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low-lying chain of sandy islands off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, U.S., between the mouths of the Santee and St. Johns rivers and along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The Spaniards claimed and partly occupied the islands in 1568. By the end of the 17th century, the English had made them part of the Carolina colony. In 1717 they were granted to Sir Robert Montgomery, who included them in his Margravate of Azilia on the mainland; he termed the group Golden Islands in a promotional booklet (1720). The Battle of Bloody Marsh (1742), fought on St. Simons Island, saved the Georgia colony from the Spaniards