First Mission Period 1566 - 1587
8. SANTA ELENA
Found on Parris Island, South Carolina, became the site of a Spanish settlement and fort in 1566 that housed a sizeable community and became the base of operations for the Jesuits working in the northern zone of Spanish Florida. The first fort, named San Salvador, was soon replaced by Fort San Felipe. At this time there does not appear to have been a native village on the island, and, although a Jesuit lived there for a time. Santa Elena was never a mission center in the formal sense. However, Escamacu natives, Christianized there before the Spaniards abandoned the site in 1587, survived into the early seventeenth century. In 1576 hostilities with the natives of nearby Orista and Escamacu led to the burning of the Spanish settlement and abandonment of the fort, which then was burned. In 1577 the Spaniards rebuilt the settlement and constructed a new fort named San Marcos. These were abandoned in the latter half of 1587. In recent years the site has been extensively explored archaeologically.
REFERENCES Dr. John H. Hann
"Summary Guide to Spanish Florida Missions and Vistas with Churches in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries"
© Copyright. John P. Walsh. April 21, 2002