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Georgia State History

Greater Coat Of Arms Of Georgia

Before the Europeans arrived, Native American tribes occupied the area of Georgia, namely the Cherokee and the Creek tribes.

The first Europeans to arrive in the area were Hernando De Soto and his men from Spain in 1540. They were in search of gold.

gold bars

Thousands of Native American people were either infected with smallpox and died or were killed by De Soto’s men.

Spanish missionaries later established missions along the Georgian coast.

Related: Georgia State Facts

De Soto By Telfer And Sartain

The arrival of the English

A British colony was founded in 1733 when James Oglethorpe brought 116 colonists to the coast of Georgia.

This settlement would later become the city of Savannah. More colonists arrived over the next several years.

James Edward Oglethorpe
by; after Alfred Edmund Dyer; William Verelst,painting,circa 1927 (circa 1735-1736)

The American Revolution

Thirteen colonies became irate over the high taxes levied by England. War was declared and Georgia joined to fight the British troops.


When the war ended in 1776, Georgia joined the new republic of states and became the 4th state of the United States of America.

Flag Of Georgia

Georgia becomes a slave state

By the 1800s, the settlers in Georgia were growing cotton. Large plantation owners needed workers so they contracted shipowners to bring captured African men, women, and children to Georgia.

They arrived in chains and were sold at auction to the highest bidder and forced to work the fields. By the mid-1800s, a half a million slaves were “owned” like cattle and living in poverty in Georgia.

Harpers Georgia Slavery Map

The Civil War

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Georgia joined the Confederates of the southern states. The plantation owners of Georgia were completely dependent on the workforce of their slaves.

They fought furiously to protect their right to own slaves.

Related: 14th Amendment Facts

The Civil War destroyed much of the towns, cities, and plantations of Georgia when General William Sherman led his troops through Georgia burning and destroying everything in their path.

The Confederate Army was destroyed. It took many years to rebuild the towns and cities of Georgia.

General William T Sherman

President Lincoln declared all slaves to be free people and slavery was made illegal in Georgia. This did not make the Georgian citizens accept the freed slaves as equal citizens to the whites.

Discrimination continued and continues to this day.

Quiz Time!



Who were the first Europeans to reach the coast of Georgia and when?

What happened to the Native American tribespeople when they encountered De Soto and his men?

In the 1800s, how did the plantation owners of Georgia solve their shortage of workers?

Why was the main reason the Civil War was fought?

What happened to the towns and cities in Georgia during the fighting of the Civil War?

Ushguli Towers In Svaneti Georgia

The first Europeans were from Spain in 1540 – first Hernando de Soto and his men and then Spanish missionaries.

Three Cherokee
Most of the North American people that encountered De Soto and his men either died of smallpox or we killed by the Spaniards.

In the 1800s, plantation owners made contracts with shipowners to capture African men, women, and children and bring them back to Georgia to be sold at auction.

President Lincoln and the northern states wanted to end slavery.

During the Civil War, most of the towns, cities, and plantations were burned to the ground.

US State History