Celebrate Santa Elena with correct information

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 20, 2014 

While I commend the effort to memorialize the founding of the settlement of Santa Elena on Parris Island, we should begin with the correct dates. One of the founders of the Santa Elena Foundation was quoted in your article as saying, "The key thing about Santa Elena was that it was founded in 1676 ... before Jamestown and Plymouth Rock."

We should begin our efforts with the correct dates of the settlements. My sources date Charlesfort to 1562; Jamestown, 1607; Plymouth, 1620; and, according to Chester B. DePratter in his book, "Archeology at Santa Elena":

"Between 1566 and 1587 the Spanish town of Santa Elena was the most northern of the several outposts established by Pedro Menendez to defend Spanish Florida against encroachment by the French and English. For a brief period after it was first settled, Santa Elena served as Menendez's capital and its population ranged from a few dozen to several hundred over the next two decades. Bad relations with local Indians and Sir Francis Drake's sack of St. Augustine in 1586 led to the abandonment of Santa Elena in 1587."

It might be noted that Charlesfort's ruins and Santa Elena's ruins have been located by Stanley South and Chester DePratter, both on Parris Island.

Henry C. Chambers

Beaufort

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