The River of Santa Lucea–Help Us to See the Light, SLR/IRL

Santa Lucea or Saint Lucy, Francesco del Cossa
The name of the St Lucie River is linked to the legend of Saint Lucy who is the saint of sight.  (Francesco del Cossa c. 1430 -c. 1477)

There are many names and many spellings and they are all related: Saint Lucie; Saint Lucy; Santa Lucea; Santa Lucia…they are related to the name of our ailing river.

If one lives in Martin County or St Lucie County one may drive over the bridges across the Saint Lucie River every day. But do we ever stop to think?

Saint Lucie….

Santa Lucia…

What’s in the name?

The legend and name of Saint Lucie–is an ancient one, one that was first given to our area by the Spanish who built a settlement whose inhabitants were famoulsy killed by the Ais Indians. These indians lived along what became known as the Indian River Lagoon of which the St Lucie River is part.

From what I have deduced, the word “Lucie” is related to the word “light.” Perhaps the Spanish named their settlement and the near river after the river the beautiful sunrises and sunsets reflecting heavenly light—the light of their creator…

Interestingly, Saint Lucy’s legend is one of which she defended and spoke up for herself and for her beliefs and was  persecuted as a Christian as many were during her day. The story goes that the judge was so angered by her that he had her eyes torn out prior to her execution, however, when she was buried her eyes miraculously reappeared.

Thus today she is the saint of sight…

What a story. What a reminder for us all.

May we see the light…

Florida Archeological Society: The location of Santa Lucia:
Florida Exploration:

Ais Indians of the Indian River Lagoon:

Saint Lucy (Santa Lucie/Santa Lucea/Saint Lucie)

9 thoughts on “The River of Santa Lucea–Help Us to See the Light, SLR/IRL

  1. Great story Jacqui. I’m anxious to share with family as we have new great niece Lucy on board named after her great great grandmother Lucy. Thanks,Wayne P.S. There was a very constructive meeting on Sat. at FIT with the Space Coast and Treasure Coast League of Cities. Discussions were held regarding the many challenges they all face from storm water, muck, septics and regulations on septics and fertilization among others. The one thing they all have in common is the need for funding from the state and feds to make improvements over the long term. There are new coalitions forming in Brevard and Volusia Counties and we are assisting them with their efforts. They are going to make a common request to state and federal candidates to support at least $50/yr for 10 years to provide sustained money to attack their problems. We ultimately hope to link all 5 counties in a united effort to save the entire IRL. Each coalition will be trying to build an online support base of thousands of voters to support the cause.

  2. Love all your columns and, in particular, this one! Thank you for enlightening is on St. Lucy and her ties to our St. Lucie River.


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  3. One thing I have noticed over the years is lies don’t stay hidden for ever. I think maby St. Lucy told the TRUTH and this upset those why lived a lie. I believe people are beginning to realize the hurt that has been done to them by a small group of liers that people have trusted to tell the truth about the lagoon.

  4. Thanks Jacqui – I’ve always wondered who St. Lucie was! The archeology paper was also fascinating.


  5. What an interesting story! I greatly enjoy your site and I look forward to each new entry. Thank you for all you do for our community and I wish you all the best in your run for commissioner!

  6. The Spanish name of Santa Lucia (divorced from any specific place location) probably derives from the short-lived Spanish fort that existed in the general area of the southern Indian River Lagoon in late 1565 to early 1566. But I agree with you that the Santa Lucia name was not applied to the mainland freshwater river now known as the St. Lucie by the Spanish. Alvaro Mexia’s 1605 recon report & map (in Rouse 1951) refers to the entire southern IRL as the River of the Santa Lucia. As with the mis-identification of Ais Inlet, the culprit is Gerard de Brahm and perhaps his underling Bernard Romans. The Anglo-Americans knew of the general existence of a Rio Santa Lucia, but beyond that the non-Spanish maps and geographies available to them were useless. Not knowing that Ais Inlet (located at the Narrows in IR County) had closed, De Brahm assigned that name to the first open inlet he found south of Cape Canaveral–called the Old Indian River Inlet by the later Americans. That left De Brahm the problem of where the Rio Santa Lucia was located. Solution: the mainland river now known as the St. Lucie.

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