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Today in Georgia History
is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.

September 29

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Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon

September 29, 1526 - McIntosh County

Long before Plymouth, or Jamestown or even St. Augustine, there was another settlement in North American: the very first European attempt to establish a permanent colony on the mainland since the Vikings 500 years earlier. 

Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon and 600 Spanish colonists landed on Georgia's coast on this day in 1526, over 200 years before Oglethorpe founded the Georgia Colony.  It also represents another historic moment: the first time enslaved Africans set foot on what is now the United States.

Ayllon established San Miguel de Gualdape on Sapelo Sound in present–day McIntosh County. He sailed north from Hispaniola during the summer and first landed in present–day South Carolina. Meeting no natives, he traveled south along the coast before settling in Georgia. 

To help establish the colony, Ayllon brought with him the very first group of slaves.  But hunger, disease, and conflict with the natives all took their toll, and the settlement survived for only three months. Had this settlement endured, Georgia's history might have been very different because of the Spanish presence established on September 29, 1526, Today in Georgia History.

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Fast Fact

Out of the 600 would-be colonists that landed with Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, only 150 returned to Hispaniola.