Georgia has a rich and sweeping history that spans almost three centuries and many important events. From military conflicts to flourishing economic times, Georgia has always been a state that knows how to bounce back and make the most out of the circumstances it meets.
Settled in 1733 by James Oglethorpe, Georgia was the last of the original 13 colonies to be formed. Originally intended to be a debtors’ colony, Georgia’s true purpose was to be a military buffer zone for the rest of the colonies from the Spanish in Florida. It officially became a state in 1788.
Georgia bypassed most of the action during the Revolutionary War. However, when the state seceded from the Union in 1861, it thrust itself into a war that would take its toll on its people and the 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. During the time period of Reconstruction (1865-1877), Georgia regained its footing as a functional state.
The early 20th century showed Georgia no mercy as the Great Depression settled into the cities and countryside. Farming took a downturn due to the climate (drought) and pests (boll weevil). President Franklin D. Roosevelt looked out for Georgia by passing the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) during the New Deal, but Georgians had to find new means of employment due to the suffering economy. During this time, 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, 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.