For God, Glory and Gold: Early French and Spanish Conquest of South Carolina, Part 3 of 4
In October of 1577, Santa Elena was reestablished and the town was rebuilt. By 1580, it had grown to more than 40 houses. It was a time of peace and relative prosperity. In June of 1586. a large fleet of English ships gathered, and Sir Francis Drake attacked and captured St. Augustine. The Indians welcomed him and traded with him. After Drake's departure, the Spanish consolidated at St. Augustine and abandoned Santa Elena. Archaeologist Chester DePratter tells us that the archaeology alone tells the story of the abandonment of Santa Elena in 1587, that it was orderly, and the evidence of its existence existed only underground. When William Hilton entered Port Royal Sound in 1663, he visited Parris Island and thought he was viewing the remains of Charlesfort. The English settled the land around Port Royal Sound beginning in the 1680s. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was believed that Parris island was the location of Charlesfort. In the early years of the 20th century, development of Parris Island was begun, as a training facility for the Marine Corps. In 1918, excavations were done and in 1957, it was recognized that the artifacts were of Spanish origin, not French, and it was resolved that the site was actually Fort San Marcos, Santa Elena, and not Charlesfort.
This segment contains detailed information about archaeological digs of Santa Elena, now Parris Island, South Carolina. It has been concluded, after much excavation of the area, that Charlesfort washed away, as no artifacts have been found.