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1565 Pedro Menendez de Aviles and a large force of Spanish soldiers and colonists sailed from Spain to drive out French Huguenots who had built Fort Caroline at the mouth of the St. Johns River (site of present-day Jacksonville) and to begin Spanish colonization of the Southeast – a region then known as "La Florida."
Menendez's soldiers captured Fort Caroline and then executed the French Huguenots living behind its walls.
With the French presence removed, Menendez built St. Augustine and then directed the establishment of a chain of missions northward along Georgia's coast to Santa Elena (present-day Port Royal, South Carolina).
1721 Johann De Kalb was born in Germany. In 1777, De Kalb accompanied the Marquis de Lafayette and a group of French soldiers to America to fight the British. The Continental Congress made De Kalb a major general in the Continental Army. In 1780, DeKalb was fatally wounded in battle at Camden, South Carolina. In 1822, the Georgia General Assembly recognized the Revolutionary War hero by creating DeKalb County.
1785 Six months away from his 89th birthday, James Edward Oglethorpe lay near death in his Cranham Hall estate east of London (see June 27, 1785 entry). Just over 3 weeks earlier, he had met with U.S. Ambassador John Adams in London. Now, his condition weakened by the hour, as doctors were unable to help the aged general. Interestingly, London-area newspapers had yet to mention Oglethorpe's illness, which suggests his sickness or condition struck suddenly.
1796 U.S. Indian commissioners and Creek chiefs signed the treaty Treaty of Colerain on the St. Marys River in Camden County, Georgia. No new territory was ceded to Georgia, but the Creeks reaffirmed earlier sessions and agreed to relinquish all claims to lands east of the Appalachee River branch of the Oconee River.
1825 At the Lower Creek town of Broken Arrow just south of present-day Columbus, various factions of the Creek Nation – led by Upper Creeks – signed the Broken Arrow Resolution. This was not a treaty, as only the Creeks signed it, but in the document the Creeks forgave William McIntosh for having ceded away their land, but also called on the U.S. to return all the land ceded by the Treaty of Indian Springs.
1886 William F. Ogburn was born in Butler, Georgia. He went on to become one of the early American sociologists to use statistical analysis in social science research. He is most noted for his research on culture and social change.
1972 In a landmark case by the U.S. Supreme Court, justices in a 5-4 decision in the case of Furman v. Georgia ruled that the death penalty as then applied by the states amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The decision did not declare the death penalty per se cruel and unusual punishment but rather the arbitrariness with which it had been applied. Justice Douglas, speaking for the majority, noted that "we deal with a system of law and of justice that leaves to the uncontrolled discretion of judges or juries the determination whether defendants committing these crimes should die or be imprisoned. Under these laws no standards govern the selection of the penalty. People live or die, dependent on the whim of one man or of 12." Every justice contributed a separate concurring or dissenting opinion, making Furman v. Georgia the longest decision in the history of the Supreme Court.
1993 The new Georgia Lottery, provided for by the Georgia Lottery for Education Act of 1992 and approved by the voters in a constitutional amendment that fall, was officially launched. Then-governor Zell Miller, who had made an education lottery one of the top issues in his campaign, bought the first ticket. And, in case you wonder, he didn't win anything.
1995 The U.S. Postal Service released a set of 20 Civil War commemorative stamps. Click here for more information on the sheet of stamps.
Three of the stamps featured Georgia-related subjects: Georgia-born Cherokee Indian and Confederate general Stand Watie, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston (who commanded most of the Confederate defense during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and who later was Confederate commander for Georgia and the Carolinas), and Gen. William T. Sherman (who in 1844 as a young Army officer was stationed in Marietta for six weeks but is better remembered for his march through Georgia 20 years later).
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1741 From Frederica, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees about the continuing Spanish threat to Georgia, further arguing that the ban on slavery in Georgia be maintained:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 19909), Vol. II, pp. 586-587.
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