Shaping the Altamaha River: A Spatial History of Saint Simons Island at Two Scales

Author: ORCID icon
Humes, Alexander, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Edelson, Scott, Department of History, University of Virginia

This essay explores the British and Spanish perceptions of Saint Simons Island through the story of Fort Frederica from 1736 to 1748. I argue that the British perceived the fort as a tool to occupy a territory they rightfully could claim through the rights of discovery, treaty, and occupation. The British also saw the fortification as tool of permanent occupation by settlers. In contrast, the Spanish believed any British claims to Georgia and Saint Simons Island were illegitimate due to previous treaties that ended British territory around the Savannah River. While the British used settlers to physically occupy territory, the Spanish relied on allied Native Americans to hold land the Spanish claimed. I also explore what pieces of terrain European nations considered appropriate locations for a fort, such as the mouth of the Altamaha River in Fort Frederica’s case.

MA (Master of Arts)
Fortification, Sovereignty , War of Jenkin's Ear, Saint Simons Island, Colonial Georgia, Altamaha
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