Brunswick was founded in 1771 and named for the duchy of Brunswick-Lueneburg in Germany, the ancestral home of King George II of Great Britain. Many of the street and square names reflect the city's English heritage – Gloucester, Newcastle, Norwich, London, Halifax, and Hanover are examples. The streets and squares of the town themselves were laid out in the grid style before the American Revolution by the Royal Province of Georgia in 1771. In 1789, George Washington proclaimed Brunswick as one the five original ports of entry for the Colonies located in Glynn County south of Savannah.
Brunswick is also home to historic Glynn Academy, Georgia's second oldest public high school, founded in 1788 under the public education provisions of the Northwest Ordinances. In 1878, poet and native Georgian Sidney Lanier wrote his world-famous poem The Marshes of Glynn about the marshes in Glynn county as he sought relief from tuberculosis in Brunswick's climate. A major bridge near the marshes of Glynn is named the Sidney Lanier Bridge.