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Georgia History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

Image: Georgia History: 8 Events That Shaped the State
Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta, State Map, Flag and Seal. (Dollarphotoclub)

By    |   Monday, 23 February 2015 11:31 PM

The history of today's Georgia is integrally tied to that of the Southern states, though like all of the United States, it was home to American Indians for more than 10,000 years before English settlers came.

Here are eight facts and interesting tidbits from Georgia’s history:

In ancient times, the varied terrain of what is now Georgia – from mountains to coastal plains – drew a number of tribes to locate in the state, according to the Georgia Encyclopedia. Significant evidence of their homes remains today, including Mississippian cultures, Cherokee and Creeks.

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2. Although Spanish explorers were in the area, they never established permanent settlements. Instead, the English in the Carolina colonies eventually moved into the area, creating a slave trade of American Indians and also a thriving deerskin trade. Eventually, the British colonized the state.

3. Georgia was the last of the 13 colonies to be founded, with settlement of Savannah occurring in 1733. "Georgia was the only colony founded and ruled by a Board of Trustees, which was based in London, England, with no governor or governing body within the colony itself for the first two decades of its existence," says the Georgia Encyclopedia. "Perhaps most striking, Georgia was the only one of the North American colonies in which slavery was explicitly banned at the outset, along with rum, lawyers, and Catholics. (Jews did not receive explicit permission from the Trustees to join the colony but were allowed to stay upon their arrival in 1733.)"

4. The little-developed colony wasn't strongly involved in the Revolutionary War. But after the Trustees lifted the slavery ban in 1751, the area developed into a plantation-based economy. "It was in Georgia that perhaps the most fateful development for the future of American slavery and the southern economy occurred in 1793, with Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin during a visit to the plantation of Catharine Greene, the widow of military leader Nathanael Greene," says the Georgia Encyclopedia, which led to the development of the "Black Belt region," an area rife with slaves and cotton plantations.

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5. Georgia seceded to join the Confederate States of America in 1861. "Georgia did not suffer direct devastation from the war until 1864 when General William Tecumseh Sherman advanced though Northern Georgia, besieged and captured Atlanta, and then pushed on to Savannah on his famous March to the Sea," according to The US50. The state lost almost 120,000 men and boys during the war, and much of its wealth was devastated.

6. The first full college for women was founded in Georgia, called the Georgia Female College. It was chartered in 1836 and opened in Macon. It is now the Wesleyan College.

7. Still, despite the move forward for women in education, Georgia was one of 10 states to vote against the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. "Even after it became federal law on August 26, 1920, Georgia women were prevented from voting until 1922. The state legislature did not officially ratify the amendment until 1970," according to History.com

8. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights leaders were in Atlanta in 1957 when they created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Seeking nonviolent equal rights, the group is still active on social issues.

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The history of today's Georgia is integrally tied to that of the Southern states, though like all of the United States, it was home to American Indians for more than 10,000 years before English settlers came.
Georgia History, Martin Luther King Jr, Atlanta, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Monday, 23 February 2015 11:31 PM
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