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Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón (c. 1475, probably Toledo, Spainmarker18 October,1526, a Spanish explorer, established in 1526 the short-lived San Miguel de Gualdape colony, the first in the present-day U.S.

A licentiate and sugar planter on Hispaniolamarker, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón commanded six vessels with 600 colonists, supplies and livestock, sailing from Santo Domingomarker in mid-July, 1526. The large 1526 colonizing group landed in Winyah Baymarker, near present day Georgetown, South Carolinamarker, on September 29, 1526 (the Feast of Archangels).

They looked for an area suitable for colonization approximately 15 km north, near Pawleys Islandmarker. They found the area unsuitable, and Ayllón decided to move further south. Some accounts say that some settlers took an overland voyage, while others left on a new boat built at the temporary settlement. If true, this would probably be the earliest example of European-style boatbuilding in what is now the United States. Heading southward, likely by both land and sea, the group reunited and established on October 8, 1526 the short-lived colony of "San Miguel de Guadalpe", probably at or near present-day Georgiamarker's Sapelo Sound.

Ayllón was a member of the Real Audiencia in Santo Domingomarker. De Ayllón had received from Charles V in 1523 a grant for the land explored in 1521 by Francisco Gordillo and slave trader Captain Pedro de Quejo (de Quexo). On the 1521 expedition, Gordillo and de Quejo had kidnapped about 70 natives, including Francisco de Chicora, who survived, learned Spanish in Hispaniolamarker, and provided essential ethnographic data about his homeland, Chicora. In 1525 de Ayllón again sent de Quejo northward and received reports of the coastline from as far north as the Delaware Baymarker. The employment of African slaves in the 1526 colony is perhaps the first instance of African slave-labour within the present territory of the United Statesmarker. Ayllon died in the colony in 1526, purportedly in the arms of a Dominican friar.

Ayllón's rough-hewn town withstood only about a total of three months, enduring a scarcity of supplies, hunger, disease, and troubles with the local natives. Of the colony of 600 people he had brought with him, only 150 survivors made their way back to Hispaniola that winter. Most scholars consider attempts to locate the San Miguel settlement (Tierra de Ayllón) any farther north, even as far north as the Chesapeake Bay to be unsubstantiated conjecture.

De Ayllón and his settlers lost one of their ships near the mouth of Winyah Baymarker. There are efforts underway by state archaeologists to locate the site of the wreck. De Ayllón's colony was the first European colony in what is now the United States, preceding Jamestown, Virginia by 81 years, and St. Augustine, Floridamarker (the first successful colony) by 39 years.


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