The Province of Georgia (also Georgia Colony) was one of the Southern colonies in British America. It was the last of the thirteen original American colonies established by Great Britain in what later became the United States. In the original grant, a narrow strip of the province extended to the Pacific Ocean.
The colony's corporate charter was granted to General James Oglethorpe on April 21, 1732, by George II, for whom the colony was named. The charter was finalized by the King's privy council on June 9, 1732.
Oglethorpe envisioned a colony which would serve as a haven for English subjects who had been imprisoned for debt. General Oglethorpe imposed very strict laws that many colonists disagreed with, such as the banning of alcoholic beverages. He disagreed with slavery and thought a system of smallholdings more appropriate than the large plantations common in the colonies just to the north. However, land grants were not as large as most colonists would have preferred. Oglethorpe envisioned the province as a location for the resettlement of English debtors and "the worthy poor."
Another reason for the founding of the colony was as a buffer state and a "garrison province" which would defend the southern British colonies from Spanish Florida. Oglethorpe imagined a province populated by "sturdy farmers" who could guard the border; because of this, the colony's charter prohibited slavery. The ban on slavery was lifted by 1751 and the colony became a royal colony by 1752.
Province of Georgia
A map of the Province of Georgia, 1732–1777
|Status||Colony (Kingdom of Great Britain)|
|Common languages||English, Mikasuki, Cherokee, Muscogee, Shawnee, Yuchi|
|Religion||Church of England (Anglicanism)|
|James Oglethorpe (first)|
|James Wright (last)|
|Legislature||Commons House of Assembly (lower)|
General Assembly (upper)
|Historical era||Colonial Era|
|Today part of||United States|
Although many believe that the colony was formed for the imprisoned, the colony was actually formed as a place of no slavery and respect to Native Americans. Oglethorpe did have the vision to make it a place for debtors, but it transformed into a royal colony. The following is an historical accounting of these first English settlers sent to Georgia:
A committee was appointed to visit the jails and obtain the discharge of such poor prisoners as were worthy, carefully investigating character, circumstances and antecedents.
Thirty-five families, numbering one hundred and twenty persons, were selected.
On the 16th of November, 1732, the emigrants embarked at Gravesend on the ship Anne ... arriving January 13th  in the harbor of Charleston, S. C. ...
They set sail the day following ... into Port Royal, some eighty miles southward, to be conveyed in small vessels to the river Savannah.
Oglethorpe continued up the river to scout a location suitable for settlement. On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe led the settlers to their arrival at Yamacraw Bluff, in what is now the city of Savannah, and established a camp with the help of a local elderly Creek chief, Tomochichi. A Yamacraw Indian village had occupied the site, but Oglethorpe arranged for the Indians to move. The day is still celebrated as Georgia Day.
The original charter specified the colony as being between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, up to their headwaters (the headwaters of the Altamaha are on the Ocmulgee River), and then extending westward "to the south seas." The area within the charter had previously been part of the original grant of the Province of Carolina, which was closely linked to Georgia.
The Privy Council approved the establishment charter on June 9, 1732, and for the next two decades the council of trustees governed the province, with the aid of annual subsidies from Parliament. However, after many difficulties and the departure of Oglethorpe, the trustees proved unable to manage the proprietary colony, and on June 23, 1752, they submitted a deed of reconveyance to the crown, one year before the expiration of the charter. On January 7, 1755, Georgia officially ceased to be a proprietary colony and became a crown colony.
From 1732 until 1758, the minor civil divisions were districts and towns. In 1758, without Indian permission, the Province of Georgia was divided into eight parishes by the Act of the Assembly of Georgia on March 15. The Town and District of Savannah was named Christ Church Parish. The District of Abercorn and Goshen, plus the District of Ebenezer, was named the Parish of St. Matthew. The District of Halifax was named the Parish of St. George. The District of Augusta was named the Parish of St. Paul. The Town of Hardwick and the District of Ogeechee, including the island of Ossabaw, was named the Parish of St. Philip. From Sunbury in the District of Midway and Newport to the south branch of Newport, including the islands of St. Catherine and Bermuda, was named the Parish of St. John. The Town and District of Darien, to the Altamaha River, including the islands of Sapelo and Eastwood and the sea islands north of Egg Island, was named the Parish of St. Andrew. The Town and District of Frederica, including the islands of Great and Little St. Simons, along with the adjacent islands, was named the Parish of St. James.
Following Britain's victory in the French and Indian War, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763. One of its provisions was to extend Georgia's southern boundary from the Altamaha River to the St. Marys River. Two years later, on March 25, 1765, Governor James Wright approved an act of the General Assembly creating four new parishes – St. David, St. Patrick, St. Thomas, and St. Mary – in the recently acquired land, and it further assigned Jekyll Island to St. James Parish.
The Georgia colony had had a sluggish beginning. James Oglethorpe did not allow liquor, and colonists who came at the trustees' expense were not allowed to own more than 50 acres (0.20 km2) of land for their farm in addition to a 60 foot by 90 foot plot in town. Those who paid their own way could bring ten indentured servants and would receive 500 acres of land. Additional land could neither be acquired nor sold. Discontent grew in the colony because of these restrictions, and Oglethorpe lifted them. With slavery, liquor, and land acquisition the colony developed much faster. Slavery had been permitted from 1749. There was some internal opposition to slavery, particularly from Scottish settlers, but by the time of the War of Independence, Georgia was much like the other Southern colonies.
During the American Revolution Georgia's population was at first divided about exactly how to respond to revolutionary activities and heightened tensions in other provinces. When violence broke out in 1775, radical Patriots (also known as Whigs) stormed the royal magazine at Savannah and carried off its ammunition, took control of the provincial government, and drove many Loyalists out of the province. In 1776 a provincial congress had declared independence and created a constitution for the new state. Georgia also served as the staging ground for several important raids into British-controlled Florida.
In 1777 the original eight counties of the state of Georgia were created. Prior to that Georgia had been divided into local government units called parishes. Settlement had been limited to the near vicinity of the Savannah River; the western area of the new state remained under the control of the Creek Indian Confederation.
James Wright, the last Royal Governor of the Province of Georgia, dismissed the royal assembly in 1775. He was briefly a prisoner of the revolutionaries before escaping to a British warship in February 1776. During the American Revolutionary War Wright would become the only royal governor of the Thirteen Colonies to regain control of part of his colony after British forces captured Savannah on December 29, 1778. British and Loyalist forces restored large areas of Georgia to colonial rule, especially along the coast, while Patriots continued to maintain an independent governor, congress, and militia in other areas. In 1779 the British repelled an attack of militia, Continental Army, and French military and naval forces on Savannah. The 1781 siege of Augusta, by militia and Continental forces, restored it to Patriot control. When the war was lost for Britain, Wright and British forces evacuated Savannah on July 11, 1782. After that the Province of Georgia ceased to exist as a British colony.
Georgia was a member of the Second Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the tenth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation on July 24, 1778, and the fourth state to be admitted to the Union under the U.S. Constitution, on January 2, 1788.
On April 24, 1802, Georgia ceded to the U.S. Congress parts of its western lands, that it had claims for going back to when it was a province (colony). These lands were incorporated into the Mississippi Territory and later (with other adjoining lands) became the states of Alabama and Mississippi.
All which lands, countries, territories and premises, hereby granted or mentioned, and intended to be granted, we do by these presents, make, erect and create one independent and separate province, by the name of Georgia, by which name we will, the same henceforth be called.
...[from] the Savannah [to] the Alatamaha sic, and westerly from the heads of the said rivers respectively, in direct lines to the south seas.
Associators were members of 17th- and 18th-century volunteer military associations in the British American thirteen colonies and British Colony of Canada. These were more commonly known as Maryland Protestant, Pennsylvania, and American Patriot and British Loyalist colonial militias. But unlike militias, the associator military volunteers were exempt from regular mandatory military service. Other names used to describe associators were "Associations", "Associated", "Refugees", "Volunteers", and "Partisans".
The term Non-Associators was applied to American colonists who refused to support and sign "military association" charters. They were not affiliated with associators, or would choose instead, to pay a fine and suffer possible retaliation. During the American Revolutionary War, some associator units were said to operate more like, or were in fact loose-knit criminal gangs, taking advantage of the disruption of warfare.
The present-day U.S. Army 111th Infantry Regiment Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division is nicknamed the "Associators", helping to preserve the volunteer associators' ancestral legacy in Pennsylvania.Battle of Bloody Marsh
The Battle of Bloody Marsh was a battle that took place on July 7, 1742, between Spanish and British forces on St. Simons Island, part of the Province of Georgia, resulting in a victory for the British. Part of a much larger conflict, the War of Jenkins' Ear, the battle was for the British fortifications of Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons, with the strategic goal the sea routes and inland waters they controlled. With the victory, the Province of Georgia established undisputed claim to the island. It is now part of the U.S. state of Georgia. The British also won the Battle of Gully Hole Creek, which took place on the island the same day.Battle of Gully Hole Creek
The Battle of Gully Hole Creek was a battle that took place on July 18, 1742 (new style) between Spanish and British forces in the Province of Georgia, resulting in a victory for the British. Part of a much larger conflict, known as the War of Jenkins' Ear, the battle was for control of St. Simons Island, the British fortifications of Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons, and the strategic sea routes and inland waters they controlled. After the victory, the Province of Georgia established undisputed claim to the island, which is now part of the U.S. state of Georgia. The better-known Battle of Bloody Marsh, a skirmish also won by the British, took place on the island the same day.Battle of the Rice Boats
The Battle of the Rice Boats, also called the Battle of Yamacraw Bluff, was a land and naval battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place in and around the Savannah River on the border between the Province of Georgia and the Province of South Carolina on March 2 and 3, 1776. The battle pitted the Patriot militia from Georgia and South Carolina against a small fleet of the Royal Navy.
In December 1775, the British Army was besieged in Boston. In need of provisions, a Royal Navy fleet was sent to Georgia to purchase rice and other supplies. The arrival of this fleet prompted the colonial rebels who controlled the Georgia government to arrest the British Royal Governor, James Wright, and to resist the British seizure and removal of supply ships anchored at Savannah. Some of the supply ships were burned to prevent their seizure, some were recaptured, but most were successfully taken by the British.
Governor Wright escaped from his confinement and safely reached one of the fleet's ships. His departure marked the end of British control over Georgia, although it was briefly restored when Savannah was retaken by the British in 1778. Wright again ruled from 1779 to 1782, when British troops were finally withdrawn during the closing days of the war.Come and take it
"Come and take it" is a historic slogan, first used in 480 BC in the Battle of Thermopylae as "Molon labe" by Spartan King Leonidas I as a defiant answer and last stand to the surrender demanded by the Persian Army, and later in 1778 at Fort Morris in the Province of Georgia during the American revolution, and in 1835 at the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution.Georgia Day
Georgia Day is the holiday which the U.S. state of Georgia recognizes in honor of its colonial founding as the Province of Georgia. On February 12, 1733 [NS] James Oglethorpe landed the first settlers in the Anne, at what was to become Georgia's first city (and later the first state capital), Savannah. Not a public holiday, it was created by Georgia's General Assembly, which provided that Feb. 12, "the anniversary of the landing of the first colonists in Georgia under Oglethorpe"—be observed in the public schools as Georgia Day. The law was never repealed, but was not included in the code when it was officially compiled in 1981. Its official legal status is unclear.
Georgia Day is now observed on or around February 12 at the Georgia Day Parade hosted by the Georgia Historical Society as part of the Georgia History Festival, a two-week celebration of Georgia history.Georgia Militia
The Georgia Militia existed from 1733 to 1879. It was originally planned by General James Oglethorpe prior to the founding of the Province of Georgia, the British colony that would become the U.S. state of Georgia. One reason for the founding of the colony was to act as a buffer between the Spanish settlements in Florida and the British colonies to the north. For background with respect to the region's Native Americans, see the Yamasee War (1715–1717) and Cherokee–American wars (1776–1795).
Gordon Smith states, "'ante-bellum' Georgia was in an almost constant swirl of 'war or rumors of war'." This was due to the presence of Tories, Indians, bandits, privateers and border disputes with France and Spain. "Central to the American concept of a republican democracy, composed as it was of citizen-soldiers, the militia system was essential to the political and social structure. The basic building blocks at the bottom of the Georgia Militia pyramid were the general militia districts. Formally established pursuant to the Militia Act of 1784, these theoretically contained one company of at least sixty-three men … the governor as commander-in-chief. ... "The General Militia Acts of 1803, 1807, and 1818 directed that all district male residents from eighteen to forty-five years old, except those exempted by laws such as ministers, enrol in their district company and perform regularly scheduled drills, at the designated unit muster ground." Campaigns included the American Revolutionary War, 1775–1783, the Oconee Wars, 1787–1797, The Embargo Wars, 1807–1812, the War of 1812, 1812–1815, the First Seminole War, 1817–1819, the Second Seminole War, 1835–1843, the Creek War of 1836, 1836–1837, the Cherokee Disturbances and Cherokee Removal, 1836–1838, and the Mexican–American War, 1846–1848.Three brigades of Georgia militia under the command of Brigadier General Pleasant J. Philips engaged Union forces on November 22, 1864, near Macon, Georgia, in the Battle of Griswoldville, the first battle of Sherman's March to the Sea. On April 16, 1865, in response to Wilson's Raid through Alabama, Georgia forces under the command of Brigadier General Robert C. Tyler engaged union force in the Battle of West Point. The desperate Battle of Columbus (1865), fought the same day, would prove to be one of the last battles of the American Civil War east of the Mississippi River.History of slavery in Georgia (U.S. state)
Slavery in Georgia is known to have been practiced by the original or earliest-known inhabitants of the future colony and state of Georgia, for centuries prior to European colonization. During the colonial era, the practice of Indian slavery in Georgia soon became surpassed by industrial-scale plantation slavery.
The penal colony of the Province of Georgia under James Oglethorpe banned slavery in 1735, the only one of the thirteen colonies to have done so. However, it was legalized by royal decree in 1751, in part due to George Whitefield's support for the institution of slavery.Khvilisha Church
Khvilisha Church is an 8th- or, more likely, 9th-century Georgian Orthodox church located along the southern outskirts and side of the main road through the village of Aspindza in the Aspindza Municipality and Samtskhe-Javakheti province of Georgia. The church was renovated in the 1970s, where collapsed portions of upper walls and a missing vault were reconstructed.List of colonial governors of Georgia
This is of the governors of the Province of Georgia from 1732 until 1782, including the restored Loyalist administration during the War of American Independence.Mtskheta
Mtskheta (Georgian: მცხეთა, translit.: mtskheta [mtsʰxɛtʰɑ]) is a city in Mtskheta-Mtianeti province of Georgia. One of the oldest cities of Georgia, it is located approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Tbilisi, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers.
Due to its historical significance and several cultural monuments, the "Historical Monuments of Mtskheta" became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. As the birthplace and one of the most vibrant centers of Christianity in Georgia, Mtskheta was declared as the "Holy City" by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.In 2016 the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta were placed by UNESCO under Enhanced Protection, a mechanism established by the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.Noble Jones
Noble Jones (1702, Herefordshire – November 2, 1775), an English carpenter, was one of the first settlers of the Province of Georgia and one of its leading officials. As part of Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe's 42nd (old) Regiment of Foot, he commanded Georgia's Northern Company of Marines during the War of Jenkins' Ear (1739–48). He was the father of Noble Wimberly Jones, a physician, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, and prominent leader of the Georgia patriots during the American Revolution.
Noble Jones established the Wormsloe Plantation eight miles from Savannah in the late 1730s. Most of the plantation is now open to the public as a state historic site.Safavid Georgia
The province of Georgia (Persian: ولایت گرجستان, romanized: Velāyat-e Gorjestān) was a velayat (province) of the Safavid Empire located in the area of present-day Georgia. The territory of the province was principally made up of the two subordinate eastern Georgian kingdoms of Kartli (Persian: کارتلی, romanized: Kartil) and Kakheti (Persian: کاختی, romanized: Kakhet) and, briefly, parts of the Principality of Samtskhe. The city of Tiflis (present-day Tbilisi) was its administrative center, the base of Safavid power in the province, and the seat of the rulers of Kartli. It also housed an important Safavid mint.
Safavid rule was mainly exercised through the approval or appointment of Georgian royals of the Bagrationi dynasty, at times converts to Shia Islam, as valis or khans. The eastern Georgian kingdoms had been subjected in the early 16th century, their rulers did not commonly convert. Tiflis was garrisoned by an Iranian force as early as Ismail I's reign, but relations between the Georgians and Safavids at the time mostly bore features of traditional vassalage. Davud Khan (David XI) was the first Safavid-appointed ruler, whose placement on the throne of Kartli in 1562 marked the start of nearly two and a half centuries of Iranian political control of eastern Georgia. During the same period, Iranian cultural influence dominated eastern Georgia.
From Tahmasp I's reign onwards (r. 1524–1576), the province was of great strategic importance. Many ethnic Georgians, generally from Kartli and Kakheti, rose to prominence in the Safavid state. These men held many of the highest positions in the civil and military administration, and many women entered the harem of the ruling class. By the late Safavid period, Georgians formed the mainstay of the Safavid army as well. The establishment of a large Georgian community in Iran proper dates back to the era of Safavid suzerainty in Georgia. As the province was a border entity, the valis of Georgia exercised more autonomy than other provinces of the Safavid empire; it could therefore be compared to the Arabestan Province (present-day Khuzestan Province), in the southwestern part of the empire. The province of Georgia was one of only four Safavid administrative territories where governors were consistently given the title of vali.Samtskhe–Javakheti
Samtskhe–Javakheti (Georgian: სამცხე-ჯავახეთი, pronounced [sɑmtsʰxɛ dʒɑvaxɛtʰi]), is a region (mkhare) in southern Georgia which includes the historical Georgian provinces of Meskheti, Javakheti and Tori. Akhaltsikhe is its capital.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucasus natural gas pipeline, and the Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway pass through the region.Southern Colonies
The Southern Colonies within British America consisted of the Province of Maryland, the Colony of Virginia,
the Province of Carolina (in 1712 split into North and South Carolina) and the Province of Georgia. In 1763, the newly created colonies of East Florida and West Florida would be added to the Southern Colonies by Great Britain.
These colonies would become the historical core of what would become the Southern United States, or "Dixie".
The colonies developed prosperous economies based on the cultivation of cash crops, such as tobacco, indigo, and rice. A side effect of the cultivation of these crops was the presence of slavery in significantly higher proportions than in other parts of British America.Svaneti
Svaneti or Svanetia (Suania in ancient sources; Georgian: სვანეთი Svaneti) is a historic province of Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by the Svans, an ethnic subgroup of Georgians.Udi language
The Udi language, spoken by the Udi people, is a member of the Lezgic branch of the Northeast Caucasian language family. It is believed an earlier form of it was the main language of Caucasian Albania, which stretched from south Dagestan to current day Azerbaijan. The Old Udi language is also called the Caucasian Albanian language and possibly corresponds to the "Gargarian" language identified by medieval Armenian historians. Modern Udi is known simply as Udi.
The language is spoken by about 4,000 people in the Azerbaijani village of Nij in Qabala rayon, in Oghuz rayon, as well as in parts of the North Caucasus in Russia. It is also spoken by ethnic Udis living in the villages of Debetavan, Bagratashen, Ptghavan, and Haghtanak in Tavush Province of northeastern Armenia and in the village of Zinobiani (former Oktomberi) in the Kvareli Municipality of the Kakheti province of Georgia.
Udi is endangered, classified as "severely endangered" by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.Western Armenian
Western Armenian (Classical spelling: արեւմտահայերէն, arevmdahayerên) is one of the two standardized forms of Modern Armenian, the other being Eastern Armenian. Until the early 20th century, various Western Armenian dialects were spoken in the Ottoman Empire, especially in the eastern regions historically populated by Armenians known as Western Armenia. The spoken or dialectal varieties of Western Armenian currently in use include Homshetsi, spoken by the Hemshin peoples; the dialects of Armenians of Kessab, Latakia and Jisr al-Shughur of Syria, Anjar of Lebanon, and Vakıflı, of Turkey (part of the "Sueidia" dialect.
Forms of the Karin dialect of Western Armenian are spoken by several hundred thousand people in Northern Armenia, mostly in Gyumri, Artik, Akhuryan, and around 130 villages in the Shirak province, and by Armenians in Samtskhe–Javakheti province of Georgia (Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe).As mostly a diasporic language, and as a language that is not an official language of any state, Western Armenian faces extinction as its native speakers lose fluency in Western Armenian amid pressures to assimilate into their host countries. Estimates place the number of fluent speakers of Western Armenian outside Armenia and Georgia at less than one million.