Oldest European Fort Found in the Appalachians

Credit: University of Michigan

Cred­it: Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan

The remains of the ear­li­est Euro­pean fort in the inte­ri­or of what is now the Unit­ed States have been dis­cov­ered by a team of archae­ol­o­gists, pro­vid­ing new insight into the start of the U.S. colo­nial era and the all-too-human rea­sons spoil­ing Span­ish dreams of gold and glory.

Span­ish Cap­tain Juan Par­do and his men built Fort San Juan in the foothills of the Appalachi­an Moun­tains in 1567, near­ly 20 years before Sir Wal­ter Raleigh’s “lost colony” at Roanoke and 40 years before the Jamestown set­tle­ment estab­lished England’s pres­ence in the region.

Fort San Juan and six oth­ers that togeth­er stretched from coastal South Car­oli­na into east­ern Ten­nessee were occu­pied for less than 18 months before theN­ative Amer­i­cans destroyed them, killing all but one of the Span­ish sol­diers who manned the gar­risons,” said Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan archae­ol­o­gist Robin Beck. More.

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