Geography and Landforms:

Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River and is 21st in size among the other states. The northernmost part of the state consists of broad valleys, rivers, and forested mountain ridges. These ridges are part of the southern section of the Appalachian Mountains. Georgia's highest point, Brasstown Bald Mountain (4,784 feet above sea level) is located here. The Piedmont section slopes gradually from this mountainous area down to the coastal plains. It is an area of rolling hills that contains several of the state's largest cities including Atlanta and Augusta. The "fall line" forms the southern boundary of this geographic area. Rivers flowing from the Piedmont to the neighboring Coastal Plain create "falls" or rapids along this line. The Atlantic Coastal Plain lies to the southeast of the Piedmont. The soil in this area is good for growing peanuts, sweet potatoes, and tobacco. The Okefenokee Swamp is in the southern part of this region. The East Gulf Coastal Plain is located southwest of the Piedmont. It is an area of rich farmland.


The first European to enter the Georgia Region was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540. A French colony was established a few years later, but this angered King Philip I of Spain. In 1565, the Spanish drove the French out. The Spanish later established several forts along the Atlantic Coast.

England also claimed this area. Charles I of England included the Georgia Region in a colonial land grant in 1629. By 1730, a group of Englishmen had developed a plan for establishing a British colony in the area. It was to be called "Georgia" in honor of King George II. They hoped to use the colony as a place to send British citizens who had failed to pay their debts, but the idea was soon abandoned.

Despite protests by the Spanish, Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe, along with a group of settlers, arrived in 1733 at the site of present-day Savannah. They were part of a 21-year long charter for the new colony that had been granted by King George to a British Corporation known as the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia. During that span of time, more than 4,000 settlers entered Georgia, at least half of them at the expense of the Trustees. Georgia was the last of the original thirteen colonies to be founded.

The Spanish became increasingly upset by the presence of the British. In 1739, a war broke out between England and Spain. James Oglethorpe successfully defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh on St. Simons Island in 1742. This brought an end to the struggle over control of the Georgia Region. A year later, Oglethorpe left for England, never to return to the New World.

Soon the desire to be independent from Great Britain spread to the Georgia colony. After the American Revolution began in Massachusetts in 1775, many Georgians banded together and seized power from the colony's British-appointed governor, James Wright. Georgia declared independence from Britain in 1776.

But some Georgians remained loyal to the British crown. During this period, fighting occurred not only between American and British forces, but between the citizens of Georgia.

The first major Revolutionary War battle on Georgia soil was fought in December of 1778 when Savannah was captured by British troops. The British had seized all of Georgia by 1779, but they were driven out of the state by 1782. The American Revolution ended in 1783. Georgia had suffered much destruction and the loss of many lives.

In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, the forerunner to the United States Constitution.

During the 1800s, Georgia experienced great growth. The development of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793 resulted in the expansion of cotton farming within the state. Settlers and land companies began developing Georgia rapidly during this time. The Federal Government promised to help Georgia remove the Native Americans from its land. The government purchased land from the Cherokee and Creek Indians, forcing them to leave the state. The former Indian lands were quickly cleared and cotton farms were established.

The economy of Georgia was based on cotton. Cotton farms depended heavily on slave labor. In 1860, after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the institution of slavery, the governor of Georgia, Joseph Brown, led his state in a movement to secede from the Union. On January 19, 1861, Georgia became the 5th state to withdraw from the Union. Georgia joined the Confederate States of America a few months later and the Civil War began in April of that year.

Although the Confederates won the first major battle in George - the Battle of Chickamauga in September of 1863 - the state suffered devastating losses the next year. Union General William Tecumseh Sherman captured the city of Atlanta, and then continued on his famous "March to the Sea." Along the way, Sherman and his troops plundered farms and homes, and destroyed factories, mills, buildings, and railroads. The city of Savannah was captured in December of 1864, and the Civil War came to an end the following April.


Agriculture makes up a large part of Georgia's economy. The state's most important crops are peanuts, corn, cotton, peaches, soybeans and tobacco. The vast pine forests in the northern part of the state provide much of the world's supply of resins and turpentine.

Georgia is an important manufacturer of textiles, paper, food products, transportation equipment, clothing, and chemicals. Mines within the state produce barite - a mineral used in the manufacturing of rubber and paper - and bauxite - the ore from which aluminum is made. Georgia is also a leading producer of marble.

First Inhabitants:

The Moundbuilders were the earliest inhabitants of what is now the state of Georgia. They were a group of Indians whose leaders lived in temples atop large earthen mounds. Their civilization was located in the northwest and southern portions of the state. The Moundbuilders occupied this area from 1000AD until approximately 1550AD when the first European settlers arrived.

Other Native American tribes had also established cultures throughout the Georgia region. The Creek Indians lived in the south and the Cherokee occupied the northern part of the state.

Books Related To Georgia

47 - Walter Mosley
(978-0316016353) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 860, ESL level: 4
A young male slave without a name struggles to grow up until he meets Tall John from whom he learns about magic, escape, and freedom.

A Circle Unbroken - Sollace Hotze
(978-0395597026) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 920, ESL level: 4 - 5
Despite being kidnapped and abused by Dakota Indians, Rachel has a difficult readjustment to life with her own family when they find her and return her to home.

The Ever-After Bird - Ann Rinaldi
(978-0547258546) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-9, Lexile: 630, ESL level: 3 - 4
As a young teen, Cecilia learns about more than birds when she tries to help her ornithologist uncle find a rare "Scarlet Ibis"; she sees the workings of the Underground Railroad firsthand."

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia - Barbara O'Connor
(978-0374400187) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 740, ESL level: 2 - 3
Bird Weaver tries to boost her unpopularity by enlisting the help of a new student to help her win the school spelling bee.

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester - Barbara O'Connor
(978-0374368500) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 3
Owen's wild bullfrog disappears, but Owen and his friends try to use a submarine that slipped off a locomotive to search for the frog Tooley.

Freedom Train - Evelyn Coleman
(978-0689847165) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 650, ESL level: 4
When his older brother board the Freedom Train to guard its vital documents, Clyde befriends an African American youth.

My Name is Sally Little Song - Brenda Woods
(978-0399243127) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 780, ESL level: 3
A young slave girl leaves Georgia with her family in search of freedom.

Numbering All the Bones - Ann Rinaldi
(978-0786813780) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-10, Lexile: 600, ESL level: 3 - 4
Eulinda, a young teen slave in 1864, has a difficult time with her newly declared freedom.

P is for Peach: A Georgia Alphabet - Carol Crane
(978-1585360468) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 1 - 2
This book features all the things that are special about the state of Georgia.

Peaches - Jodi Lynn Anderson
(978-0060733070) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 850, ESL level: 4 - 5
Three teen girls become friends when they spend their summer vacation picking peaches.

Pink and Say - Patricia Polacco
(978-0399226717) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-12, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 3
A fictionalized account of a true incident, this book recreates how African-American Pinkus Aylee met a Union soldier, how their friendship developed, and what happened when they were captured by the South.

Shug - Jenny Han
(978-1416909439) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 680, ESL level: 3 - 4
A small town Southern girl struggles through a first crush and developing self confidence despite her fractured home life.

Famous Citizens:

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter
The thirty-ninth president of the United States, James Earl Carter, was born in Plains, Georgia. His presidency produced the Panama Treaty and the historic Camp David agreements between Israel and Egypt. In the years after his presidency, Carter has become active in many social concerns including building homes for the poor through Habitat for Humanity. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Joel Chandler Harris
Joel Chandler Harris was born near Eatonton, Georgia. He was a humorist, short-story writer, journalist and children's writer who is best known for his Uncle Remus stories. In recognition of his contributions to American Literature, Harris was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. (Library of Congress photo.)

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister and civil rights leader, was one of the most important forces in America's civil rights struggle during the 1960s. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929, King used a non-violent approach in his effort to stop segregation and discrimination. He is best known for his "I Have A Dream" speech which he delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated in 1968.

Juliette Gordon Low
Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah, Georgia. She established the Girl Scouts of America in 1912 with a group of 18 girls in Savannah. By the time of her death in 1927, there were more than 167,000 Girl Scouts in the United States. On the eightieth anniversary of the organization, the Girl Scouts had served an estimated fifty million members worldwide.

Margaret Mitchell
Author Margaret Mitchell was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She is best known for her novel Gone with the Wind (1936). It became an instant best seller and Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1937. The novel was made into a motion picture in 1939 and has become a film classic. (Library of Congress photo.)

Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia. She is considered one of the greatest short-story writers of the 20th century. Her works won three O. Henry Awards for short fiction, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and include A Good Man is Hard to Find, and Wise Blood.

Capital: Atlanta
Entered Union: January 2, 1788
Population: 10,097,343
Area 59,425
Bird Brown Thrasher
Flower Cherokee Rose
Nickname: Peach State
Governor Nathan Deal

Places to Visit in Georgia: (Click the links to learn more.)

Etowah Mounds - Cartersville
Built by the prehistoric Mound Builder Indians, these mounds rise 65 feet and cover 3 acres. This is the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeastern United States. A museum displays artifacts that reveal much about the people who lived here more than 500 years ago.

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation - Brunswick
Discover the culture of an historic rice plantation along the Altamaha River. Walk beneath live oaks to the antebellum home furnished with fine antiques. Learn about the everyday lives of planters and slaves who worked in the marshes surrounding this plantation.

Wren's Nest House Museum - Atlanta
Atlanta's oldest house museum and a National Historic Landmark, the Wren's Nest takes you back to the Victorian world of author Joel Chandler Harris. Experience life as it was in Atlanta's West End at the turn of the 20th century and learn about African American folklore through story telling.

Dahlonega Gold Museum - Dahlonega
The Museum, once the old Lumpkin County Court House, is the oldest public building in North Georgia. After Benjamin Parks discovered gold in this area while deer hunting in 1828, thousands of gold seekers flocked to this part of Georgia, beginning the nation's first major gold rush. The museum houses old mining equipment, artifacts, and historical information. Look closely for the flecks of gold in the building's bricks!

Andersonville National Historic Site - Andersonville
Andersonville was one of the largest of the Confederate military prisons established during the Civil War. It was built early in 1864. More than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Almost 13,000 men died from disease, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements. Today, it serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war.