The state of Georgia is located in the southeastern part of the United States. Its terrain spans across beautiful coastal beaches, farmland, and rugged mountains.
It is best known for being the “Peach State” (which you may have guessed from Justin Bieber’s song Peaches) and being the home state of iconic Civil Rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Georgia is full of history and interesting facts. Keep reading to dive into 17 of the most interesting facts about Georgia Colony.
A Brief History of Georgia Colony
Today, Georgia is the 24th largest area and 8th most populous state in the U.S. But, it wasn’t always like this.
It is believed that the first people to have arrived in Georgia were the Native American tribes of Apalachee, Cherokee, and Choctaw people.
It wasn’t until 1732 that Georgia was officially established as a colony, and it became the last of the 13 colonies to be established by British colonists settling in America
17 Interesting Facts about Georgia Colony
Here are some interesting facts that you may not have known about Georgia when it was first established as a colony:
The Georgia Colony was founded in 1732 by several colonists which included philanthropist James Oglethorpe, a member of the British Parliament who served as the colony governor for 12 years.
Georgia was founded 50 years after all the other colonies, and also became the last colony to be established. It was named after King George II who granted the formation of the Georgia Colony.
Georgia was the only colony to be managed by a board of trustees. James Oglethorpe’s idea was to create an asylum for the poor and persecuted.
Thus he and twenty-one other men formed a board of trustees that managed the Georgia colony for 20 years.
This board ensured that no one was to make a profit off the settlement.
Georgia was initially founded by Oglethorpe as a felon colony for prisoners who could not afford to pay their debts upon release from prison.
Oglethorpe was a social reformist who believed that British prisoners were unfairly released back into society without any form of support.
Thus he formed Georgia to give these people a second chance to build a new life for themselves. The colony also served as a refuge for Protestants who were fleeing persecution. As a result, Roman Catholics were not welcome in Georgia.
During the American Revolution, Georgia proved to be a state of refuge not just for people looking for a new home, but also helped to protect its neighboring states.
In its early formation, the colonies faced strong opposition from Britain as well as Spain and France. Spain had already taken control of the state of Florida, while France controlled Louisiana which sat on the Mississippi River.
These forces proved to be a major threat to U.S independence. Georgia played an important role in the protection of neighboring states like South Carolina which were vulnerable to attacks.
Georgia also played a valuable role in carrying out raids in Florida to try and regain control of the area.
In its early days, Georgia Colony was the only colony in the south to ban slavery. Oglethorpe believed that Georgia should be a place where individuals could enjoy freedom from oppression.
However, when he returned to England in 1749, the ban on slavery was immediately lifted. As plantations grew, their owners needed a larger workforce, and thus became involved in the slave trade.
As a result, Georgia had the largest population of slaves out of all the 13 original colonies.
Along with banning slavery, the Georgia Colony was the only colony that banned alcohol in its earlier days.
This decision did not prove to be popular amongst the new residents, so as soon as Oglethorpe left for England, the ban on alcohol was also lifted.
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Since Georgia was established to benefit the poor, the board of trustees imposed a 500-acre limit on the size of individual landholdings.
In addition to limiting the land size, people who received land were not allowed to sell their land or borrow money against it.
This was done in an attempt to prevent a situation that occurred in South Carolina where there was a big gap between rich and poor.
Oglethorpe was well aware of the fact that the Native Indian tribes had good relationships with the Spanish and that Spain had a large influence on many of the tribes in the region.
In an attempt to protect the settlers of Georgia from attack, Oglethorpe began negotiating treaties with various Indian tribes, especially the Upper Creek tribe.
This relationship became crucial to Georgia’s start-up economy.
Parts of Georgia are situated along the Mississippi River, while other parts of the state border the Atlantic Ocean.
Thus the colony enjoyed a warm climate and was able to produce several natural resources to sustain itself.
These resources included timber, agricultural land, and fish. The residents of the colony also grew a number of crops such as vegetables, grain, fruit, cotton, and tobacco
They traded their goods to other states in exchange for items they could not produce such as shoes and farming tools.
Georgia is the third-largest producer of peaches in the United States, after the states of California and South Carolina.
Georgia has been producing peaches since the mid-1700s by the first settlers of the land, the Cherokee Indians, thus earning the name “The Peach State”.
While the Georgia Colony enjoyed a warm climate which was great for agricultural purposes, the same climate made it much easier for diseases to spread.
In 1733, Georgia faced an epidemic of disease that wiped out 12.8% of its population. Although it’s unclear what the disease was that claimed so many lives, it’s believed to be Influenza or Yellow Fever.
When the Georgia Colony was initially set up, the primary goal was to become a silk exporter. This was because Georgia is full of Mulberry Trees which are a favorite for silkworms.
That plan did not work out though, so Georgia took advantage of its agricultural land and focused its efforts elsewhere.
Today Georgia’s capital is the city of Atlanta however, it was not until 1868 it became the capital.
Georgia’s capital has changed four times since the colony was established. Its other capitals were Savannah, Augusta, Louisville, and Milledgeville.
In an attempt to build a radically free society, Oglethorpe banned lawyers from the colony.
Oglethorpe stated that Georgia was “to be free from that pest and scourge of mankind called lawyers”.
He and the rest of the trustees despised lawyers and believed that each colonist was capable of pleading their own case and settling matters amongst themselves.
When Georgia was founded in 1732, its boundaries were much larger than they are today.
Much of its original territory includes areas of the present-day states of Alabama and Mississippi. Over time most of Georgia’s territory has to be given up to Congress.
In 1752 Georgia became a Royal Colony of the British Empire. In 1775 James Wright dismissed the royal assembly and became the last Royal Governor of Georgia.
After a long fight for freedom, the U.S gained its independence from Britain and Georgia became the fourth state to be admitted into the union under the U.S Constitution on January 2nd, 1788.
Georgia is certainly a place that has a rich history. Today it is a thriving state where people from all over the world can enjoy relative freedom.
Even though it took a bit longer for James Oglethorpe’s vision to be realized, he would probably be proud of the progress of Georgia since its founding in 1732.
Keen for more interesting facts? Be sure to check out this article on Facts About the American Civil War.