The battle for control of Amelia Island between the Spanish, French, English, and other parties throughout its history led to sporadic periods of settlement and a unique blend of cultures.
This has helped Amelia Island develop a distinctly iconic historic district. Bars with Prohibition-era aesthetics still stand. A classic Spanish influence is felt in some of Florida’s oldest buildings and in the distinct décor of the vacation rentals on Amelia Island.
Amelia Island was once a passageway into paradise for pioneers for many groups seeking a long-term stay in this vital stronghold. The Historic District, and Amelia Island as a whole is a wonderful place to explore. What are some of the most unique and dazzling facts about the island?
- Eight very separate groups have laid claim to Amelia Island at some point in history by hanging their respective flags over the island. This list includes Mexico, France, Spain, the Confederate States of America, Patriots of Amelia Island, the Green Cross, the United States and Great Britain.
- Amelia Island has a trail through its center of it that is a small part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail from Maine to Key West.
- Amelia Island is a golfing paradise. Even though it is just 13 miles in length, it is home to several different golf courses include top-rated public and private courses such as the Fernandina Beach Golf Club, Golf Club of Amelia Island, Golf Club at North Hampton, Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia River Golf Club and even miniature golf.
- Amelia Island is home to Florida’s oldest saloon, pre-dating Prohibition: the Palace Saloon. During Prohibition, it was rumored that the bar sold ice cream (with alcohol upon special request).
- Amelia Island is named after Princess Amelia, the daughter of King George II of Great Britain.
- In just 100 years, roughly from 1750 to 1850, control of Amelia Island changed hands about seven times.
- Roughly 10% of Amelia Island is protected park and preserve land.
- It is said that modern shrimping originated off the coast of Amelia Island. The original boat-builders created ships specifically designed to catch millions of shrimp in large nets. It is this fact that has led to one of the largest shrimp festivals in the country every year on Amelia Island – the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.
- It is widely speculated and supported by many historians that there is presently buried treasure off the coast of Amelia Island. Amelia Island was once a major harbor of pirates and some documents strongly suggest these claims.
- In the early 1800s, Amelia Island was seized from the Spanish by an independent insurgent group called the Patriots of Amelia Island, led by Colonel George Matthews, an act that was secretly approved by President James Madison. First, the Patriots of Amelia Island flag was raised for one day and it was immediately replaced by the U.S. flag. Soon afterward the island was yielded back to the Spanish under pressure from Congress.
Amelia Island History
Amelia Island history dates back to early Native American settlement around the year 1000. Multiple nations fought for centuries to secure a place on this passage to prosperity. It was seen as a strategic entrance into the rich lands of Florida.
Many activities today support this extensive heritage and teach both locals and visitors about the wonders and fascinating stories that surround the island.
You can experience this history directly by staying on Amelia Island any time of the year, with frequent events and historic tours always being available. Explore our many vacation rentals on Amelia Island as you plan your next trip here. Reach out to us at (800) 741-4011 to find a rental that fits all your needs.