On January 2, 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to sign the Constitution and join the Union. As with most of America, native people lived in Georgia long before any Europeans came to the land. The two major tribes were the Cherokee from the northern part of the state, and the Creek from the southern section.
Hernando de Soto was the first European to explore the land in 1540. Like many of his other explorations, de Soto and his men were looking for gold. They didn’t find the treasure. The Spanish claimed that land that would become Georgia, but eventually left because they were easy prey for pirates on the coast.
Two hundred years later, in 1733, the British took over the area. James Oglethorpe led more than 100 colonists to the coast and established a settlement that eventually became Savannah. In honor of King George II of Great Britain, Oglethorpe named the colony Georgia.
Georgia became one of the biggest slave states. It seceded from (left) the Union when the Civil War broke out between the North and the South in 1861. One of the most important battles was fought in the state when Union General William Sherman marched from Atlanta to Savannah in 1864. He severely hurt the South and drained their morale. The war ended less than six months later.
- Nancy Hart, a female patriot and spy, is rumored to have been at the Battle of Kettle Creek.
- Georgia is the biggest U.S. state when it comes to filming movies and television programs.
- Georgia is known as the “Peach State,” apparently growing the best peaches in the nation.