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James Moore’s Raid on Amelia Island

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James Moore’s Raid on Amelia IslandBy Joshua Whitfield

In 1702 James Moore, the governor of Carolina, organized an assault on Amelia Island and the east coast of Spanish Florida. He embarked from Port Royal in November, striking at mission towns along the coast en route to Saint Augustine. On November 4, 1702, he burned Amelia Island’s missions to the ground and scattered the Indians living on the island. 

In order to get a sense of the events leading up to James Moore’s raid, we need to take a quick look at what was happening along the Georgia coast. By the turn of the eighteenth century, Amelia Island was the rearguard of a fifty-year Spanish retreat from the Georgia coast and was home to three mission towns, which were made up of the remnants of Spanish-allied Indian villages that once occupied the land between the Savannah River and Saint Mary’s River. 

Spanish mission towns served multiple purposes: they converted Indians to the Catholic Church; helped organize the Spanish labor dra…