature and fall without being followed by any fruit, but in recompense, the trunk and the bigger branches of these trees secrete a type of Copal, or precious resin, of good fragrance and of a pale yellow, to which one can give the shape one desires when fresh and pliable (p. 381).”

Labiza clearly describes dogwood, whose showy flowers are actually bracts surrounding the smaller green flower that produces the seeds, though they resemble apricot fruit-producing blossoms in appearance. They have “teeth” or bites on each of their four petals’ extremities, as the text says. The etymology is again Greek; labyzos, a spice plant, Persian labuja (Beeks, p. 819.) Such dogwoods are called “bleeders,” because they exude a whitish or yellowish resin. Southeastern Indians chewed or smoked the bark or made a tea of it as an analgesic.[11]

first of a series of English maps

One of the first of a series of English maps, the atlas by Hermann Moll in 1717 shows the empire of Azilia just east of the Appalachians. On other maps, we see the Indians labeled along the eastern slopes of the Appalachians as Atzuli, Children of the Sun.

Finally, we come to the exotic birds in Apalache territory. “The province of Bemarin and vale of which we are about to speak are also quite renowned for the rare birds found there, of which the most notable are the Tonatzulis, which sing as melodiously as our nightingales. They are of the size and approximate shape of goldfinches, but they have a belly and wings of a golden yellow, a back of a sky-blue which extends to the tail. The head is of intermingled colors, all of which are found on the rest of the body, and the beak and claws the color of ivory. The people believe, as they tell us all the time, that these birds, so pompously gotten up, are the messengers of the Sun and are particularly consecrated to singing the praises of the Sun. The name, too, which they have given them signifies in their language A Songster, or Musician of Heaven.”

Tonatzuli: lit., “musician of the sun, of the heaven,” hence “messengers of the sun etc.” The etymology of tonatzuli seems to come from Greek tonos “tune” and azul “sun, heaven,” the latter element a Pelasgian word also found in Taino. Graeves’ description clearly points to the painted bunting. Cf. Pelasgian atzul “sun” (Rafinesque, p. 198; cf. Etruscan Usil, Italic Ausel “sun”) and Greek tonos, “note, pitch, tune.” The tribal name for the confederacy of Apalache Indians on maps was Atzulis (“children of the sun”).

“After the Tonatzuli … the rarest and most marvelous of all the birds that are prized among these nations is that which they name Paracousse, that is, the Kinglet [lit., Greek “surpassing (all), nonpareil, peerless”]. It is of the size of those small parakeets that our islanders call Peuriques, but it doesn’t have a crooked beak, its flight is even swifter and of longer duration and instead of a bothersome chitter-chatter of the same tone it has a cry very sweet and contenting to the ear, conducting itself according to the rules of a natural music with hardly any bad notes (p. 383). . . . It makes eminent sense, then, that the Apalachites grant to the Paracousse the crown and title of King among all the other birds seen in their provinces.”

“The great body of water known to us as Theomi and that of the valley of the Bersaykauou have more rare birds, such as flamingoes and egrets… But the one that deserves particular consideration among those that haunt the streams and marshes is the one that the natives of the land call Flotien. It is the size of an egret and exactly similar shape. Its wings, its back and the feathers of its tail are marked as by scales of gray and white and black bordered by a small red ribbon. His head is covered with small black and glistening feathers that create a flat hat for him, and as for the rest of his plumage it is completely white.”

The Georgia wood stork so exactly described by de Graeves is the only true stork (family Ciconiidae) in the U.S. today. Wood storks breed in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina with colonies in thirteen counties along the coast and across southern Georgia. The word comes perhaps from Greek “jester, clown, fool, mime” in reference to the mottled or flecked “costume,” and silent habit. The Greeks did not believe storks had tongues, as they made few sounds. The Pelasgians had a special attachment to the stork, and some said that was the meaning of their name.

In the mountains of the province of Achalaque, which borders on the territory of the Cofacites, there is a sensitive plant that is incomparable among all those meriting to bear the name. The inhabitants call it most appropriately Amazuli, which is as much as to say, the flower that is alive (p. 380).

Amazuli: ”flower of the sun, heaven,” so-named for their dazzling color, like the painted bunting. The sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) is also called humble plant, sleepy plant, action plant, dormilone, touch-me-not, shameplant, zombie plant, shy lady or shy plant, silk tree and Indian flower. It is a tropical plant in the pea family (Fabaceae) that responds to touch and other stimulation by rapidly closing its leaves and drooping. Mimosa leaves close at night. They are common along the Florida and Georgia coastal plain in sunny places, where they seem to have been propagated for their ornamental value in the past but are widely considered a weed tree today. Native to South and Central America, mimosas can have blossoms that are pink, yellow, red, blue, purple and orange. De Graeves was the first scientist to draw and describe the sensitive plant in a publication. It was not until several decades later, in 1729, that the French scientist Jean-Jacques d’Ortou de Mairan performed an experiment that demonstrated the existence of circadian rhythms in plants, specifically the Mimosa pudica.

Melilot. This is the name of the Apalache capital. Melilot, literally, honey clover, with a type of flower that produces the sweetest honey, is, again, unequivocally Greek. The word is of ancient use and is composed of the roots meli “honey” and lotos, “lotus, flower” (Beekes, p. 884), hence its meaning as “flower, pick, best part.” Its use as a figure of speech is instanced already in the poetry of Sappho, who lived shortly after the Homeric Age in Archaic Greece. The equivalent in Apalache is said to be The City of Council, that is, the capital, best part of the kingdom, the flower of the aristocracy (p. 362). It was located in Nacoochee Valley, whose name originally had nothing to do with bears or stars or Uchees.

Indians Came from Europe

In conclusion, we believe the name Apalachee comes from Old Greek ap- “far away” (cf. German ab, “from” Celtic ap-, p- “son of”) and alat- , Doric ἀλἁτοϛ  “wanderer” from alaomai, Proto-Indo-European *alā-,  “wander, often in the aimless sense, roam about, be banished.” Thus, the singular means “Wanderer from Afar.” The collective meaning, as in Elati Cherokee and Elohi, is Wanderers from Over the Sea. Not for nothing was a Creek chief named The Far-Off Warrior and the Cherokee principal chief Amadohiyi (Admiral, Sea Captain), or Moytoy.

The Apalache Indians claimed to French observers in 1650 to be the oldest tribe in America. But they were effectively wiped out in the great smallpox epidemic of 1696. By 1701 their name was gone from maps of the region. Now that we know their name is Greek, their history of the Bronze Age, and their DNA from the Old World, do we cease to call them “Indians”? Or is this term only reserved for people thought to come over the Bering Straits?

If the answer to that question in the eyes of the authorities and arbiters of academia is yes, it is because these experts are unwilling to consider knowledge in an ecumenical way. They are still fighting the battles of isolationism versus diffusionism. The geneticists do not believe people could have crossed seas in the remote past. All their migrations are reconstructed across landmasses. The historians cannot conceive of the world as one.

The capital of the oldest Indians in Eastern North America was Melilot. Most of the Apalachee Indians’ medicinal herbs had Greek names. That appears to be irrefutable. The symbology of “honey lotus” belongs to the Ancient World. But as the name of America’s vice president-elect demonstrates, Kamala (Hindu “lotus flower, excellence”),[12] American Indians, Indians and Americans have more in common than they might individually believe. Ethnically and culturally, it is One World and always has been.

As early as the second millennium BCE, the known world was unified by the Egyptians, so that what we call South American DNA was found in Polynesia and Oceanic types had been introduced into the Caribbean. Since the major work on diffusionism by W. J. Perry, the spread of humankind by sea has been balkanized or dismissed by modern academics.

Here’s to the unification of all histories and to the unity of all sciences!

When the first English met the first Apalache Indians they were surprised to find them wearing caps turned back like one of the ancient Sea Peoples, Shekelesh, or Sicels (Sicilians). The cap is described in Rochefort’s natural history and was later worn by Creek chiefs. John Ogilby and Arnoldus Montanus, Virginiae partis australis et Floridae partis orientalis… (London, 1673).







Baine, Rodney M. “Another Lost Colony? Charles de Rochefort’s Account of English Refugees and the Apalachites,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 83/3 (1999) 558-64.

Beeks, Robert, with Lucien Van Beek (2010). Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series, 10/1-2. Leiden: Brill.

Daniel Brinton (1859). Notes on the Floridian Peninsula : its Literary History, Indian Tribes and Antiquities. Philadelphia: Sabin.

Cooper, John H. (2001). “Ancient Greek Cultural and Linguistic Influences in Atlantic North America.” NEARA Journal 35/2:81-91.

Fell, Barry (1982). Bronze Age America. Boston: Little, Brown.

Frederick Christiaan Woudhuizen, The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples, Rotterdam, Ph.D. diss., 2006. A breakthrough work originally in Dutch, which has been published in a limited impression, and is  included in Wim M.J. van Binsbergen and Fred C. Woudhuizen, Ethnicity in Mediterranean Protohistory, British Archaeological Reports, Oxford, 2011.

Gallegos, Eloy J. (1997). The Melungeons: The Pioneers of the Interior Southeastern United States 1526-1997.Knoxville: Villagra.

Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott, comp. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

Mosenkis, Iurii L. (2018). Cucuteni-Trypillia – Troy – Greece : Written History 3500-1500 BC. Kiev: Aratta.

——————– (2016 ). The Hellenic Origin of Europe: Formation of the Greeks 4600–2600 BC and the Frst Greek States 2600–1450 BC in Cretan Hieroglyphs and Linear A Script. Kiev: Uman.

Perry, W. J. (1923). The Children of the Sun: A Study of the Egyptian Settlement of the Pacific. London: Methuen.

Quiles, Carlos (2017). Indo-European Demic Diffusion Model (2nd ed.). Badajoz, Spain: Universidad de Extremadura.

Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel (1836). The American Nations, or, Outlines of Their General History, Ancient and Modern: Including the Whole History of the Earth and Mankind in the Western Hemisphere: the Philosophy of American History: the Annals, Traditions, Civilization, Languages, &c., of All the American Nations, Empires, and States… Philadelphia: Printed for the Author.

Charles de Rochefort, Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Iles Antilles de l’Amerique (Rotterdam: Chez Reinier Leers, 1681). New edition of original French by Bernard Grunberg et al (2 vols., Paris: Harmattan, 2012). 

Sandars, N.K. (1978). The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1250-1150 BC. London: Thames and Hudson. 140 illustrations.

Starostin, Sergei (1998-2003). Indo-European Etymology. Db with 2579 pp. available at: https://www.bulgari-istoria-2010.com/Rechnici/Indo-europ.pdf.

Thornton, Richard L. The Forgotten History of North Georgia. N.p.: Americas Revealed, 2016. ————-, Native American Encyclopedia of Georgia (Clarksville: Americas Revealed, 2020).

Velikovsky, Immanuel. Peoples of the Sea. New York: Doubleday, 1977. Audacious work which would suggest that Egyptian chronology is wrong.

Yates, Donald N. (2012). Old World Roots of the Cherokee: How DNA, Ancient Alphabets and Religion Explain the Origins of America’s Largest Indian Nation. Jefferson: McFarland.



[1] Richard L. Thornton, personal communication, June 10, 2019.

[2] Richard L. Thornton, Native American Encyclopedia of Georgia (Clarksville: The Americas Revealed, 2020).

[3] Brinton, p. 59, pp. 151-52, notes 133, 134.

[4] Translated from the Latin in Brinton’s  note, the label on “the map of the country in Dapper’s Neue and Unbekannte Welt (Amsterdam, 1673)” reads: “The king who lived in these mountains in the year 1562 was said to be Apalatcy; and the very mountains were called by the same name,” n. 134, p. 152.

[5] See Rafinesque, p. 723. Doric Greek knakos “yellow” may be related.

[6] As late as 2000, Rodney Baine, a distinguished eighteenth-century studies scholar and professor in the English department at the University of Georgia staked his reputation on the fictitious status of this “lost colony.”  He had maintained for forty years that “no lost colony of English settlers, group of French Huguenots, Minim friars, or Spanish settlers ever existed in the colonial Appalachians. “As for Bristock and Greaves [sic], they too were creatures of Rochefort’s fertile imagination.” Rodney M. Baine, “Another Lost Colony? Charles de Rochefort’s Account of English Refugees and the Apalachites,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 83/3 (1999), p. 564. Baine died at the age of 87 the year after this article was published.

[7] Mary LeCron Foster, “The Transoceanic Trail: The Proto-Pelagian Language Phylum,” Pre-Columbiana, I/1-2 (1998), discussed in chapter 6, of our book “The Odin Gene.”

[8] Geschichte von Amerika, introduced by Baumgarten, translated by J. F. Geyfarts and J. F. Schroeter, in 3 vols. (B. H. Halle, 1753), vol. 2, p. 480. The foldout is numbered #13 and presents a “curious map,” according to Daniel G. Brinton, Notes on the Floridian Peninsula, Its Literary History, Indian Tribes and Antiquities (Good Press, 2019), p. 61, n. 144.

[9] Cyperus rotundus, “reported in the Eastern U.S. among Indians from the earliest days,” now considered an invasive weed throughout the South, is related to tigernut or chufa (Cyperus esculentus, edible sedge), which traveled from the New World to India and Spain, where it was simply called tule, in pre-Columbian times. See John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johannessen, World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492 (New York: I Universe, 2009), pp. 187-89. For its uses in Indian medicine to treat a variety of ailments with synergistic action, see A. Kamala et al., “Plants in Traditional Medicine with Special Reference to Cyperus rotundus L.: A Review,” 3 Biotech 8/7 (2018), p. 309: doi:10.1007/s13205-018-1328-6. For the etymology of oriaely see Beeks, p. 1113.

[10] See Matthew Alfs, “An Herbal Breakthrough in Rheumatology: Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) or Spondyloarthropathy,” Journal of the American Herbalists Guild, vol. 12, no. 3: https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/sites/default/files/sample-articles-pdfs/alfs_bull_thistle_for_spondyloarthropathy.pdf.

[11] See post dated March 12, 2018 by Janet L. Serra, “Dogwoods – Medicinal Monday: Institute for American Indian Studies Looks at the Many Ways Native Americans Used the Dogwood Tree”: https://patch.com/connecticut/woodbury-middlebury/dogwoods-medicinal-monday.

[12] Kamal designates the pale red or pink lotus flower, a symbol for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Monier Monier-Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, new ed.(Oxford: Clarendon, 1899).


  Comments: 4

  1. Once again DNA Consultants does not disappoint. Probably one of the best reads for me in the last year. With my Melungeon Fingerprint plus results and my known heritage of the eastern seaboard as well as Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina etc combined with Arabian, Malta, Sicily, Argentina, Oceanic and East African results from other companies everything is starting to fall right into place.

  2. Very interesting! In my research I have this map showing Apache upriver from Ft Louis de La Mobile, thru French, Spanish, periods


    fort louis de la mobile (Google image search)


    Salome – An Apalachee Woman
    We know much about the Apalachee Indians who moved to Old Mobile from Spanish Florida. Allies of the Spanish, they were brutally attacked by English and Creek Indian war parties raiding their homeland in north-central Florida. They eventually found safety by resettling near the French around Mobile Bay from 1704 until 1763. The Apalachees were converted to Christianity by Spanish priests in the early 17th century and remained devout. In his description of the Apalachees, carpenter and resident of Old Mobile André Pénigault described them as “excellent Catholics.” 
    Salome was the name of an Apalachee woman who survived the 1704 raids on her home and traveled with 400 other survivors to a new land in the west.

    • Just to clarify, these are the small group of Apalache/Apalachicola Indians around the mission near Tallahassee, not the main body in the mountains at the headwaters of the Chattahoochee river. If the Spanish called that woman Salome it was derogatory, like a Southern white calling a female slave Jezibel. Salome in the Christian Bible is villified because she asked Herod for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

  3. Source of reference complete map in comments
    Carte de la coste de la Floride depuis la baye de la Mobile jusqu’ aux cayes de St. Martin.


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