South Carolina: A Bicentennial History

By Louis B. Wright | Go to book overview

2

Carolina for the English
—and a Few Frenchmen

LONG before Englishmen successfully laid claim to the Carolinas, both Spaniards and Frenchmen had sought their fortunes on these shores, had made settlements that did not survive, and had spilt their blood in contention for the territory.

The first effort to colonize Carolina was made by a Spanish lawyer and government official of Hispaniola (now Santo Domingo and Haiti), a certain Lucas Vásquez de Allyón, who, after sending explorers to investigate the coast, himself led an expedition in 1526 that made a settlement, probably on the Waccamaw River. But Allyón died of malaria, and, after a mutiny and a revolt of the settlement's black slaves (the first blacks introduced into the Carolinas), the remnant of his colony sailed back to Hispaniola. Allyón's efforts had one lasting result, however : his explorers had discovered Hilton Head and Saint Helena Sound, and their reports of the goodness of the land and the fine harbor kept alive Spanish interest in that region.

An Italian navigator in the employ of France, Giovanni da Verrazano, sent out to explore the new land by King Francis I, in 1524 sailed along the Carolina coast, missed Charleston harbor, anchored off the Outer Banks, and in the ship's boat entered what was probably Pamlico Sound, which he took to be

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