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Early History

Located in Southeast Georgia, Charlton County was established by the Georgia Legislature in 1854.  In earlier times, Charlton County and the Okefenokee Swamp were the home of the Timuquan, Oconi, Seminole and Cherokee-Creek Indians.  Settlements in and around the great swamp date back to c. 500 BCE.


In the 1620s and 1630s, Spanish priests established missions in some of the Oconi villages. Mission San Lorenzo de Ibihica was located on the eastern edge of the swamp, near Kingfisher Landing. Mission San Diego de Ocone was located on Floyd's Island.  (See Indians History and Pre-History)


This region became part of the disputed territory between France and Britain in the Seven Years' War (aka the French and Indian War). With the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the land was included in the British territory bounded on the south by the St. Marys River. The Okefenokee Swamp contains the headwaters of both the Suwannee River and the St. Marys River. In the 1750s, a trading post on the banks of the St. Marys became the first official settlement of European colonists in what is now Charlton County. A small fort  ("Fort Alert") was built there, and was staffed with United States soldiers to protect the settlers from being attacked by Indians and marauding gangs of thugs. Later, the outpost became known as Traders Hill, and with the official establishment of Charlton County in 1854, it became the first county seat.

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