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Colonial Georgia and the Creeks

Anglo-Indian Diplomacy on the Southern Frontier, 1733–1763

John T. Juricek

Publication Year: 2010

This detailed account of interactions between the English and the Creek Indians in colonial Georgia, from the founding until 1763, describes how colonists and the Creeks negotiated with each other, especially over land issues. John Juricek's deep research reveals the clashes between the groups, their efforts to manipulate one another, and how they reached a series of unstable compromises.

European and North American Indian nations had different understandings of "national" territory. In Georgia, this led to a bitter conflict that lasted more than a decade and threatened to destroy the colony. Unlike previous accounts of James Oglethorpe's diplomacy, Juricek reveals how his serious blunders led directly to colonial Georgia's greatest crisis. In the end, an ingenious and complicated compromise arranged by Governor Henry Ellis resolved the situation, mainly in favor of the English.

After spending more than twenty years gathering and editing documentary information on the treaties, Juricek is uniquely qualified to explain the legal and practical issues involved in the acquisition of territory by the British Crown and Georgia settlers at the expense of the Creek Indians. By focusing on the land issues that structured the treaties, he tells a cross-cultural story of deal-making and deal-breaking, both public and private.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Maps

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I never expected to do detailed research on colonial Georgia, but about thirty years ago Alden Vaughan of Columbia University asked me to edit several volumes for a new documentary project he was organizing. The general idea was simple and compelling. ...

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pp. 1-15

This book deals with interaction between the English of colonial Georgia and the surrounding Indian nations—most especially the Creeks—from the founding of the colony in 1733 until 1763, the year French and Spanish rivals withdrew from the region. The main focus of the study is Anglo-Creek diplomacy. ...

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1. Carolina Prologue

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pp. 16-33

Unlike settlers in most of the earlier English colonies, those who came to Georgia never had to deal with isolation from other Englishmen. Prosperous South Carolina was just across the Savannah River, which Carolinians had long used as a commercial highway. ...

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2. Georgia Dawn

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pp. 34-63

From the first, Georgia was peculiar. Unlike the other English colonies in North America, it was originally established as a philanthropic enterprise, a refuge for the disadvantaged of England and Europe. It was also to be a place where enslavement of blacks and exploitation of Indians were prohibited. ...

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3. Staking Out the Territory

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pp. 64-94

During Oglethorpe’s long absence from Georgia, his strong hand was missed. As the cruel difficulties in the way of making the colony a success steadily became apparent, the colonists’ high hopes faded and they fell to squabbling among themselves. By mid-1735 a faction of “malcontents” was prepared to openly challenge existing authority. ...

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4. Faltering Diplomacy with the Creeks and War with Spain

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pp. 95-124

By the time Oglethorpe returned to London the Spanish government was protesting forcefully against Georgia, and evidence continued to accumulate that it was organizing for an attack on the colony. When Oglethorpe rejoined his fellow Trustees he finally gave them a straightforward account of what he had been up to south of the Altamaha. ...

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5. A Wider War and Deeper Discord

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pp. 125-153

The situation in the Southeast became more complex and more dangerous on March 25, 1744, when George II finally took the long-anticipated step of declaring war on France. The conflict between the British and the allied Bourbon powers during the next four years was for the most part fought elsewhere. ...

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6. The Bosomworth Ordeal

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pp. 154-194

In October 1748 the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the war between the European powers. As peace returned to the southern frontier, in November the British government decided upon a drastic reduction of the military establishment in Georgia and South Carolina. ...

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7. Royal Government and Imperial Crisis

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pp. 195-229

For more than a year after the Georgia Trustees surrendered their royal charter the colony drifted along on momentum, for it had no formally constituted government. In April 1753 the Board of Trade was ordered to prepare a plan for governing the orphaned colony. ...

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8. The Atkin Mission

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pp. 230-263

The resolution of the seemingly endless Creek-Bosomworth problem by Governor Henry Ellis proved to be permanent. For the next year or two, English relations with the Creeks were—or, from Ellis’s vantage point, appeared to be— satisfactory to both parties. ...

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9. The Cherokee War and Imperial Triumph

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pp. 264-304

Although Virginia was centrally involved in the onset of the Franco-British war for control of North America, most fighting occurred in the north. After numerous reverses, the capture of Louisbourg in July 1758 turned the tide in favor of the British. The fall of Quebec in September 1759 seemed to resolve the imperial conflict once and for all. ...


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pp. 305-374


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pp. 375-382


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pp. 383-397

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About the Author

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John T. Juricek is professor of history at Emory University. He is the editor of volumes 11 (Georgia Treaties, 1733–1763) and 12 (Georgia and Florida Treaties, 1763–1776) of Early American Indians Documents: Treaties and Laws (20 vols.; University Publications of America, 1979–2004). ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813045337
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813034683
Print-ISBN-10: 081303468X

Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 2 maps
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Creek Indians -- Georgia -- History -- 18th century.
  • Georgia -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
  • Creek Indians -- Government relations.
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