History of Georgia, United States

Archaeological remains found in Georgia show that this region was already inhabited 12,000 years ago. The Creek and Cherokee tribes were the two main indigenous groups that inhabited this state. Hernando de Soto was the first European to arrive in Georgia, during the expedition around 1540, in search of the seven cities of Cibola. Although the French Huguenots claimed this region for the king of France in 1562, the Spaniards settled in 1586 in Santa Catalina de Gaule, some islands off the coast of Savannah. The Spanish presence lasted until the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the Franciscans in their missionary expansion in the lands north of Florida, established a mission in the Sea Islands.

The colonization of Georgia by the Spaniards was hampered by the British who in 1629 declared that this region was part of the Carolina Colony. English colonists founded in 1721 a military fort on the Altamaha River which, although abandoned in 1727, became the first outpost of the defensive system against the Indians of the English colonies. In 1732, the English King George II officially created the Colony of Georgia, whose government and exploitation was assigned to James Edward Oglethorpe. After the establishment of the colony arrived in 1733, 120 farmers who settled with Oglethorpe in Savannah. Despite the opposition of the Creek Indians, more than 4,000 settlers arrived in Georgia in the years to come. The prosperity of the new settlement caused friction with Spain as the traders of this region traded with the ports of Florida and the rest of the Spanish possessions, violating the Spanish commercial monopoly. Conflicts between the Spaniards of Florida and the British of Georgia led to armed clashes.

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Georgia prospered from 1750, (especially with the James Wright government in 1760), when the British government took over direct administration of the colony, and legalized slavery, which was prohibited until 1749. Georgia specialized in rice cultivation. and cotton. Immigration allowed a continuous colonization of the inland territories, especially around the city of Augusta. This also happened, because the English troops managed to contain the constant opposition of the Indians.

Georgia was a divided territory after the Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies in 1776. In 1779, the French troops, allied with the North American patriots, failed in their attempt to take the city of Savannah, so England controlled practically the entire colony of Georgia during most of the war of independence.

In 1781, the independence troops managed to take Augusta and a year later Savannah.

Georgia was the fourth state that signed the United States Constitution in 1788. After Independence, the economy continued to progress, largely thanks to the expansion of cotton cultivation. The exploitation of cotton encouraged the massive arrival of settlers and intensified the struggles for new lands. The need for land interested the Cherokee and Sequoyah Indians who had fought for years to avoid the usurpation of their lands. Cherokees who had achieved a system of self-government after accepting the conditions and signing a treaty with the federal government in the early 19th century were expelled from their lands between 1832 and 1838. Although the Supreme Court of the United States had decided the illegality of this maneuver, the Indians were expropriated of their lands, where gold deposits were discovered. The Cherokees were then illegally transferred to reservations

Oklahoma. The other important tribe of Georgia, the Creek, were relocated a few years earlier, in 1827, to the Arkansas territories.

In 1840, construction of the railway in Georgia was completed to support cotton exports. When the Civil War broke out, the Georgians, whose production depended in part on the slave system, decided to join the Confederation. Support for the Confederation was not generalized, as farmers in the interior were not dependent on slavery. In 1863, Unionist General Sherman entered Atlanta and destroyed the city, his troops burning crops, populations and property they encountered on their march to Savannah.

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Three years after the war ended (1861-1865), Georgia was readmitted to the United States. In 1869 she was expelled again by refusing to accept the constitutional amendment to the granting of voting to all male adults, regardless of race, that is, she continued to deny the right to vote to black citizens. In 1870, the Georgia Congress agreed to abide by this amendment. The end of slavery forced it to diversify its economy. Thus, other crops proliferated, such as corn, fruit, (especially fishing), tobacco and cattle breeding. During the last decades of the 19th century, the “New South” movement supported the industrial development and urbanization of Atlanta.

The system of registering citizens on the electoral roll, and the method of election prevented most blacks from exercising this right, with the consequence that white representatives of the rural areas held power in the state.

The economic crisis that began in 1930 had severe effects in Georgia, as much of its greatest resource, cotton, was destroyed in the previous decade. The federal policy-based measures, known as the New Deal, proposed by Roosevelt, were unsuccessful in Georgia because the authorities refused to implement projects that advocated racial equality. The Second World War succeeded in revitalizing the economy of the state; since then Atlanta has become the main economic center of Georgia and the most populated and industrial city.

In the year 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, but the school and university system of Georgia did not prevent segregation until 1961. Key figure in Georgia and the United States was Martín Luther King, founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights and anti-racial discrimination organization that established its headquarters in Atlanta. In 1973 Maynard H. Jackson was elected mayor of Atlanta – the first time a black person had been elected as mayor of a large southern city.

Georgia State Flag

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