South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Charles Forte, Beaufort County (Address Restricted)
S1081770701901 S1081770701902 S1081770701903 S1081770701904
Ribaut Monument Moat Excavation Excavation of
Northwest Bastion
of Fort Felipe

(Santa Elena; San Felipe; San Marcos; Ribaut Monument) This site represents one of the most important historical sites in South Carolina. Here in a relatively small and fairly undisturbed and protected area are the localities of three well-dated fort sites (two Spanish of 1566 and 1577 and one French of 1562) and two town sites, one at least of considerable size and with a time span of ten years. Not only does this represent the area of first European occupation, but the only French and Spanish attempts at occupation in South Carolina. The first historically reported structure was that of the 1562 French settlement, Charles Forte, established by Jean Ribaut. It was described as being a blockhouse of logs and clay, thatched with straw, with a ditch around it and having four bastions, by a member of the French expedition, Rouffi, who was captured by the Spanish after the fort had been abandoned. In 1566 the Spanish built a fort, named San Felipe, near the location of Charles Forte. It was manned until 1576 when an Indian uprising forced the Spanish to bury the heavier cannon and leave. Again in 1577 the Spanish relocated at Parris Island about 100 feet from the old fort San Felipe. The new fort was named San Marcos. It was constructed solidly of cedar and like its predecessor was also accompanied by a town. Listed in the National Register August 7, 1974; Designated a National Historic Landmark January 3, 2001.

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