Santa Elena on Parris Island

By Jeannette Holland Austin

Santa Elena Monument

A Spanish settlement once occupied the Port Royal Sound near what is known today as Parris Island in Beaufort County. Interestingly, Santa Elena was the capital of Spanish Florida from 1566 to 1587. Archaeologists and historians did not realize that the site was French, not Spanish. It was first excavated in the 1850s, but without written records from S…

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