5 Strange (But True) Historical Facts
There's no place like Amelia Island - here's proof. Impress the locals on your next visit by knowing these five facts about the history of the island that has been known as "Mocama," "Isle de Mai," "Santa Maria," and was once predicted to become "The New York of the South."
- It is the only place in the United States to have been under eight different flags (French, Spanish, English, Patriots, Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, Confederate States of America and the United States.)
- Amelia Island was Florida's first luxury tourist destination, luring captains of industry, socialites, and dignitaries during the Gilded age of the late 19th century. You can still visit some of their stomping grounds (the Palace Saloon and the Florida House Inn.)
- Light from the Amelia Island Lighthouse, built in 1839, can be seen 16 miles out at sea.
- When Sir Gregor McGregor, a Scottish soldier of fortune who claimed Amelia Island under the Green Cross of Florida (a dominion that lasted just four months,) he and his men wore jaunty green plumes of dog fennel in their hats to repel mosquitos.
- Over a period of 200 years, the area was home to the largest concentration of pirates in America: Blackbeard, the Lafittes, Calico Jack, Anne Bonny and Luis Aury to name a few. Whether there is still treasure to be found on the island is a subject of constant debate (and a theme in many ghost stories.)