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Spanish in South Carolina


State capitol at Columbia
State capitol at Columbia

Two Spanish ships from Santo Domingo, sent by magistrate Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón, explored the South Carolina coast in 1520 and returned with about 70 Native American captives. In 1526 Ayllón came himself with 500 settlers whom he landed in South Carolina or perhaps in Georgia. One of the earlier captives, Francisco Chicora, was brought along as interpreter. The settlers were beset by a host of problems, however, and the colony was abandoned within a few months. In another early colonization effort, a group of French Huguenots (members of the Protestant religion) started a short-lived settlement on Parris Island in 1562. In 1566 the Spanish returned and built a town, Santa Elena, on Parris Island. They left the state for good, however, after 1586. In 1629 King Charles I of England granted to his attorney general, Sir Robert Heath, all the land between Virginia and Spanish Florida from ocean to ocean. Heath’s plans for Carolana, as the land was called, never materialized.

So in 1663 King Charles II granted the same territory, then called Carolina, to eight noblemen, who became the lords proprietors of the province. Two years later Carolina was enlarged to include all the land between latitudes 29° north and 36°30′ north. In 1670 one proprietor, Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, organized an expedition that resulted in the founding of Charles Town (now Charleston), the first English settlement in the South Carolina region. On the west bank of the Ashley River, Charles Town was populated by settlers from England and the island of Barbados. Ten years later, Charles Town moved across the river to Oyster Point, a location better adapted for defense and trade. Settlement in Charles Town and the surrounding country was fairly brisk, and by 1700 about 5,000 settlers were living in the area. In addition to the English, most of whom were members of the Church of England, the settlers included French Huguenots, religious dissenters from New England, and a large number of black African slaves. "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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