Local author and historian Buddy Sullivan kicked off the Richmond Hill Historical Society’s 2012 lecture series Thursday evening at the Richmond Hill Museum with a talk on “Spanish Settlements in Coastal Georgia from 1526 to 1742.”
Sullivan, who has published 14 books on subjects related to Georgia history, traced the activity of Spanish settlers in Coastal Georgia and examined artifacts left in their wake.
According to Sullivan, more than 500 Spanish settlers led by explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón settled in Coastal Georgia, on or near Sapelo Island, 200 years prior to the arrival of British colonists.
“Ayllón showed up in 1526,” he told the crowd of nearly 50. “That’s 34 years after Columbus, 39 years before St. Augustine, 81 years before Jamestown and 207 years before the landing of Oglethorpe. And yet, most people know nothing of the Spanish living in Georgia.”
Ayllón’s settlers did not fare well in this state, however. Due to hunger, disease and the inability to adapt to their new surroundings, the majority of the settlers died within months of arriving. Those who survived fled to Hispaniola, the island containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Historians and archeologists have not yet discovered the location of the settlement.
Read more in the Jan. 14 edition of the News.