Lucas Vasquez de Allyon

c. 1475-1526

Lucas Vasquez de Allyon emigrated in 1502 to Santo Domingo, where he became a judge. In 1521, de Allyon sent Captain Francisco Gordillo to explore northward from Hispaniola. Along the way, Captain Gordillo met up with Pedro de Quejo, a Spanish "slaver," and the two of them are the first known Spaniards to sail along the Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia coasts. Many rivers, bays, capes, and other geographical features were named by Captain Gordillo during this exploration, which was farily well-documented with sketches and maps that served the map-makers well in the 1500s.

De Allyon secured title and permission to colonize this newly discovered land. In July of 1526, he sailed with three ships and about 600 settlers, landing at what is presently known as Georgetown, South Carolina on the Winyah Bay and started the first colony in the Carolinas, which he named San Miguel de Guadalupe. While erecting this settlement, de Allyon and some of his men began exploring the interior of their new homeland, mostly in and around what is now known as Georgetown County and closely surrounding areas. Francisco Chicora went along on this expedition but soon deserted the Spanish to return to his family.

One expedition was sent up the Santee River, deep into Indian territory. There is no contemporary accounts of this expedition, however, when Hernando de Soto and his large group of explorers arrived in South Carolina in the 1540s, they met with Indians way up the Santee River who showed them the burial plots of earlier Spanish explorers as well as "trinkets" that were typical of earlier Spanish expeditions. The only logical answer to this is that de Allyon's expedition made it well up the Santee River in 1526.

Fever and other hardships plagued the settlers, and when de Allyon died of fever in 1526, very shortly after arriving, the survivors (less than 150 of the original 600) went back Santo Domingo in November of 1526, never to return to the area.

A celebrated judge of San Domingo, Lucas Vasquez de Allyon, obtained from the King of Spain a patent authorizing him to make settlements on the mainland and to Christianize the American natives.

Accordingly, with 600 men, women and children, horses and supplies, he sailed from Puerto de la Plata, San Domingo, in three small vessels in June of 1526. Accompanying the expedition were the Fathers Antonio de Montesinos, Antonio de Cervantes, and Brother Peter de Estrada, all members of the religious order of St. Dominic. It may be noted here that Father Montesinos had acquired much celebrity, both on account of his eloquence and because of indomitable warfare against the traffic in slaves. He was the first to denounce slavery publicly in the new world, which he did in 1511, one year after his arrival in San Domingo, then called Hispaniola. He declared the enslavement of the Indians to be sinful and a disgrace to civilization, for which he was arrested and taken to Spain for trial. There did he so earnestly defend his attitude that the King took immediate steps toward ameliorating the conditions of the oppressed Indians within his realm. 


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