Trail of Highways™
St. Simons Island, Georgia
Georgia’s fate was decided in 1742 when Spanish and British forces clashed on St. Simons Island. Fort Frederica’s troops defeated the Spanish, ensuring Georgia’s future as a British colony. Today, the archeological remnants of Frederica are protected by the National Park Service.
In the early 18th century, Europeans called the land lying between British South Carolina and Spanish Florida the “Debatable Land”. Today’s state of Georgia was then the center of a centuries-old imperial conflict between Spain and Britain. After the philanthropist James Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia in 1733, to provide a place where poor debtors could settle, colonists from England and Scotland, and refugees from the German Electorate of the Palatinate built Fort Frederica in 1736 to defend their new territory. They named Frederica for Frederick, Prince of Wales, (1707–1751). The name was feminized to distinguish it from Fort Frederick in South Carolina.
In the 1742 battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek, forces under Oglethorpe successfully repulsed Spanish attempts to invade St. Simons Island. Afterward the Spanish no longer threatened the colony; in 1749 the government disbanded the garrison at Frederica. Soon the village fell into economic decline, and by 1755 it was mostly abandoned. The town survived a fire in 1758, but after a few more years, it was abandoned.
Fort Frederica was documented and authorized as a National Monument on May 26, 1936, under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression
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