After Sir Francis Drake attacked St. Augustine in 1586, the
Spanish thought it prudent to consolidate their forces and they
abandoned Santa Elena to withdraw to more secure locations to
the south. Although the Spanish had been compelled to remove
their main forces southward, they continued to view South Carolina
as part of their territory and attempted to defend it as their
own as best they could.
Toward this end, Captain Francisco Fernandez de Eçija
was dispatched from St. Augustine in 1605 and again in 1609 to
search for an English colony that was said to be located somewhere
along the coast of the Carolinas, but failed in both instances
to find any evidence of an English presence.