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The Greatest and Fairest Haven

In 1562, the French challenged Spain’s claim to La Florida by sending Captain Jean Ribault to build a settlement near the Spanish shipping lanes. Ribault landed near present-day Jacksonville then sailed north where he entered a large harbor which he named Port Royal because it was “one of the greatest and fairest havens of the world.” Ribault left men to build Charlesfort on present-day Parris Island while he returned to France for supplies. When war in Europe delayed Ribault’s return, his starving men built a boat and set sail on a harrowing voyage back to France. Charlesfort fell into disrepair and disappeared.

In 1564, the French built Fort La Caroline near Jacksonville. Jean Ribault and his men arrived in 1565 with the Spanish hot on their heels. The Spanish destroyed the fort and killed Ribault and his men ending French efforts to colonize the southeast coast.

In 1995, archaeologists Dr. Stanley South and Dr. Chester DePratter found remnants of Charlesfort under Spanish Fort San Felipe.

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