Three years after St. Augustine was founded, Alvara de Mendana, nephew of the governor of Peru, set out with two ships and 150 soldiers and sailed west to find gold and a new trade route to China.
Mendana’s 1568 voyage found nothing, so he returned to Peru.
But a relentless lust for gold pushed the Spanish to dispatch more colonizing fleets. And one founded a colony somewhere in the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia.
No one knows its exact location or why the colony disappeared, but Martin Gibbs of the University of Sydney’s Department of Archaeology has done extensive research and thinks he has a few clues. He came to St. Augustine last week to look for some clues in possible similar objects.