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“F” is for Fort San Felipe

“F” is for Fort San Felipe. Built is 1566, Fort San Felipe was the first fort that Spaniards constructed in the town of Santa Elena on present-day Parris Island. Built on top of the abandoned French fortification (Charlesfort), Fort San Felipe was constructed from sandy soil and other local materials. It was triangular in shape with walls made of wood and earth mounded over bundles of sticks. Platforms or cavaliers, stood at each corner, and a moat surrounded it. Through repairs and improvements, the structure of the fort evolved over time. In 1571 a fire in the munitions house caused the Spaniards to move the fort to another Parris Island location. Fort San Felipe stood at this new site until 1576 when indigenous people destroyed it with flaming arrows in an attack on the Santa Elena settlement.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.