Our Georgia History

Christian Priber
March 21, 1697 Christian Gottlieb Priber born, Zittau, Germany
  Christian Priber
June 13, 1735 Oglethorpe and the Trustees discuss Christian Priber's request to embark to Georgia. Since nothing is noted, it was probably approved.
  Christian Priber
February 27, 1736 Christian Priber petitions the South Carolina government for a "warrant of survey" (land)
  Christian Priber
April 21, 1743 Oglethorpe writes the Trustees and describes Christian Priber as an "odd kind of man" who proposed to establish the "Kingdom of Paradise" in the Cherokee Nation. Since Oglethorpe suspected him of consorting with the French and possibly the Spanish, he threw Priber in jail.
  Christian Priber

One of the early Utopian attempts was that of German Christian Priber. His "Kingdom of Paradise" or simply "Paradise" was to comprised of Cherokee Indians, although anybody, even the Creeks and Catabaws could join. Women could "marry" a different man every day and children would be heirs of the state.

Priber's proposals caused great concern to the officials in Georgia and the Carolinas. What concerned them most was that he was willing to allow the French and black slaves to live freely in Paradise. Oglethorpe believed he had already been in contact with Spanish.

Priber wanted the town of Coosawattee to be the capital of his kingdom, because it was situated in "better land." When Priber referred to the town in a conversion with a reporter who signed his work Americus, he claimed that Coosawattee had historically been in Cherokee hands. At the time, the town was held by the Creek. The town name is sometimes misreported as Cusseta, war capitol of the Creek Nation.

Priber taught the Cherokee how to trade with the English, something that led to his downfall. English traders were constantly shortchanging the Cherokee and other tribes. As early as 1739 Charleston offered 402 Pounds to Colonel Joseph Fox to find Priber among the Cherokee and return him to the city. The reward was to be paid by the English Board of Trade.

Priber was captured by Captain Kent, who was in charge of Fort Augusta. When he was transferred to Oglethorpe in Frederica, Priber had a Cherokee dictionary written "...in his own hand." Based on the description, James Mooney considered the work the first known and most extensive documentation of the Cherokee culture. Priber was fluent in Cherokee, Creek, and possibly other Indian languages, but may have only known variations of the "trading language." According to Oglethorpe he spoke fluent German, French and Latin, but broken English.

It is not known what happened to the work, but was reported missing at the time of Priber's death in 1744. There is no evidence that Priber was a Jesuit priest.

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