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Florida's First Encounters: Lucas Vazquez de Allyón

To date, archaeologists have not found the lost Allyón colony or his shipwreck

The lure of unfound gold, silver, and a large submissive population in La Florida was irresistible. Shortly after Ponce de Léon’s failure in Charlotte Harbor in 1521, the Spanish tried again. This time in “north Florida.”

While de Léon was trying to colonize the southern part of the territory, Spanish conquistador Lucas Vazquez de Allyón was exploring the coasts of what is now North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay looking for Indians to capture for laborers in the Caribbean. One of the captives told of a nearby rich land named Chicora with peaceful people who had pearls, deer herds, and fruit orchards. Allyón soon got permission to colonize this area.

In 1526, about 600 colonists and their livestock arrived on the South Carolina coast at Winyah Bay in what was then “northern” Florida. But their supply ship sunk and they soon moved south to Sapelo Sound in present-day Georgia and started the second Spanish settlement in North America. But it soon failed and the survivors sailed back to the Spanish Caribbean.

To date, archaeologists have not found the lost Allyón colony or his shipwreck.

Unearthing Florida is a project of WUWF Public Media, the Florida Public Archaeology Network(FPAN), and its founder, Dr. Judith Bense, since 1998. FPAN's Michael Thomin is a contributor to the program. WUWF's Sandra Averhart is executive producer.

Dr. Judy Bense is President Emeritus and Professor of Anthropology/Archaeology at UWF.