The Gabordy Canal, also known as the South Canal, was built by colonists brought to the New Smyrna area in 1768 by the Scottish physician, Dr. Andrew Turnbull. As part of the largest single attempt at British colonization, New Smyrna attracted more than 1,400 Minorcans, Corsicans, Greeks, and Italians who sought new opportunities as indentured servants. Turnbull, impressed by the Egyptian canal system, wanted to replicate it in New Smyrna. Three canals, including this one, ran east-west and were linked with a fourth, longer canal that ran north-south. These hand dug canals provided irrigation and drainage for rice, hemp, cotton, and indigo crops grown by the colonists, and served as a mode of transportation within the colony. Local historians believe that the Gabordy Canal was named after the Gabardis, an original colonist family who lived in the vicinity of the canal. After nine years of harsh treatment, drought, and crop failures, the population was reduced to about 600 people. A group of colonists petitioned English Governor James Grant of St. Augustine in 1777 for release from their indenture. The governor granted land north of St. Augustine to these colonists.