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The New Smyrnea Colony

During the third quarter of the 18th century, what is now southeastern Volusia County was the site of one of the most ambitious attempts by the British to colonize the New World. It was here, in 1768, that Scottish physician Dr. Andrew Turnbull and 1,255 colonists founded what eventually became the present-day city of New Smyrna Beach.

In terms of sheer numbers of colonists, the New Smyrnea Colony rivaled the original Jamestown colony, established more than 150 years earlier in Virginia. It was certainly one of the grandest agricultural enterprises undertaken during the British occupation of east Florida. But the New Smyrnea Colony also is noteworthy for the magnitude of its failure, abandoned as it was after only nine years.

Until recently, interest in Turnbull's colony resided primarily with historians and a handful of dedicated vocational archaeologists. But recent research has changed all that. Through surveys and excavation, archaeologists have begun to systematically piece together the remains of 18th century New Smyrna Beach.

 

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