Charlesfort-Santa Elena

Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492, but it was at least 20 years before Europeans began seriously exploring the coast in our region. Several Spanish explorers sailed to the area after 1514.

In 1525 Pedro de Quexos named a point of land jutting out from what is now Port Royal Sound “La Punta de Santa Elena.” In 1526, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón attempted to found a colony of about 600 people somewhere along the coast bwteen Georgia and South Carolina, named “San Miguel de Guadalpe.”

After Ayllon’s deathlater that year, and facing a lack of supplies, diseases, and conflict with local Indians, about 150 survivors returned to Hispaniola

The colonial towns on the map at the right were founded several dacades later, with Charlesfort, here on Parris Island, being the earliest of them, founded in 1562.

Charlesfort-Santa Elena

While at the Parris Island Museum visitors are welcome to explore the French and Spanish colonial sites of Charlesfort (1562-1563) and Santa Elena (1566-1587).