Negotiating for Georgia
British-Creek Relations in the Trustee Era, 1733–1752

Julie Anne Sweet

A new look at British-Creek relations in early Georgia


"Negotiating for Georgia offers the reader a satisfying, well-written, thoroughly researched, and detailed account of the relations of Indians and colonists. The author treats Tomochichi with greater respect than he usually receives, and elevates him in importance. She also offers a different but convincing interpretation of the Indians' contribution to Oglethorpe's campaign in Spanish Florida."
—Edward J. Cashin, Augusta State University

"In this reexamination of early Georgia history, Sweet reconstructs the story of Trustee Georgia around the themes of first contact between natives and newcomers and the process of negotiation that ensued between the two cultures as Creeks and Georgians entered into collaboration and, at times, conflict."
—Kathryn E. Holland Braund, author of Deerskins and Duffels: Creek Indian Trade with Anglo-America, 1685–1815

"In revisiting Georgia's founding and its impact on intercultural relations, Sweet updates standards interpretations and provides nuanced information lacking in past treatments of the region and era. . . . As a result, Negotiating for Georgia functions as an important interpretation of the region's development based on a fusion of old and new theoretical bases. It is both a keen assessment of a locale often ignored by historians of the early southeast and a reminder of why certain traditional models of assessment obscure as much as they reveal."
Florida Historical Quarterly

"A work that has many merits . . . Sweet’s book is successful on its own terms and has much to recommend it. . . . Negotiating for Georgia is a welcomed addition to the as-of-yet relatively small corpus of literature covering the early history of a much-overlooked colony."
Journal of American History

"Recommended for historians interested in the Colonial South and for regional libraries . . . valuable to those scholars interested in the specific analytical methods of quantitative analysis and cultural negotiation."
Georgia Historical Quarterly

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The first two decades of colonial Georgia's existence—known as its Trustee era—have come down through history as a well-intentioned but failed experiment. In one largely overlooked way, contends Julie Anne Sweet, the first attempt to establish Georgia was a success. The climate of respect and cooperation sustained between the British settlers and the Native American group with whom they had the greatest contact—the Lower Creeks—strengthened the fledgling colony and helped prevent the armed conflict between Europeans and Indians that had plagued other American colonies.

As Sweet focuses on negotiations between James Oglethorpe, the English leader, and Tomochichi, the Lower Creek representative, over issues of trade, land, and military support, she also looks at other individuals and groups who played a role in British-Creek interactions during this period: British traders; missionaries, including John Wesley and George Whitefield; the Salzburgers of Ebenezer; interpreters such as Mary Musgrove; the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokees; British colonists from South Carolina; and Spanish and French forces who vied with the Georgia settlers for land, trading rights, and Indian support.

This study of conflict and compromise, dominance and accommodation, will alter previous judgments about the Georgia Trustee colony--and the role of Tomochichi and the Lower Creeks in ensuring its survival.

Page count: 280 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9

Read more about Trustee Georgia at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $46.95

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Julie Anne Sweet is an assistant professor of history at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.