National Park Service

Was Santa Elena the First Colonial City?

DiggingMost everyone is familiar with the story of how the United States began its journey into what it is today. We learn about the history of the United States in school, through our parents, grandparents and other influential people. A common known fact is that Jamestown, Virginia was American’s birthplace. But now a new place was deemed as the first colonial capital, Santa Elena located in South Carolina.

Since realizing this piece of history, archaeologists are now resuming digs properly to uncover what was ultimately forgotten. The site where the archaeologists are interested in is within the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island. Tourists are also attracted to this area when they visit South Carolina.

This discovery is going one step further. According to a news source, The National Park Service “plans to release a curriculum this fall on Santa Elena for middle and high school teachers. Spain has offered to provide software, documents and other artifacts to help tell the town’s story, as part of an agreement the U.S. signed with Spain last year on the initiative.”

Also, Santa Elena was named a National Historic Landmark in 2001. Despite this, the history books give an interesting timeline of the beginning for the United States. The history books talk about Christopher Columbus, to the 1607 to Jamestown and to the landing in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.

The Santa Elena Foundation is a non-profit organization that was created in 2013 and hopes to open up a temporary center in 2014, with a permanent center in 2016. The Marine Corps expectations before the center opens that the artifacts found be collected, re-packaged and re-cataloged.