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Cofitachequi was a paramount chiefdom encountered by the Hernando de Soto Expedition in South Carolinamarker. They encountered the Chiefdom of Cofitachequi in April of 1540, at the Mulberry Site, a large mound at the junction of Pine Tree Creek and the Wateree River, near present-day Camdenmarker. A woman the chroniclers call the Lady of Cofitachequi was carried from the town to the river's edge on a litter that was covered with a delicate white cloth. They considered her the "chieftainness" of the villages. After spending several weeks in the village, the Spaniards took the "Lady" and headed to the next chiefdom to the northwest, Joara.

They reported the people of the chiefdom to speak a Muskogean language, although the Chiefdom of Cofitachequi is the easternmost extent of this language family. There were three levels of political power at Cofitachequi. The orata was a lesser noble, seemingly in charge a village or a few villages. The mico was a great noble who occupied one of the administrative centers of the chiefdom, presumably complete with a mound. Above these was the gran cacique, the great chief or paramount chief. Lesser officials were ynihas, or ynanaes, who were chiefs' assistants, perhaps comparable to magistrates. The yatikas were interpreters and spokesmen. The culture of Cofitachequi was a variant of Lamar culture that was broadly comparable to the people of Ocute.

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Other sites and personages encountered by the De Soto Expedition




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