Georgia Historical People and Events
Georgia has played a major role throughout America's history. February 12, 2013 marks 280 years since General James Oglethorpe and his shipload of settlers reached their new home and founded the colony of Georgia. The last of the 13 British colonies on the Atlantic seaboard, Georgia was founded on February 12, 1733 at the present site of the city of Savannah.
With the arrival of more colonists, settlements developed along the coast and up the rivers. In 1758 the province of Georgia was divided into eight parishes, with four new parishes added in 1765. Georgia suffered both a loss of population and considerable physical destruction because of the Revolutionary War. The desire for land, and later gold, created a swift expansion beyond the old frontier, carrying with it increased trade along rivers and migration of people along new roads into the wilderness. The primary basis for this new growth and economic expansion was the production of cotton through a slave labor system.
Georgia formally joined the Confederate States of America. Georgia did not suffer direct devastation from the Civil 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. During the war years, Georgia lost nearly 120,000 men and boys in battle as well as much of the state's material wealth. The rebuilding of the state afterwards was a slow and painful process.
Although the state suffered along with the rest of the nation during the Great Depression, Georgia was able to achieve slow economic progress during the early years of the 20th century. Following World War II, the pace of industrial growth became more apparent.
As a result of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., black voters, who after the reconstruction era were excluded from effective participation in state politics, assumed an active role in the political life of the state. Then in January, 1977, Georgia sent its first President to the White House, Jimmy Carter of Plains, a former Georgia governor.
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