Panel 02

European Superpowers in Carolina

For 200 years after Columbus reached the West Indies, Spain, France, and England competed to control the land and riches of North America. The center of this struggle was right here.

In the 1500s the Spanish explored the East Coast south of Cape Fear. They charted a large sound which they named Santa Elena. In 1526 Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón and a company of 600 people tried unsuccessfully to establish a settlement somewhere between Bulls Bay, South Carolina and Tybee Island, Georgia.

In 1562 Gaspard de Coligny hired Captain Jean Ribault to build a settlement for Protestant Huguenots hoping to escape religious persecution in France. He and his men built Charlesfort on present-day Parris Island. Two years later the Spanish destroyed Charlesfort and, under the direction of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, built the fortified town of Santa Elena. The town served as the capital of Spanish La Florida. Santa Elena was abandoned in 1584. Archaeologists found remnants of Charlesfort and Santa Elena on Parris Island.

The English established the first permanent European settlement in South Carolina. The first settlers came from Barbados and other West Indian colonies and established Charles Town on the Ashley River in 1670. They moved their settlement to the present-day Charleston in 1680. In 1684 colonial leaders sponsored the establishment of Stuart’s Town on the southern frontier near present-day Beaufort to serve as a buffer to Spanish Florida. This settlement suffered a fiery fate at the hands of the Spanish.

Beaufort History Museum
  1. Welcome!
  2. Beaufort County's First People
  3. The Yamasee Indians
  4. Altamaha Town Archaeology
  5. European Superpowers in Carolina
  6. The Greatest and Fairest Haven
  7. Beaufort's Golden Age
  8. Patriots and Loyalists
  9. Antebellum Beaufort – In Town (1782-1861)
  10. Sea Island Cotton
  11. Antebellum Beaufort – Plantations (1782-1861)
  12. Battle of Port Royal (1861)
  13. Beaufort and the Civil War (1861-1865)
  14. The African American Experience (1861-1865)
  15. Model of the New South: Postbellum Beaufort (1865-1893)
  16. Robert Smalls -- The 'King' of Beaufort
  17. The Great Depression – Riches to Rags
  18. The Early 20th Century -- Here Comes the Marines!
  19. The Early 20th Century -- Civil Rights
  20. Rise of the Sunbelt -- Charles Fraser and the Fraser Effect
  21. 21st Century Beaufort -- The 'Chambers' Vision
  22. Preserving Our History
  23. The Greatest and Fairest Haven