Georgia is a Southern US state (not a European nation) that borders the Carolinas, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. The eighth-largest state in terms of population, its capital and largest city is Atlanta. It is the youngest of the original Thirteen Colonies, being founded in 1733 (some of the original colonists were still alive for independence, which couldn't be said of any of the other colonies). Colonial custom also listed it last for geographical reasons (the colonies were usually listed north to south, and Georgia was the southernmost colony). Georgia was also one of the original seven Confederate States. The northern parts of the state are within the Appalachian Mountains, and the whole thing, apart from Metro Atlanta, is firmly part of the Deep South—many country singers are from middle Georgia.
Other cities of note are Columbus (not that Columbus), Macon, and Savannah (the original state capital) with the nearby Golden Isles of Georgianote .
Known as both "The Peach State"note and the much cooler "Empire State of The South", because one of the state's primary agricultural products is the peach and because much like the Empire State it is very large and varied. Indeed, Georgia is today the largest state by land area east of the Mississippi River (Michigan has a far larger total area, but so much of that is lake that Georgia edges Michigan out slightly on pure land).note Georgia was also a common landing ground during British colonization and today still has several large ports, with the Port of Savannah being the fourth largest in the US and a main HQ for distribution centers.
Georgia's borders are formed by the Savannah River, separating it from South Carolina to the eastnote ; the historic North Carolina line, separating it from NC and Tennessee to the north; the Florida-Georgia line, separating it from Florida to the south;note and the Western bank of the Chattahoochee River, separating it from Alabama, to the westnote . It's worth a note that the continuation of this line, after Georgia ends and Florida borders Alabama, is not known by this name. Georgia has disputed its borders, too, claiming that topographers accidentally misplaced the Tennessee/Georgia border in the early 19th Century by drafting it about a mile too far South. This was only challenged in 2010, 200 years after the mistake, and during a significant drought in the state; to instate the border one mile north would allow Georgia access to the Tennessee River.
HistoryPrior to European exploration, the state was populated by tribes of the Southeastern Cultural Complex. These people held close links to those in what is now Florida, suggesting that large parts of the two states were seen as the same area. Before colonization, there were many explorations of Georgia by both the Iberian explorers coming from Central America and British colonists coming from the Atlantic. The state (with a much greater land area than today) was founded by Guildfordian general James Oglethorpe in 1733.
Oglethorpe was an early advocate for prison reform and, in 1728, began the process of petitioning Parliament to resettle the "worthy poor", particularly those in debtors' prison, in the New World. Whilst this plan itself later got relocated to Australia, Oglethorpe and his Trustees were given the charter to establish the "Colony of Georgia in America" from King George II. As you may have guessed, he made sure it was named after himself. The plan was to set up port and then move inland, building up a society of farmers and agricultural districts. The charter also prohibited slavery, for the time being.
The movement of new colonists inland didn't really settle well with the Spanish settlers that were very comfortably surrounding them. They were somewhat amenable until, in 1742, they launched an invasion over the disputed land. The Floridians seemed to realize that a charter from the King of England didn't mean all that much to them. Three years earlier, the British had sent compromisers with a Convention to be signed by both European military parties: the "compromise", however, was more along the lines of Spain signing away any claim on what the British asserted was theirs, and Britain agreeing to not fight them for it in return. Lest to say, Spain did not agree. When the resultant War of Jenkins' Ear broke out in 1739, the Spanish back on the mainland planned an invasion. In 1740, the British raided St Augustine but were kicked out, making the Spanish confident of a successful attack.
The Spanish commander de Montiano landed at St Simons Island in 1742. It took six days, two battles around farmland (Battle of Gully Hole Creek and Battle of Bloody Marsh), and some very weak Spanish soldiers—very kind of them to reveal the entire plan to a very small opposing force upon asking—for an unconditional Spanish surrender. Though the Spanish and British remained on unfriendly terms for a long time, the Spanish would never invade British Georgia again. There were British plans to raid Florida again, but the war soon shifted focus to home playing ground in Europe — upon its end in 1748, the Spanish formally recognized Georgia as a British colony. There were still troubles, though, as the colony was not highly profitable and spent a lot during the war, meaning that the Trustees couldn't afford to run it and so, in 1752, they turned governance of the colony over to the British crown.
Georgian colonists spent the next few decades colonizing modern-day Florida and Alabama, constantly pissing off the native and Spanish occupants, and embracing the chattel slavery system. These colonists, early converts to The American Dream, chose to join in that little rebellion thing that happened on July 4th, 1776. They signed the Declaration of Independence and ratified their first constitution a year later. It's worth noting that at this point in time, Georgia looked a little different. In fact, it was basically Georgia + Alabama + Mississippi, minus what of the latter two lays below the Florida-Georgia line. This is a result of how the British claimed land, but that's another story.note
In 1829, a new development transformed the state: a gold rush. Gold was discovered in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the North of Georgia in 1828, and though it extended across the state the biggest hauls were in Lumpkin county; the gold here was also close to 100% carat clarity. A national mint was set up in Dahlonega, and an influx of miners arrived. This caused a couple of problems, most importantly: who did the gold belong to? The government and the individual miners obviously wanted a claim, but so did the Cherokee who had lived in that land since the first Spanish expeditions. The government didn't care; in what is known as "the Great Intrusion", the government began to seize Cherokee land. In the same year, Andrew Jackson authorized the Indian Removal Act to forcibly remove thousands of native people. The Cherokee legally protested this injustice, but even when the Supreme Court recognized them as a sovereign nation and let them retain ownership of ancestral ground, Jackson simply ignored their ruling and forcibly relocated them and other native people to modern-day Oklahoma along the infamous "Trail of Tears". A Gold Lottery awarded former Cherokee land to miners. It took only a few years for the immediate sources to dry up and mining to diminish. Dahlonega had grown massively, though, and was fully established enough to retain the gold rush migrants. When the California Gold Rush started in the late 1840s, a lot of placer miners moved out to the Sierra Nevada. Mining continued in Northern Georgia until the end of the century.
Come 1861 and The American Civil War, Georgia was one of the original states within the Confederacy, with major battles taking place across the state as Union soldiers sought to reach and claim the coast. At the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga, the Union suffered its greatest defeat in the South, being second in number of casualties only to Gettysburg. Though a major success for the Confederacy, following the Chattanooga Campaign the Union sent in additional men (led by Ulysses S. Grant)—the Confederate army retreated and Major General Sherman led his campaign to Atlanta and then to the Savannah coast, greatly aiding the overall Union campaign in the War. Many settlements from Atlanta to Savannah were utterly destroyed in Sherman's March To The Sea, which remains a sore spot for many Georgians. Georgia was the last state to return the Union following defeat, in 1870.
The population of Georgia at this time was around fifty-fifty White and Blacknote , but the state remained under a racist white power structure throughout its history, like many of its Southern neighbors. Following the Civil War, many communities of emancipated African-Americans who had once been enslaved on Georgia plantations established thriving middle-class communities, particularly in neighborhoods of Atlanta. However, by the early 20th century, White Georgians had reestablished political hegemony using white primaries, literacy tests, and Jim Crow laws to block Black Georgians from social and political participation, which contributed to the Great Migration to the North and the Black population dropping significantly. Many Black Georgians did stay in the South, however, and the state became the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Atlanta was the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., and he started his ministry and activism in Georgia. Today, the state has the third-largest African-American population of any state (behind only Texas and Florida) and the second-largest in terms of percentage (just over a third of the population, behind only Mississippi).
"New South" GeorgiaIn the late 1960s, Georgia surprisingly became a large hub for the social reform movement within the conservative South, helping to coin the term "the New South". It passed bills to promote emerging industry and development, based around Atlanta, as well as civil rights reform. There were no native Cherokee remaining in Georgia after the gold rush, but there has been discussions of ceremonially returning land and welcoming descendants of the displaced peoples into the North of Georgia. The state did pass an amendment to its constitution explicitly barring same-sex marriage in 2004, but all counties annulled this upon the Supreme Court ruling to recognize equal marriage rights in 2015.
Georgia's economic growth has resulted in a massive expansion of its suburban middle-class in recent decades, as young professionals have flocked to the region to take advantage of its many growing job sectors, ranging from tech and industry to a thriving film industry—in recent years, highly favorable tax incentives have led to the state surpassing California in terms of total film production, including the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Tyler Perry opened the largest film production studio in the entire United States in Atlanta in 2019. This demographic change in the Atlanta suburbs, the presence of Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight Action and a historically strong African-American community, has made Georgia a competitive state in recent elections, with the state barely swinging left for the Democrats in the Presidential and Senate races in 2020-2021 after historically being seen as a fairly Republican state with a solid conservative base since 1972 (with the exceptions of 1976 and 1992 when the state voted for favorite son Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton respectively).
CultureGeorgia, particularly Atlanta, has a large and extremely influential African-American culture. This includes features on The Real Housewives of Atlanta like NeNe Leakes and Kenya Moore. There is also a big hip-hop scene, with artists including Young Jeezy, Kanye Westnote , and Usher. Rap songs like "Yeah!" by Usher ft. Lil Jon and Ludacris mentions the "A-Town", as does Ludacris' own "Welcome to Atlanta". Rapper B.o.B. is from Decatur, a suburb of the city, and references this in songs like "Airplanes" (ft. Hayley Williams). The Outkast album "ATLiens" is also named after Atlanta.
Conversely, Athens is host to many break-out alternative rock groups like R.E.M.. Another prominent genre of music in Georgia is country and bluegrass, and more recently an Arena Rock style of country music from young artists coming from the old Heartland of Central Georgia. This includes acts like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. The Taylor Swift song "Tim McGraw" is also set in Georgia, as she makes mention that the boy said she "put those Georgia stars to shame that night". However, Swift grew up in Pennsylvania and Nashville. Luke Bryan's Ode to Youth "We Rode In Trucks" makes mention of the Flint River, near where he grew up, and "that red Georgia dirt", with Jason Aldean's "Country Boy's World" soliloquizing the differences between the urban North East and Rome, Georgia, and how his girlfriend had "never seen a one-light town 'till she moved down here".
The northern portions of the state, specifically the "Historic High Country" and "Northeast Georgia Mountains" regions, prides itself in its "Old Georgia" heritage, often claiming to be one of the last areas in Georgia practically untouched by major urbanization. Most communities are small and tightly-knit, and, while there will always be the occasional Corrupt Hick, Preachy Preacher or Right-Wing Militia Fanatic (which is not at all exclusive to Georgia itself, mind you), most residents are surprisingly hospitable and willing to help out someone in need, provided that you don't cause trouble, and has a healthy tourism market, based mainly around camping, hiking, and state parks. One of the most popular destinations is Helen, a small city that has modeled itself after a Bavarian Alpine town, which, along with being a popular weekend destination for locals looking to get away from Atlanta for a bit, also hosts numerous Alpine-themed events year round, such as Volkswagen Tours, hot air balloon races, and, of course, Oktoberfest.
Atlanta has sports teams competing in four of the five major North American sports leagues: the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), Atlanta Braves (MLB), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), and Atlanta United FC (MLS). The NHL used to have two different teams in Atlanta, the Flames in the 1970s and the Thrashers in the 2000s, but both of these teams moved to Canada (the Flames to Calgary and the Thrashers-now-Jets to Winnipeg). College sport is also popular, with the state having six NCAA Division I football teams: the Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Georgia Southern Eagles, and Georgia Bulldogs in the top-level FBS; and the Kennesaw State Owls and Mercer Bears in the second-tier FCS. Atlanta is considered the de facto capital of college football; the city is home to the College Football Hall of Fame since 2014, and annually hosts the SEC Football Championship and the Peach Bowl, one of the member bowls of the College Football Playoff. Sports stars from the state include Cam Newton and Ty Cobb.
- The North-West of Georgia is within the foothills of the Appalachians and so of different geography to the south of the state. It has a greater variety of fauna and is unsuitable for arable farming. Its largest cities are Atlanta in the Atlanta Metropolitan area, and Rome in Floyd County. Rome was so named because it was settled on seven hills, invoking the mythology of the Italian capital. Stone Mountain is also here. It's sort of like a mini Mount Rushmore, as it features carvings of three important Confederate leaders (the largest bas relief in the World). Unlike Rushmore, it is an igneous quartz composite, containing a hell of a lot of precious stone. It was also used as the site to re-found the Ku Klux Klan in 1915.
- Atlanta is the capital, largest city and main tourist hub. If you're wanting to catch a cheap flight across the South or to/from the Midwest, there's a good chance you're having a stopover here; Atlanta's airport is the busiest in the entire world. It's one of the prettiest places in Georgia and has both old colonial British designed areas and the modern amenities expected of such a city. The Atlanta Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, and the World of Coca-Cola are located here and are popular attractions.
- The Northeast Mountains were the target of the Georgia Gold Rush, as mentioned above. Part of the Blue Ridge mountains in the Appalachian range, they held the largest deposit of gold in the quartz vein that runs through Appalachia. When the colonisers came, much of the tribal Cherokee population of Georgia were isolated into this area — and ultimately driven out. While gold mining has all but dried up in this area, another major mining industry has risen to somewhat take its place: Marble. White Georgia marble is among the highest quality in the world, and it has been utilized in several famous landmarks and structures, including the New York Stock Exchange, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.
- Macon and the old Heartland: From 1807 until the end of the American Civil War, the city of Milledgeville served as the state capital.
- The Georgia Coast is like much of the lower East Coast of the US: a savannah. Three guesses as to where they got the name fromnote .
- Savannah was the original capital of the Province, and the main port and passage into the state. The theories behind its naming are above. It was the site of the battles against the Spanish, and also some offenses in the Civil War. Nowadays it is more known as a tourist spot (Savannah Beach), with bikini-wearing girls all year round, and for spring breakers who couldn't make it any further South. Its tourism is therefore a split between historical and geographical interest and those who want to sunbathe.
- The Golden Isles are also great tourist spots for sunbathing, and also of great historical interest. Mostly, though, they're occupied by expensive resorts and golf/yacht clubs. More recently, Jekyll Island is the setting of Aram Rappaport's thriller film of the same namenote
- Augusta and the South Carolina area. Still quite traditionally Southern, probably helped by the close border with fellow Heartland SC. Includes the Savannah River and all of its randomly growing islands. Along with Savannah, Augusta served as the state capital at various points early in the state's history, although the capital would move southward to the nearby town of Louisville from 1796 to 1806. In golf, Augusta is best known as the home of the Masters Tournament, one of the four major men's golf championships (along with the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the British Open) and the only one among them to be hosted at the same course annually; it is traditionally first major tournament of the year, held on the first full week of April at the Augusta National Golf Clubnote .
- Columbus and the West. Home of the Little White House, and several former Presidents.
- The Plantations
Works set in Georgia
- Gone with the Wind features several areas of Georgia during the reformation.
- Two Academy Award winners were filmed and set in Georgia: Gone with the Wind, based on Margaret Mitchell's novel, and Driving Miss Daisy. Academy Award nominee Deliverance, based on James Dickey's novel, is set in Atlanta.
- Pitch Perfect and its sequels are set at the fictional Barden University, which is in Atlanta.
- The Dukes of Hazzard is set in fictional Hazzard County, Georgia, and filmed in other cities in the state.
- The Vampire Diaries is set and filmed in Covington.
- The Walking Dead follows Rick searching for his family in Atlanta after a zombie apocalypse.
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker's novel and its later film and musical theatre adaptations, is primarily set in the plantations of Georgia as it focuses on the 1930s for African-American women in the South.
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, originally a runaway best-selling book whose film version became a box office failure, is all about Savannah in the 1980s.
- Squidbillies: An [adult swim] animated comedy series detailing the lives of a family of hillbilly squids and the hijinks they get into. The show frequently takes pot-shots at Georgia, including Atlanta, but the show's creators, Williams Street Productions, are Atlanta-based, themselves.
- 2 Chainz
- Dianna Agron (born in Savannah, but also grew up in Texas and California)
- Jason Aldean
- Nicole Anderson
- The B-52s
- Chris Barnes
- Kim Basinger
- Chris Benoit (born and raised in Canada, but resided in Atlanta until he and his family's controversial deaths)
- Big Bossman
- Mary J. Blige
- Alton Brown
- James Brown
- Luke Bryan
- Jimmy Carter
- Kyle Chandler
- Ray Charles
- David Cross
- Melvyn Douglas (Macon)
- Dakota Fanning
- Elle Fanning
- Laurence Fishburne
- Jeff Foxworthy
- Brantley Gilbert
- Donald Glover (born in California, raised in Stone Mountain)
- Walton Goggins
- Cee Lo Green
- Ed Helms
- Bill Hicks
- Hulk Hogan (born in Augusta, but grew up in the Tampa Bay Area)
- Josh Holloway (born in San Jose, but grew up in Cherokee County)
- Alan Jackson
- Jessie James
- Stacy Keach
- DeForest Kelley
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Lady Antebellum
- Spike Lee (born in Atlanta, but grew up in Brooklyn)
- Lil Jon
- Little Richard
- William H. Macy
- John Mayer
- Chloë Grace Moretz
- Brittany Murphy
- Danielle Panabaker
- Robert Patrick (Marietta)
- Tyler Perry (born and raised in New Orleans, but based in Atlanta throughout his career)
- Carrie Preston (Macon)
- AJ Styles (born in North Carolina, but resides in Gainesville)
- Otis Redding
- Thomas Rhett
- Cody Rhodes
- Eric Roberts (born in Biloxi, but grew up in Atlanta)
- Julia Roberts (Smyrna)
- Jackie Robinson (born in Georgia, but grew up in Southern California)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (never lived full-time in the state, but frequently visited a vacation home he owned in Warm Springs, and died there)
- Kelly Rowland (Atlanta; later moved to Houston when she was eight)
- Ken Shamrock (born in Warner Robins; later moved to various states after his mother remarried a Military man)
- Steven Soderbergh
- Soulja Boy
- Ray Stevens
- AJ Styles (born a Military Brat in North Carolina, graduated from high school in Gainesville)
- T.I. (Atlanta)
- Lucas Till (born a Military Brat in Texas, but grew up in Georgia)
- Daffney Unger (born a Military Brat on a base in Germany, but grew up in Atlanta)
- Luna Vachon (born in Atlanta, raised in Canada)
- Waka Flocka Flame
- Jimmy Wang Yang
- Kanye West (born in Atlanta to a Clark Atlanta U. English professor and a photojournalist for the Journal-Constitution; raised in Chicago after his parents' divorce and his mother's move to an academic job in that city)
- Woodrow Wilson (born in Virginia, but spent his early childhood in Augusta; later identified with New Jersey because he spent his professional career there—first as a professor at Princeton, then its president, and then as Governor of N.J.—before the White House)
- Trisha Yearwood