santa-elena-Andy-BeallReaders who followed our long-running series “Where America REALLY Began” will be interested in these recent developments.

Organized by local business leaders, civic leaders, and scholars, the Santa Elena Foundation has been formed to promote the history of European arrival on the North American coast.

Readers will remember from our series that Spanish settlers established the community of Santa Elena in 1569, the first colonial capital in America. The story of European rivals struggling for dominance in North America involved French, Spanish, and English explorers and their interactions with nations of Native American peoples. The Santa Elena Foundation is dedicated to sharing the little known history of this “lost century” through archaeological research, a cultural interpretive center, and a living history museum.

The foundation’s Board of Directors has named Andrew J. Beall (above) as its executive director. He brings to this role extensive executive experience as a global corporate leader. Beall’s 30 years in the industrial equipment industry included responsibility for facilities in numerous countries. Living and working internationally, he led teams that established service and manufacturing operations to serve global customers. Beall received his doctorate in business administration from the School of Advanced Studies at University of Phoenix. Since settling in the Lowcountry in 2010, he has volunteered his time with a number of community organizations.

santa-elena-AlvaroThe foundation has also welcomed Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui (left) to its board. Sr. Armada is a direct descendent of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the 16th Century Adelantado Mayor of La Florida (governor general) and founder of Santa Elena. Sr. Armada is the Count of Güemes and is to be named the IX Count of Revilla-Gigedo and XX Adelantado Mayor of La Florida by His Majesty Felipe VI, King of Spain. Sr. Armada dedicates his time to the promotion of 500 years of distinguished family history and public service. The Count is curator of a private archive of original documents, one of the most important private collections in Spain. He brings to the Santa Elena Foundation considerable international leadership experience and a personal connection to the history of Spanish colonization in North America.

According to Executive Director Beall, Sr. Armada’s joining the board is a very important development. “The Count provides a personal connection between the Foundation and the founder of Santa Elena 450 years ago,” says Beall. “Moreover, Sr. Armada is an energetic and active participant as a member of the Board of Directors. Sr. Armada provides the Foundation with access to Spain-based resources beginning with his private archive, the National Library of Spain, and the Archives of the Indies in Seville.”