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The Making of the 50 States: Georgia


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• Part 2: The Rest of the Story

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The Making of the 50 States
The 13 American Colonies
Clickable map of the 13 Colonies with descriptions of each colony
American History Glossary
The First European Settlements in America
Colonial Times

Part 1: In the Beginning

Like the other 13 Colonies, Georgia was early inhabited by Native Americans, among them the Creek and Cherokee. The Cherokee called Georgia "The Enchanted Land."

European exploration of Georgia is thought to have begun with Juan Ponce de Leon, in the early 16th Century. Spanish and French explorers followed, for about a hundred years. Spanish missionaries succeeded in converting many Native Americans to Christianity during this time.

The first English settlers in Georgia were led by Dr. Henry Woodward. Woodward got many Native Americans fearful of Spanish soldiers to fight for England in a large battle in 1680. England won this battle, and the Spanish withdrew to coastal Sapelo Island. Four years later, the Spanish were gone for good.

(It is helpful to remember that what we now call Georgia was, at that time, was at the center of a struggle between English settlers in the South Carolina colony and Spanish settlers in Florida.)

In 1715, war between England and Spain again engulfed Georgia. Two years later, Sir Robert Montgomery proposed what he hoped would be an English settlement in the midst of so much fighting. He called it the Margravate of Azilia. (This was a really fancy name for what was, in fact, a planned settlement that was an early version of later American cities.)

In 1724 Jean Pierre Purry proposed a settlement named Georgina, in honor of newly crowned King George. Nine years later, in 1733, the colony of Georgia was born.

The driving force behind the success of the Georgia colony was James Oglethorpe, who had originally intended the colony to be a home for people who couldn't pay their debts but who instead personally chose 116 men and women to accompany him to the new land.

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