This is the "Intro" page of the "Juan Pardo and the Story of Joara" guide.
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Juan Pardo and the Story of Joara   Tags: fort san juan, joara, juan pardo, native american, north carolina history, u.s. history  

Before the Lost Colony, before the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, there was Fort San Juan. If the Fort had been successful, the history of the United States, and the world, might have been vastly different.
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Before the English, before the French, the Spanish constructed the first settlements in the interior of the United States, one of which is in what is now the state of North Carolina. This settlement, known as Fort San Juan, preceded the Lost Colony by nearly 20 years, and the more successful settlement of Jamestown by 40 years. The Spanish conquistador Juan Pardo led a group of explorers to the Native American town of Joara in search of a connecting route between their silver mines in the Zacatecas and the Atlantic Coast. Ultimately, the settlement was not successful. The Native Americans had previous experience with Spanish explorers when Hernando DeSoto's party came into contact with them years before. The impression DeSoto's men left on the Native Americans was a negative one, and though they warily accepted the presence of Pardo's group, their fragile trust soon eroded. Eighteen months after the establishment of Fort San Juan the Native Americans burned it to the ground, and killed all of the Spaniards except for one, who lived to tell the tale.


The Burning of Fort San Juan

This video by the Exploring Joara Foundation takes a look at the archeological significance of the Berry Site, the location of the Native American village of Joara, and the site of Juan Pardo's fort.

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Matthew Provancha
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Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center
P.O. Box 1286
Old Fort, NC 28762

(828) 668-9259
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WFAE interview with Dr. David Moore on the Berry Site.


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