We all think of the true founding of America as the time after the Revolutionary War and the Constitutional Convention in the late 1700s. But before that, the country that would become the America we all know was the site of colonial battles and struggles for well over 100 years. 

One of the areas of the country that was most contested was Georgia. It was known as “The Debatable Land.” This area marked the border between the British Colonies and the Spanish Colonies. These two European powers had been fighting each other for land and power for hundreds of years.

In 1733, a British man named James Oglethorpe was allowed to turn “The Debatable Land” into the colony of Georgia. To protect this new land, in 1736, he built Fort Frederica at the bottom edge of the colony. 

The History

Canons at Fort Frederica National Monument

Before long, the fort had a thriving community and attracted colonists from all over the world. But, the good times wouldn’t last for long.

In 1742, the Spanish decided to attack Fort Frederica. It was called “The Battle of the Bloody Marsh.” The Brtish Colonists held the fort and won the battle. That meant, for once and for all, Georgia would become a British Colony, not a Spanish one. 

President Franklin Roosevelt turned Fort Frederica into a National Monument as part of his Works Progress Administration.

It’s a pretty cool story, right? And one that you likely haven’t heard about in history class. 

This is why a visit to Fort Frederica National Monument is a ‘must see’ if you’re spending time near Savannah or Jacksonville. 

Things to Do

Cannons on Fancy Bluff Creek guard Fort Frederica National

Now that you know a bit about the history of Fort Frederica National Monument how about learning more of what you can do once you’re there?

One of the biggest draws to the fort is that it’s an archeological site. Because of that, visitors can visit the on site museum and see all sorts of artifacts. These include items both from the lives of soldiers who defended the fort and also the colonists who lived in the surrounding area. 

You can also take a self-guided tour through the site. While it’s almost 300 years old, there are still large sections of the fort still standing such as part of the barracks and the magazine. 

Visitors have the opportunity to interact with park employees as well. Many will be dressed as British colonial soldiers so you can wander the area and ask them questions about the day to day life of those who lived in the mid-1700s! You can check the calendar here.

Getting There

The park is free to the public and open year round (beyond New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving) from 9 am to 5 pm. 

Fort Frederica National Monument is located on Saint Simon’s Island, just off Route 95. It’s just under 1.5 hours from both Savannah and Jacksonville. 

For any American history lover, Fort Frederica National Monument is a fascinating spot. It plays an important role in the start of America as we know it today. So, if you’re in the region, be sure to visit it!

Fort Frederica National Monument