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C” is for Charlesfort

“C” is for Charlesfort. A mid-sixteenth century French outpost in Port Royal Sound, Charlesfort was the first French settlement in the present-day United States. In early 1562 Jean Ribault led two royal ships and 150 men to survey the east coast of North America and locate a site for a future French colony. Impressed by the potential of the Port Royal area for a colony, Ribault constructed a small wooden fort named for the French king. Leaving behind two dozen volunteers, he sailed for France, intending to return to Charlesfort with supplies and more settlers. However, civil war in France prevented Ribault from resupplying the outpost. Over the next fourteen months mutiny, conflict with the local Indians, and shortages of food threatened the survival of the garrison, and the decision was made to abandon Charlesfort.

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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.