The state of Georgia is located in the southeastern part of the United States. It’s the country’s 24th-largest state and spans beautiful coastal beaches, farmland, and rugged mountains. While it boasts stunning natural landscapes, what are some interesting Georgia Colony facts most people don’t know?
Georgia is best known for being the “Peach State,” which Justin Bieber’s song Peaches references. But it’s also known as the home state of iconic Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Another fact about Georgia is that the first people to have arrived in the state were the Native American tribes of Apalachee, Cherokee, and Choctaw people. And with it being set up as a colony in 1732, the former British colony was the last of thirteen established in America.
But enough of the impromptu history lesson.
Let’s delve deeper into some interesting facts about the Georgia Colony.
17 Interesting and Fun Facts About Georgia Colony
Georgia boasts a rich and unique history. Here are some interesting and fun facts about the colony of Georgia you’ll want to know.
1. Georgia Colony Was Founded in 1732
If you’ve ever thought, “Who was the founder of Georgia Colony?” you’ve come to the right place. The 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.
2. Georgia, a U.S. State, Was Named After a King From the United Kingdom
Georgia was founded 50 years after all the other colonies and became the last colony to be established. One of the most interesting facts about Georgia is that it was named after King George II, who granted the formation of the Georgia Colony.
3. Georgia Was Managed by a Board of Trustees
This Georgia fun fact may shock you. It was the only colony to be managed by a board of trustees. James Oglethorpe’s idea was to create an asylum for people experiencing poverty and persecution.
So, 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 would profit from the settlement.
4. Georgia Was Established as a Refuge for British Outcasts
Seeing that the province was named after a British king, this is one of several interesting facts about the Georgia Colony that comes as no surprise. Oglethorpe initially founded Georgia as a felon colony for prisoners who could not afford to pay their debts upon release.
He was a social reformist who believed that British prisoners were unfairly released back into society without support.
As a result, Oglethorpe formed Georgia to give these people a second chance to build a new life. The colony also served as a refuge for Protestants who were fleeing persecution. Following this, Roman Catholics were not welcome in Georgia.
5. Georgia Served as a Protective State
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, Spain, and France. Spain had already taken control of Florida, while France controlled Louisiana, which sat on the Mississippi River.
These forces proved to be a significant threat to U.S. independence. Georgia was pivotal in protecting neighboring states like South Carolina, which were vulnerable to attacks.
Georgia also played a valuable role in Florida raids to regain control of the area.
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6. Georgia Banned Slavery
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 enslaved population out of all the 13 original colonies.
Read more: Did you know that the Civil War was fought over slavery? Check out more facts about the Civil War here.
7. Georgia Banned Alcohol
Fans of liquid courage may not consider this one of Georgia Colony’s fun facts. Along with banning slavery, the Georgia Colony was the only colony that banned alcohol in its earlier days.
This decision did not prove popular amongst the new residents, so as soon as Oglethorpe left for England, the ban on alcohol was also lifted.
8. Georgia Restricted Individual Landholdings
Since Georgia was established to benefit people experiencing poverty, 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 theirs or borrow money against it.
This was done to prevent a situation in South Carolina where there was a big gap between rich and poor.
9. Oglethorpe Traded With Indian Tribes
Oglethorpe was well aware that the Native Indian tribes had good relationships with the Spanish and that Spain had an enormous 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.
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10. Georgia Had an Abundance of Natural Resources
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 produced several natural resources to sustain itself.
These resources included timber, agricultural land, and fish. The colony’s residents also grew 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.
11. Cherokee Indians Were the First Growers of Peaches
Georgia is the third-largest producer of peaches in the United States, after the states of California and South Carolina.
Georgia has produced peaches since the mid-1700s by the land’s first settlers, the Cherokee Indians, thus earning the name “The Peach State.”
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12. Georgia Faced an Epidemic in Its Early Years
While the Georgia Colony enjoyed a warm climate which was great for agricultural purposes, the same environment made it much easier for diseases to spread.
In 1733, the province faced an epidemic of disease that wiped out 12.8% of its population. Although it’s unclear what condition claimed so many lives, it’s believed to be Influenza or Yellow Fever.
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13. Georgia Wanted to Be a Silk Colony
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, a silkworm favorite. One of the unfortunate and unfun facts about colonial Georgia is that the plan did not work out.
Not enough food was produced for the silk worms from the mulberry trees, so Georgia took advantage of its agricultural land and focused its efforts elsewhere.
14. Georgia’s Capital Has Been Changed Multiple Times
Some random facts about Atlanta, Georgia, include the fact that the capital has changed several times. Today, Georgia’s capital is the city of Atlanta. However, it was not until 1868 it became the province’s capital.
The Peach State’s capital has changed four times since the colony was established. Its other capitals were Savannah, Augusta, Louisville, and Milledgeville.
15. Georgia Banned Lawyers
If you’ve ever wondered, “What are some interesting facts about Atlanta, Georgia?” this one will raise your eyebrows. To build a radically free society, Oglethorpe banned lawyers from the colony. James 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 could plead their case and settle matters amongst themselves.
16. Georgia Was Much Larger Than It Is Today
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 had to be given up to Congress.
17. Georgia Became the Fourth American State in 1788
In 1752 Georgia became a Royal Colony of the British Empire. Three years later, James Wright dismissed the royal assembly and became the last Royal Governor of Georgia.
After a long fight for freedom, the U.S. gained independence from Britain. One of the most important facts about Georgia is that it became the fourth state to be admitted into the union under the U.S. Constitution on January 2nd, 1788.
Read more: Enjoyed these fun facts about the Georgia Colony? Soak up some more history with the Declaration of Independence facts.