Charlesfort-Santa Elena Site

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Charlesfort-Santa Elena Site
Charlesfort NE bastion (Parris Island, South Carolina).jpg
Charlesfort NE bastion
Nearest city Beaufort, South Carolina
Built 1562
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body MARINE CORPS
NRHP Reference # 74001822
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 7, 1974[1]
Designated NHL January 3, 2001[2]

Charlesfort-Santa Elena Site is an archeological site on Parris Island, South Carolina, which is also known as Ribault Monument, San Marcos, San Felipe, or 38BU51 and 38BU162. It is the site of two settlements dating to the time of European colonization: Charlesfort, founded by the French explorer Jean Ribault in 1562, and Santa Elena, founded by the Spanish in 1566. For some background see Timeline of the colonization of North America.

Fort Charles

Charlesfort (1562–1563)[edit]

Charlesfort (1562–1563) was established when a French expedition, organized by Huguenot leader Admiral Gaspard de Coligny and led by the Norman navigator Jean Ribault, landed at the site on the May River in February 1562, before moving north to Port Royal Sound. There, on present-day Parris Island, South Carolina, Ribault left twenty-eight men to build a settlement known as Charlesfort. Ribault then returned to France to arrange supplies for the new colony but was arrested in England after becoming involved in the period of unrest known as the French Wars of Religion, which prevented his return.

After Ribault left, much of the settlers' stores were burned, and Captain Albert de la Pierria died in a mutiny, possibly as a reaction to his heavy discipline. Without supplies or leadership, and beset by hostility from the native population, all but one of the remaining colonists sailed back to Europe after only a year. They built their own boat and set sail, without compass, across the Atlantic. During the long voyage in an open boat, they were reduced to cannibalism before the survivors were finally rescued in English waters by an English ship, and some eventually reached France.

Shortly after the colonists' departure, Hernando de Manrique de Rojas commanded a Spanish force from Cuba that destroyed the French fort, and took captive the one Frenchman who had remained with the local Native Americans in the region of the fort.

Santa Elena (1566–1587)[edit]

Founded in 1566 on the site of Charlesfort, Santa Elena was the first capital of Spanish Florida until 1587.[2]

The Charlesfort-Santa Elena site is nationally significant because it illustrates the competition for the New World. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2001.[2][3]

The SC DAH summary is here.[4] C+L

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b c "Charlesfort-Santa Elena Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  3. ^ Mark R. Barnes, Patty Henry, and Erika Martin Seibert (2000(?)). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Charlesfort-Santa Elena / 38BU51 and 38BU162" (pdf). National Park Service.  Check date values in: |date= (help) and Accompanying three photos of artifacts, from 1981, 1982, and 1997 PDF (32 KB)
  4. ^ "Charles Forte (Beaufort County)". National Register Properties in South Carolina listing. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°18′23″N 80°40′32″W / 32.30639°N 80.67556°W / 32.30639; -80.67556