Tuesday, October 20, 2009

St. Simons Island, Georgia

Over the last few days I've been posting about some of the historic sites on St. Simons Island. This beautiful coastal island on the Georgia coast is one of the real jewels of the Golden Isles.

Connected to Brunswick by the Torres Causeway and located about halfway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, St. Simons Island is a beautiful Southern setting noted for its ancient oak trees, historic sites and stunning waterfront.

The island was once the home of the Guale Indians who lived in the region when the first Spanish explorers arrived. The Spanish established missions in an effort to convert the Guale to Christianity and maintained control over the island for more than 100 often turbulent years.

By the early 1700s, however, the Spanish had withdrawn from the area although they still claimed Georgia as a possession of Spain. The English challenged this and during the 1730s sent Gen. James Oglethorpe to establish a colony in Georgia. Oglethorpe established Savannah and then looked south for a site to built a military settlement that would serve as a bulwark against any attack by the Spanish in Florida. He picked St. Simons Island.

The English built Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons on the island and defended it against the Spanish at the Battles of Gully Hole Creek and Bloody Marsh in 1742.

The beautifully-designed English village of Frederica flourished for a time, but eventually faded when the military garrison was disbanded. Most of the town was destroyed by fire during the 1750s and only ruins remain today at Fort Frederica National Monument.

The island remained inhabited, however, and prospered under American control during the early 19th century. Today it is considered a beautiful resort area, noted for its charming and supposedly haunted lighthouse, numerous historic sites and much more. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/stsimons.

No comments: