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Georgia History

Georgia’s rich history spans nearly 3 centuries. From military conflicts to flourishing economic times, Georgia has always been a state that knows how to make the most of any circumstance.

James Oglethorpe settled Georgia in 1733, making it the 13th American colony formed. Although Oglethorpe originally envisioned Georgia as a haven for formerly-imprisoned debtors, the colony’s purpose shifted focus toward economics and the military. It officially became a state in 1788.

Hardship: The Civil War and Great Depression

Georgia was primarily uninvolved with the Revolutionary War. However, when the state seceded from the Union in 1861, it thrust itself into a war that would take a toll on its people and landscape. Georgia was a hotbed of activity during the Civil War, with many important battles taking place within its borders.

After the war, Georgia was allowed to rejoin the Union in 1870 — the last Southern state to rejoin. Georgia regained its footing as a functional state during its Reconstruction period (1865-1877).

The early 20th century showed Georgia no mercy as the Great Depression settled into the cities and countryside. Farming suffered from poor climate (drought) and pests (boll weevil). Though President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal brought many improvements for rural Georgians — such as the Rural Electrification Act (REA) — farmers still had to find new means of employment due to the suffering economy.

A New Age of Economic Success

As Georgia emerged from the Great Depression, the state found a new area of economic development: aviation. Georgia became a hub of activity for the airline industry, and by 1941, Atlanta's airport became home to Delta Air Lines and Eastern Air Lines.

The latter part of the 20th century brought an eruption of business activity to Georgia. CNN, The Home Depot, and Coca-Cola became staples of the Atlanta economic scene. The string of economic success continued when Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics and attracted visitors from around the world.

As Georgia progresses through the 21st century, the spirit of resilience continues from the Alabama border to the coast of Savannah. Residents of the historic Peach State are still making economic and social progress as they add to the rich legacy of Georgia.