Dauphin Island and Mobile Bay were mapped as early as 1519 by Alonzo Pineda. In 1699, the French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne de'Iberville named it "Massacre" because of what was described as a "mountain of humen skeletons" found here, despite this, Iberville decided to locate a colony here because of the abundant timber, reliable supply of fresh water, and a great harbor. "Massacre Island" soon became the headquarters for French colonization along the Gulf Coast. The thriving settlement consisted of a fort, a chapel, government owned warehouses, and many private homes. "Massacre" seemed too ominous and in 1707, the French renamed the island in honor of the heir to the French throne: "Dauphine." During this period the island was capitol of the Louisiana Territory which equaled almost two thirds of the United States! Although the colony was able to rebuild from a pirate raid in 1711, a devastating hurricane six years later almost destroyed the fledgling settlement.