The Santa Elena Foundation Board of Directors welcomed Álvaro Armada Barcaiztegui to the foundation 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.
Organized by local business leaders, civic leaders, and scholars, the Santa Elena Foundation promotes the history of European arrival on the North American coast. French construction of Charlesfort on Parris Island by Jean Ribault in 1562 drew a Spanish response. 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.
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. The archive he believes should be the basis for a new museum in the Asturias region of northern Spain dedicated to historic research. Sr. Armada serves a board member for MAPFRE PRAICO Corporation and CEO of Tourist and Cultural Project Development in Madrid. He brings to the Santa Elena Foundation considerable international leadership experience and a personal connection to the history of Spanish colonization in North America.