Happy Georgia Day!

  State Flag of Georgia. Image Credit:  Xrmap (Public Domain)

State Flag of Georgia. Image Credit: Xrmap (Public Domain)

     On this day in 1733, the U.S. State of Georgia was established as a British colony under a royal charter issued by King George II of Great Britain and Ireland, in whose honor the colony and state are named.

     Georgia was founded by General James Edward Oglethorpe, who had arrived with a group of British settlers on the same day. They made peaceful contact with the Yamacraw Indian tribe under its chief, Tomochichi, with whom Oglethorpe worked to secure land for the establishment of Georgia and its first city and capital, Savannah.

  Georgia State Capitol Building which houses the Georgia General Assemby in Atlantia. Image Credit:  Ken Lund  via  Wikimedia Commons   cc

Georgia State Capitol Building which houses the Georgia General Assemby in Atlantia. Image Credit: Ken Lund via Wikimedia Commons cc

      It was established under the royal charter for two reasons: to provide an alternative route for Britons who had landed in debtors prison - which was the brain child of Oglethorpe as a Member of Parliament and philanthropist- as well as to create a "buffer" colony to protect the other southern provinces, such as South Carolina from the Spanish in Florida. The philanthropic aims of Oglethorpe and his associates were expressed in the Georgia's original motto: non sibi sed aliis, a Latin phrase which means, "Not for themselves, but for others."

  The Avenue of Oaks on St. Simon's Island. Image Credit:  Bubba73 (Jud McCranie)  via  Wikimedia Commons   cc

The Avenue of Oaks on St. Simon's Island. Image Credit: Bubba73 (Jud McCranie) via Wikimedia Commons cc

     Originally governed by a board of trustees, Georgia outlawed slavery in part because Oglethorpe was against the practice and wanted the colony to prosper from the efforts of free men, and for this reason, Georgia stood apart from the other colonies in North America. However, with the booming slave-based agricultural trade in South Carolina, the anti-slave laws were repealed, and Georgia took on the character and economy of its neighbors. It became a Royal colony under the direct authority of the Crown in 1752.

     Georgia was the last of the thirteen British North American colonies that had been established along the Eastern Seaboard. Along with the other colonies, it declared independence in 1776, and became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It seceded from the Union in 1861 to become part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and was the last state to be re-admitted nearly ten years later.

  View of Downtown Atlanta. Image Credit:  Arashboz  via  Wikimedia Commons   cc (Public Domain)

View of Downtown Atlanta. Image Credit: Arashboz via Wikimedia Commons cc (Public Domain)

     Today, Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South, and its current motto is Wisdom, Justice, Moderation. It is the 24th largest state in the Union by area (the largest east of the Mississippi River), as well as the eighth most populated, and its capital and largest city is Atlanta. It is also geographically diverse - from containing the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northern part of the state (which is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain chain), to the Piedmont plateau in the central area, and finally the flat coastal plains along the Atlantic Ocean.

     Notable Georgians include Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights leader), Jimmy Carter (39th President of the United States), Jackie Robinson (baseball player), Samantha Power (UN Ambassador), Ted Turner (media magnate), Clarence Thomas (Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court), Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts), writers Alice Walker and Flannery O'Connor, and musicians such as Johnny Mercer, Ray Charles, and Jason Aldeen.

  River Street in Savannah - Georgia's first city. Image Credit:  Aude  via  Wikimedia Commons   cc

River Street in Savannah - Georgia's first city. Image Credit: Aude via Wikimedia Commons cc

     Georgia is also home to several leading institutions of higher learning in the States - including the University of Georgia (UGA), the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Emory University. It counts tourism, media, agriculture, logistics, and manufacturing among its industries, and is also home to the headquarters of fifteen Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot.

     Georgia also plays host to the global headquarters of the Cable News Network (CNN) and the world's busiest airport - Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. In addition, the former state capital city (and my hometown) of Savannah is the fourth-busiest and fastest-growing cargo container port in the United States, behind Long Beach and Los Angeles in California and New York/New Jersey.

  A large container ship entering the Port of Savannah. Image Credit:  US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District  via  Flickr   cc

A large container ship entering the Port of Savannah. Image Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District via Flickr cc

      In 2015, it ranked tenth in the nation among state economies with a gross state product (GSP) of $493.4 billion and if it were a stand-alone country, Georgia would be the 28th largest economy in the world.

     With regard to its relation to the United Kingdom, there's a British consulate located in Atlanta which serves Georgia and the neighboring states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina. Furthermore, two Georgia cities are officially "twinned" with two UK cities as part of Sister Cities International Alliances: Atlanta with Newcastle-upon-Tyne and LaGrange with Craigavon, County Armagh.

     And that is but a brief overview of my home state of Georgia on it's 283rd birthday!