Lesson Plan

Frederica: An 18th-Century Planned Community

Fort Frederica

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.3, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.5, 6-8.RH.6, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.8, 6-8.RH.9, 6-8.RH.10, 9-10.RH.1, 9-10.RH.2, 9-10.RH.3, 9-10.RH.4, 9-10.RH.5, 9-10.RH.6, 9-10.RH.7, 9-10.RH.8, 9-10.RH.9, 9-10.RH.10
Additional Standards:
US History Era 2 Standard 1A: The student understands how diverse immigrants affected the formation of European colonies.
Curriculum Standards for Social Studies from the National Council for the Social Studies
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

What challenges faced 18th century British colonizers?


1. To explain Great Britain's and Spain's struggle to control the land between South Carolina and Florida;
2. To describe the military activity between Georgia's colonists and Spanish forces of Florida;
3. To relate why Frederica and Fort Frederica were established;
4. To consider what daily life was like for people living in Frederica;
5. To debate preserving ruins of historic sites verses reconstructing them;
6. To compare Frederica to their own community and 20th century planned community.


Time Period: Colonial/Revolutionary
Topics: The lesson can be used in American history units on colonization, in geography courses, and in social studies courses dealing with demography and planned communities.


On the serene, isolated west shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia, the ruins of a once-flourishing 18th-century settlement stand. A powder magazine overlooks Frederica River, a reminder of the fort that protected the British colonies against the Spanish during the early 18th-century struggle for control of the southern frontier of English occupation in the New World. The excavated foundations of various structures remind visitors that from 1736 until 1758, the planned community of Frederica served the military garrison quartered there and housed a population of up to 1,000.

Strolling along the now-abandoned streets, it is easy to imagine laughing children playing under the shade of the live oaks festooned with gray Spanish moss. The gentle coastal breezes brushing by Broad Street recall a time when the air was filled with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread being taken from the public ovens. Other smells and sounds are easy to evoke: the acrid odor of smoke rising from summer fires built both inside and outside the houses to ward off menacing insects, the bang of shutters as merchants open their shops for the morning business, and the quiet rustling of women’s skirts as they perform their everyday housekeeping chores.

In 1736 a group of British colonists led by Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, a member of the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, arrived at St. Simons Island. The colony that was organized and administered by the trustees offered hope to the unemployed in Great Britain and freedom for persecuted Protestant immigrants in Germany. As a planned community, only those people with needed skills and crafts were chosen as Frederica’s first colonists. In their pursuit of opportunities in a new land, these colonists met and overcame great challenges in an unfamiliar and difficult environment, and they endured the continuing conflict between Spain and Great Britain.

Lesson Hook/Preview

The impetus for the establishment of the colony of Georgia was twofold. First, both Britain and Spain claimed the land between St. Augustine, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina. Spain frequently threatened to seize the British city of Charleston. By establishing a new colony south of the city, the British hoped to put an end to those threats and secure their claim to the region. Second, during the first decades of the 18th century, Britain was overpopulated and reeling from a depression that left many of its people out of work, destitute, and, in some cases, imprisoned for debt. The new colony, an experiment in idealism, would provide an opportunity for some of those unfortunates to emigrate to America. There they would be granted their own land in exchange for agreeing to live by the rules and regulations developed for the colony of Georgia by its trustees. Hard liquor, slavery, and unlicensed trading with Indians were all prohibited. Furthermore, settlers had to agree to guard against the enemy and employ their assigned crafts.

Parliament chartered the colony in 1732 and King George II granted the trustees, under the leadership of Lord Percival, the Earl of Egmont, all the land between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers. In 1733 Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, a trustee and Member of Parliament, first arrived in Georgia with the intention of both halting Spanish encroachments northward and creating an ideal colony that would offer a new start for some of London’s deserving poor.

The ruins of Frederica, preserved as Fort Frederica National Monument, remind us of the grim struggle for empire between Britain and Spain in the southeast over two centuries ago. Although both nations claimed the land between South Carolina and Florida, Spain was a waning power in that region while Britain was busily building a vast empire stretching from Maine to Carolina.


Getting Started Prompt
Map: Orients the students and encourages them to think about how place affects culture and society
Readings: Primary and secondary source readings provide content and spark critical analysis.
Visual Evidence: Students critique and analyze visual evidence to tackle questions and support their own theories about the subject.
Optional post-lesson activities: If time allows, these will deepen your students' engagement with the topics and themes introduced in the lesson, and to help them develop essential skills.



Additional Resources

Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument is a unit of the National Park System. The park' web pages include visitor information, a brief history of what happened at Frederica, and activities to learn what it was like for children of all ages during colonial times.

National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary:
Along the Georgia-Florida Coast

The National Register of Historic Places' on-line travel itinerary, Along the Georgia-Florida Coast explores the history of the Georgia and Florida coastline. Included on the itinerary is further information on Fort Frederica National Monument, and a history of colonial Georgia and Florida.

Library of Congress: Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)/ Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Collection
Search the HABS/HAER collection for detailed drawings, pictures, and documentation from their survey of Fort Frederica. HABS/HAER is a division of the National Park Service.

The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School
Charter of Georgia: 1732

The Avalon Project is a collection of digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. Included in their pre-18th-century collection is the Charter of Georgia. This document provides a better understanding of how and why Georgia became a colony.

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Last updated: October 12, 2018