Georgia is the 24th largest state of the United States covering an area of 59,425 square miles and is found in the southeastern part of the country. Georgia is ranked the 8th state out of the 50 states with the highest population standing in excess of 10.5 million people as of 2018. The capital of the state is Atlanta, which apart from hosting more than 55% of the state population is also the major administrative, cultural, and business center. The former Province of Georgia joined the United States in 1788 when it ratified the constitution of the new United States as the 4th state.
Before the European occupation of North America, Georgia was home to the mound-building cultures. The British established the colony of Georgia in 1733 and named it after King George II. The king issued a charter to Trustees through whom the colony was governed. The Trustees envisaged a community of free farmers and were opposed to slavery. The Trustees handed over control of the colony to the British Crown in 1752. The colony, therefore, turned in to a crown colony that was now administered by a governor appointed by the king. The Province of Georgia was among the thirteen British colonies that participated in the American Revolution which culminated in the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Georgia ratified its first state constitution in 1777 and became the 10th state to sign the Articles of Confederation in 1778. On January 2nd, 1788, the state of Georgia ratified the Constitution of the US becoming the 4th state of the new United States. There was a discovery of Gold in 1829 that led to the Georgia Gold Rush and the building of a federal mint in the state. Due to the high inflow of white settlers, the state and federal governments felt pressured to take land from Native Americans and sending them to reserved areas. This displacement led to the forced relocation of Native Americans using federal troops which caused the death of more than 4,000 Cherokees and came to be known as the Trail of Tears.
Georgia joined the Confederate states in early 1861 for the civil war. The state went on to become a major theatre for the Civil War with several major battles taking place within the state. Large patches of land were destroyed between Savannah and Atlanta in the war, and more than 18,000 Georgian soldiers died in the war. Georgia was the last state to be restored to the Union in 1870 after the civil war.
After the Civil War, white Democrats gained power in the state legislature and enacted laws and policies that disenfranchised minority groups and poor residents. For instance, a poll tax enacted in 1877 and a white primary enacted in 1908 frustrated many poor residents and led to the migration of many minorities. Black males were constantly at risk from the law and also from lynching by white radicals. As of 1900, African Americans made up 46.7% of the population of Georgia, but after the majority migrated to the north, they only made up only 28% of the population. This inequality led to the rise of strong civil rights activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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