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History >> US Geography >> US State History

Georgia

State History

Native Americans

The land that is today the state of Georgia has been inhabited by people for thousands of years. When Europeans first arrived, various tribes of Native Americans lived throughout the state. The two major tribes were the Cherokee and the Creek. The Cherokee lived in the northern part of Georgia and spoke an Iroquoian language. The Creek lived in the southern portion of Georgia and spoke the Muskogean language. Both the Cherokee and the Creek were considered part of the "Five Civilized Tribes." The Seminole tribe of Florida grew largely out of the Creek peoples of Georgia.


Atlanta, Georgia at night
Atlanta, Georgia at night by Evilarry

Europeans Arrive

The first European to explore Georgia was Hernando de Soto in 1540. De Soto and his men were hunting for gold. They didn't find gold, but treated the local Indians poorly and also infected them with smallpox, killing thousands of them. The Spanish laid claim to the land, establishing missions along the coast. Eventually the priests left as they were easy prey for pirates.

The English Settle

In 1733, James Oglethorpe founded the British colony of Georgia. He led 116 colonists to the coast of Georgia and established a settlement that would later become the city of Savannah. Over the next several years, more colonists arrived and the colony of Georgia grew.

American Revolution

When the rest of the 13 British colonies rebelled against high taxes from England, Georgia joined and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. After the war, Georgia joined the newly formed republic of states and became the 4th state of the United States.

Cotton and Slavery

Cotton was in high demand throughout the world and Georgia was an excellent place to grow cotton. By the 1800s, much of the land in Georgia was used to farm cotton by large plantation owners. They bought slaves from Africa to work the fields. By 1860, there were nearly half a million slaves living in Georgia.


Stone Mountain relief sculpture
Stone Mountain by Ducksters

Civil War

When the Civil War broke out between the North and the South in 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union and became part of the Confederate States of America. Several major battles were fought in Georgia, but the most decisive was in 1864 when Union General William Shermanmarched from Atlanta to Savannah. He destroyed much of what was in his path and broke the backs of the South. The war would end less than six months later.

Rebuilding

It took Georgia many years to rebuild after the destruction of Civil War. Today, Georgia is a vibrant state with one of the world's leading cities in Atlanta. It has a population of around 10 million and a GDP of over $400 billion.


Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Park by Ducksters

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Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





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