Fort Frederica National Monument

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Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument, on St. Simons Island, Georgia, preserves the archaeological remnants of a fort and town built by James Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748 to protect the southern boundary of the British colony of Georgia from Spanish raids. About 630 British troops were stationed at the fort. A town of up to 500 colonial residents had grown up outside the fort. The town was named Frederica, after Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George II. The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

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 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 retake 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. During this period, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) sponsored numerous surveys of historic areas and buildings to document and protect the resources for the future, as well as provide employment. Starting in 1947, the National Park Service and the Ft. Frederica Association, a citizens' interest group, sponsored a series of archaeological investigations at the Frederica site. Using information from 18th-century maps and journals as guides, the archaeologists excavated sections of the fort and village. By correlating the archaeological data with the historic documents and excavating remains of structures, the archaeologists have provided important insight into Frederica's past and colonial history, a complex time of international rivalries. As an historic area under the National Park Service, the National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Fort Frederica is open to the public.

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