State abbreviation/Postal Code: Ga./GA
Entered Union (Rank): Jan. 2, 1788 (4)
Present Constitution Adopted: 1983
Mottoes: Wisdom, justice, and moderation
Nickname: Peach State, Empire State of the South
Origin of Name: In honor of George II of England
- Flower: Cherokee Rose (1916)
- Tree: Live Oak (1937)
- Bird: Brown Thrasher (1935)
- Song: “Georgia on My Mind” (1922) by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics)
10 Largest Cities:
- Atlanta, 423,019
- Augusta-Richmond County,1 193,316
- Savannah, 127,573
- Athens-Clarke County, 102,498
- Macon, 95,267
- Roswell, 78,229
- Albany, 76,202
- Marietta, 61,282
- Warner Robins, 54,264
Points of interest:
- Savannah - Savannah
- Atlanta - Atlanta
- Jekyll Island - Jekyll Island
- Sea Island - Sea Island
- St. Simons Island - St. Simons Island
- Stone Mountain Park - Atlanta
- Pebble Hill Plantation - Thomasville
- Georgia Aquarium - Atlanta
- The Official Music Museum of Georgia - Macon
- World of Coca-Cola - Atlanta
- Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum - Columbus
- CNN Center - Atlanta
- The Douglass Theatre - Macon
- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site - Atlanta
- Savannah's City Squares - Savannah
- Augusta Richmond County Museum - Augusta
- Colonial Park Cemetery II - Savannah
- Amicalola Falls - Dawsonville
- Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest - Gainesville
- Sea Island Golf Club - Sea Island
- Monterey Square - Savannah
- Fox Theatre - Atlanta
History in Brief
The earliest known inhabitants of the area now known as Georgia were the Moundbuilders whose leaders lived in temples atop large earthen mounds, primarily in the northwest and southern portions of the state. Other native tribes included the Creeks in the south of the Chattahoochee River and the Cherokee in the north.
In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto began to roam the future state of Georgia. Twenty-five years later, defensive positions or forts began to pop up along the Atlantic coast, with the first in Georgia constructed on St. Catherine's Island. Permanent settlements did not begin to appear for a number of years.
Although Spain claimed the area as part of Florida, a group of gentlemen from England, led by James Oglethorpe, a member of the British Parliament, founded the British colony of Georgia (named in honor of King George II, who granted the territory to them). It was the last of the original 13 colonies to be settled. The colony was invaded by the Spanish in 1742. Ten years later, after support from England stopped, the Trustees of the colony turned control over to the crown, who appointed a governor to run things.
Georgia joined the other 12 colonies in signing the Declaration of Independence. The fledgling United States won its freedom and Georgia became the fourth state of the Union after ratifying the Constitution on January 2, 1788.
After the discovery of gold in the mountains of north Georgia in 1829, a federal mint was established in Dahlonega that continued operation until the start of the Civil War in 1861. At that time, Georgia joined the Confederacy in an attempt to secede from the US. It was a major player in the war with battles at Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. Much of the state was severely damaged during General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea. After the war and reconstruction, Georgia became the last Confederate state returned to the union in 1870.
Georgia moved into the 20th Century along with the rest of the nation, enjoying the industrial revolution and Atlanta became a prominent city, not just in the south, but in the nation as a whole.
Although it has played a leading role in the civil rights struggles, Georgia has a diverse population and Atlanta is now considered to be a top city for African-American businesses. The summer Olympics were held in Atlanta in 1996.