The history of Georgia begins with the pre-Columbian Native Americans who called the area home for thousands of years before the rise of the Cherokee and Creek cultures and the later arrival of European explorers and settlers. The later Mississippian cultures, lasting roughly from 900 to 1500 CE, left evidence of their time in Georgia - great earthen mounds at Ocmulgee and Etowah. Hernando de Soto travelled into Georgia in 1540. Over the next few decades, the Spanish visited and charted the state’s coastal region. Eventually the English prevailed in Georgia, and by the 1730s British settlement had surged. James Oglethorpe, a British member of parliament, received the Royal Charter for Georgia on 9 June 1732. The first settlers landed on 12 February 1733, and set up camp on a site that was to become the city of Savannah. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Georgia found itself in a difficult position. The young colony relied upon the British for protection and trade. But Britain passed increasingly restrictive trade barriers, and Georgia ultimately expelled the British in 1775. The Congress adopted its first constitution on 15 April 1776, and Georgia became a state. On 2 January 1788, Georgia ratified the U.S. Constitution, the first Southern and fourth state overall to do so. During the early 1800s, the introduction of the cotton gin revolutionised Georgia and the South, and cotton production became the state’s major crop. Increasing numbers of African slaves were brought in to work the large plantations, and white settlers began pressuring the Native Americans to cede their territory. By 1819, Georgia’s western border reached the Chattahoochee River, and the state’s citizens were eager to expand into areas settled by the Creek and Cherokee nations. With the discovery of gold in the north Georgia mountains in 1828, white settlers demanded the seizure of Cherokee lands, and under the Indian Removal Act of 1830 all eastern tribes were to be sent west to live on reservations in present-day Oklahoma. By 1838, the Cherokee had been expelled from Georgia and forced west on what has come to be known as the Trail of Tears. During this time, slavery existed throughout Georgia and the southern United States, and conflict between the North and the South over slavery was one of the catalysts for the Civil War in the United States. In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy of 11 Southern states. The first major Civil War battles reached Georgia in 1863, at Chickamauga, and the Confederate victory there was one of the most significant in the conflict. In May 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman launched the Atlanta Campaign, fighting his way through the state and taking Atlanta on 2 September 1864. After burning the city, Sherman led his troops on his famous March to the Sea, laying waste to buildings and land in his path to Savannah, which he seized on 22 December. The Civil War came to an end with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia by Confederate General Robert E. Lee on 26 April 1865. After the war, Georgia suffered famine and unrest. The state’s once-impressive rail system had been destroyed, and drought plagued the state. More than 400,000 freed slaves faced an entirely new existence. Union troops occupied Georgia to enforce Reconstruction. On 15 July 1870, Georgia re-joined the Union, the last former Confederate state to be readmitted by Congress. In the early 20th century, Georgia was a largely rural society. While cities like Atlanta, Savannah, Macon and Augusta had some wealth, the state as a whole was relatively poor. With the rise of industrialisation over the next few decades, this would change. Many farm workers, both black and white, moved to the cities and contributed to the growth of numerous industries. During this period, many of the seeds of the civil rights movement were also being sown. Throughout the state, whites began to feel a loss of control, and the white political establishment responded by institutionalising segregation. Like most of the country, Georgia suffered during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Although the state’s cities were not impacted as severely, farmers were particularly hard hit, and by 1940 less than a third of Georgians were employed in agriculture. World War II further fuelled the state’s modernisation through the state’s war efforts. After the war, Georgia continued to thrive economically and social change was on the way. By the 1950s, Atlanta was becoming a major centre of the emerging civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an Atlanta native, led the nonviolent movement for equal rights. Dr. King and thousands of Georgia’s citizens, both black and white, worked to end segregation and discrimination in the state and the nation. Today the results of their tireless efforts can be seen across Georgia and the country. King’s dedication to civil rights was reflected in the commitment to human rights demonstrated by President Jimmy Carter, a former Georgia governor, during his time in the White House and beyond. Both King and Carter were honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize. Throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Georgia’s population soared and business boomed. The state hosted hundreds of international companies and saw the rise of many global enterprises such as Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, CNN, UPS and The Home Depot. Georgia’s ascent to the world stage captured international attention during Atlanta’s hosting of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. In 2012, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest in the world, opened the new Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal, which will welcome millions of world travelers for decades to come. Today, the state continues to thrive. While the history of Georgia is not without struggle, the lesson that history continues to teach is one of triumph, transcendence and ultimately understanding. 5 Ways to Explore Georgia’s History Etowah IndIan Mounds hIstorIc sItE in Cartersville, the most intact Mississippian culture site in the southeastern U.S., showcases the state’s rich Native American history. Within its 54 acres are six earthen mounds, a plaza, village site and defensive ditch. A museum showcases artefacts from this historic political and religious centre. Established in 1733, savannah was Georgia’s first city. It was also America’s first planned city. The Founder, James Oglethorpe, laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide, open streets intertwined with shady public squares and parks. Of the 24 original squares, 22 are still in existence, offering glimpses of Georgia’s colonial past. Atlanta History Centre’s Turning PoinT: The AmericAn civil War, one of the largest and most complete Civil War exhibitions in the nation, illuminates the deadly conflict from the battlefield to the home front through engaging displays, films and artefacts, including the original Confederate flag that flew over Atlanta just before the city’s surrender. thE MartIn LuthEr King Jr. NatIonaL hIstorIc sItE tells the inspiring life story of the civil rights leader. Encompassing 23 acres in downtown Atlanta, the site’s free attractions include King’s birthplace, the crypt of Dr. and Mrs. King, the reflecting pool, exhibits at Freedom Hall and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Heritage Sanctuary. cEntEnnIaL oLyMpIc parK serves as Georgia’s lasting legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The Fountain of Rings, the world’s largest interactive fountain, is the centrepiece of the 21-acre park, which plays host to concerts and festivals throughout the year. Iconic Georgia attractions, the World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium, can be found adjacent to the park.
Published by EMMIS Communications. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/article/Our+Story/1341181/150186/article.html.