Georgia might have become a Spanish colony had it not been for the Battle of Bloody Marsh, fought on this day in 1742.
The battle on St. Simon’s Island was part of a global clash of arms between two empires: England and Spain. The two nations were at odds over pirateering on the high seas and over borders in North America. General James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founder, led a body of Georgia troops into Spanish Florida in 1740 and unsuccessfully attacked St. Augustine.
The Spanish retaliated two years later when St. Augustine’s governor led 5,000 soldiers on an invasion of Britain’s youngest North American colony. Oglethorpe dug in with less than a thousand men on a high bluff on St. Simon’s overlooking the Frederica River. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Oglethorpe’s men repelled two Spanish attacks with minimal casualties.
The last major Spanish offensive in Georgia ended in defeat and preserved Georgia as a British colony on July 7, 1742, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.