New Smyrna Beach occupies a notable place in history as the site of the largest single attempt at colonial settlement in what is now the United States. Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician and entrepreneur, obtained a grant of land from the British Crown. In 1768 he established a colony of 1,225 immigrants on the coastal plantations at New Smyrna, with a view toward the commercial production of such crops as corn, indigo, rice, hemp, and cotton. The land that the Turnbull colonists settled is located along the west bank of the Indian River, opposite one of coastal east Florida's relatively few inlets.
For some 10,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans, Native Americans inhabited the area, initially on a nomadic basis and later in more sedentary camps and villages. Until the early twentieth century, the coastline was strewn with mounds of ancient refuse that testified to the presence of the Indians. Most of the mounds were destroyed, the shell used for roads and building construction material. However, much evidence of prehistoric habitation remains hidden under ground and water within the corporate limits of New Smyrna Beach and beyond. Read Complete History