Iberian Explorations in Eastern North America During the 1500s: A Lost Chapter in U.S. History

By Jose S. Gil and John W. Luton.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

When dealing with the history of the United States, universally used textbooks commonly begin with “The first English settlers arrived in 1607 … .” This assertion, however, seems to eliminate earlier explorations and explorers and ignore an array of facts and information that one can encounter in the “relatos” of the Spanish missionaries, while traveling throughout areas from the Labrador Peninsula to the Florida Keys, and all lands east of the Mississippi River; areas known in early Spanish writings and maps as La Grand Florida. This article will provide a deeper understanding of early European (especially Iberian) presence in what is now the eastern United States using a variety of indicators such as: a) non-English names of places and people; b) other possible evidence such as the descendants of early settlers known as the “melungeons”; c) the descendants of Spanish horses found in the islets of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina; d) the cities of San Miguel de Guadalpe, Santa Elena, San Augustín, and the Mission in Ajacán; and, e) the newly found remains of a Spanish fort, San Juan, at the foot of the Appalachian mountains. These data, and related information, are leading to a necessary re-examination and re-discovery of an exciting, more inclusive and representative chapter in the culturally varied and multifaceted sociological history of the formation of the United States.

Keywords: Iberian Explorations, Eastern US and Canada Exploration, 1500s, Spain, Portugal, Relatos, Melungeons, Ponies Outbanks NC, Santa Elena, San Miguel Guadalpe, Ajacan, San Agustin, Juan Pardo, Santa Maria Ajacan Mission, Algonquian, Ponce de Leon, Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Hernando de Soto, Panfilo de Narvaez, Cabeza de Vaca, Social Beginning in North America, Cultural History, Pluralistic Society, Multiculturalism, Cultural Pluralism

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 9, pp.51-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.218MB).

Dr. Jose S. Gil

Professor of Foreign Languages, Department of Language, Literature & Communication, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, USA

Dr. José S. Gil, a dean and administrator in higher education for more than 20 years, and a Fulbright Scholar, presently serves as professor of foreign languages and literatures at Elizabeth City State University. A native of Spain, Dr. Gil has been widely recognized for his work in international languages and linguistics. He is a specialist in Iberian languages and literatures, focusing on the creation and transmission of knowledge, both sciences and letters, during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. He is currently participating in several language projects. He helped in the development of an orthography for the Bisu of northern Thailand, and is presently working on similar projects with the Ayta Abellen (Philippines) and the Bemba (Zambia). Dr. Gil has conducted research and presented papers on the topic of early (pre-English) explorations in the Eastern US.

Dr. John W. Luton

Professor - Communication Studies, Faculty of Language, Literature and Communication, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, USA

Dr. John W. Luton is a professor of Communication Studies in the Department of Language, Literature and Communication at Elizabeth City State University, a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina. From as early as he can remember, Dr. Luton has possessed a profound interest in language, communication and culture. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Baltimore Hebrew University and St. Mary’s Seminary, respectively, Luton earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies at Regent University. His specialization is intercultural communication. Luton serves as a translation consultant for language projects in the Central African Republic.


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