History of Georgia
Mound building cultures populated the land on which Georgia was founded, before the arrival of the European settlers and establishing the colony on February 11, 1733 (the founder was James Oglethorpe, British general, Member of Parliament, social reformer and a philanthropist). Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America managed the colony in the name of King George II. The Oglethorpe Plan was the detailed plan according to which Georgia Trustees prepared the colony for settlement. This plan proclaimed slavery forbidden and arranged the colony as a society based on agrarian principles, populated by yeoman farmers. After Georgia was attacked by the Spaniards in 1742 in the course of war known as “War of Jenkins’ Ear”, the government didn’t manage to renew the colony-supporting subventions and had to hand the control over to the British crown in 1752. The king of Britain appointed the new governor and made Georgia a crown colony.
After signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Province of Georgia became one of the colonies which rebelled against the British crown in the American Revolution. After the revolution was over, Georgia ratified the Constitution of the United States on January 2, 1788, being the 4th member state to do so.
Discovering of gold reserves in the Georgia Mountains Region in 1829, created the Georgia Gold Rush which lead to the founding of a federal mint in the town of Dahlonega that lasted until 1861. The increased arrival of white settlers made it gradually more difficult to assign new areas of land to them and this forced the government to consider taking the land from the population that belonged to the Cherokee nation. This lead to passing the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which, in turn, resulted in moving the native eastern tribes into reservations in what will later become the state of Oklahoma. The whole action happened despite the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled (in the case Worcester v. Georgia) that redrawing of the borders of the territories populated by Indians was forbidden. The ruling was disregarded by the state of Georgia and the US President Andrew Jackson. The next president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, went even further and sent the federal troops to send the Cherokees west of the Mississippi, which prompted the action which was later to be named the Trail of Tears, a bloody conflict that resulted in the death of more than 4000 Indians.
The Civil War saw Georgia as one of the main participants and the place of major war operations. The Battle of Chickamauga, which took place in 1863, forced the end of an offensive of the Union which was called the Chickamauga Campaign and it is considered to be one of the greatest defeats of the North in the Civil War’s Western Theater. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was fought in 1864 and resulted in a tactical victory for the Confederacy. In the same year, the third important battle, the Battle of Atlanta, finally brought a victory to the forces of the Union led by William T. Sherman, which defeated the Confederate army led by John B. Hood. After the war was over, it took Georgia 5 years (1870) to finally rejoin the Union.
Economy of Georgia
The gross state product of Georgia amounted to 403.1 billion dollars in 2010, while the state’s Per Capita personal income of $33,499 in 2007 ranked it as the 37th in the United States. This would make it the 28th largest economy of the world, if it were an independent country.
Georgia’s industry produces transportation equipment, paper products, electric equipment, cigarettes, apparel and textiles, chemical products and food (peanut, soybean and corn farms are frequent in the central and south Georgia). Main agricultural output are pecans (the number one producer in the world), poultry and eggs, rye, cotton, hogs, peaches, turfgrass, cattle, tobacco, peanuts, vegetables and dairy products. Service and communication industries, together with real estate, had a recent surge in growth in Atlanta. Tourism is also an important factor in the state economy. Timber and mineral industry in Georgia produces different sorts of stones, clays (especially attapulgite), sands and pines. Textile industry is also very present, with carpets being one of the important brands of the state (produced mainly in the city of Dalton).
Both electricity consumption and electricity production in Georgia rank among the highest in the United States. Two nuclear and a number of coal plants generate most of electricity. Georgia is also famous for a large number of installations of the US Military present in the state limits, among which are: Robins Air Force Base, Moody Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Atlanta, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Fort McPherson, Fort Benning, Fort Gillem, Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart and Fort Gordon.
The biggest center of tourism in Georgia is, of course, its biggest city – Atlanta, with Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium and Stone Mountain (which sees millions of tourists per year) as its most popular tourist attractions. Other than Atlanta, important tourist destinations are Callaway Gardens in the western part of the state and the Savannah Historic District, which receives more than eleven million tourists per year.
The six brackets of state income tax in Georgia’s progressive income tax structure range from 1% to 6%. The state legislature makes it possible for municipalities to enforce special local taxes and local sales taxes. Georgia Department of Revenue is in charge of collecting all taxes assigned by the Union and the state.
Gerogia Geography and Climate
Georgia borders with Florida on the south, Alabama on the west, Tennessee and North Carolina on the north, and South Carolina in the north east. Eastern border is the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The boundary between Georgia and South Carolina was drawn in 1797 and it is an all-river boundary, following the Chattooga River to its confluence with the Tagaloo, then going along the Tugaloo to its confluence with the Seneca River where they form the Savannah River. The border then follows the Savannah to its estuary and “Tybee Roads”, the area where the estuary meets the Atlantic Ocean. The treaty which regulated this border is known as the Beaufort Convention.
The north border is a straight line going slightly southwards due to some mistakes made in the original survey. It starts sharply in the east, and ends near Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it makes another sharp turn towards south-southeast. The border is straight until, near West Point, it meets with the Chattahoochee River and follows it to its confluence with the Flint River. From that point, the border goes eastwards until it meets with the origin of the Saint Mary’s River. It then follows the river to the place where it joins the Atlantic Ocean.
Flora and fauna in Georgia are extremely mixed, with 58 protected plants and over 250 tree species, some of which are: oaks, sweetgum, white hickories, cypress, red cedar, maples, pines and scaly-bark. In the areas around the coast and in the south, Palmettos can be found, together with other sub-tropical species. Among animals, there is more than 160 bird species living in Georgia (such as Brown Trasher and northern mockingbird), as well as around 63 amphibian and 79 reptilian species (best known reptilians are cottonmouth, frogs, toads, eastern diamondback, salamanders, copperhead and alligators). There is a large number of Large-tailed deer all around Georgia.
Humid subtropical climate is predominant in the biggest part of the state, with humid, hot summers being typical all around Georgia, with the exception of highest elevated places. Rainfall ranges from moderate to heavy. The record high temperature was measured in Louisville – 112 °F (44.4 °C) on July 24, 1952. The coldest temperature was recorded in Floyd County on January 27, 1940, and it was -17 °F (-27.2 °C). Tornadoes are also one of the prominent features of Georgia’s climate. Though rarely greater strength than F1, they are quite frequent, making Georgia one of the top states according to the number of Tornadoes per year.
Population of Gerogia
According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Georgia on July 1, 2011, was 9,815,210. This was an increase by 1.32% since the United States Census conducted in 2010.The estimated population of Georgia in 2007 was 9,544,750, which is 180,809 more than the previous year and 1,177,125 more than in the year 2000.According to the number of illegal immigrants, Georgia is ranked 6th in the country, with an surge in numbers from the beginning of the 21st century.
The numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census say that Georgia’s total population was 9,687,653. The state was predominantly white, with 59.7% percent of white people (55.9% of Non-Hispanic origin), 30.5% African American or Black, 3.2% Asian (the Asian population in Georgia more than doubled in the last decade of the 20th century), 0.3% Alaska Native or American Indian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 4.0% of people that declared to be of some other race and 2.1% people of mixed racial background. 8.8% of the people of any racial background declared themselves Hispanic or Latinos.
English is the predominantly spoken language across Georgia, with 90% of the residents older than 5 years of age speaking it at home according to the data from 2005. The second most spoken language in Georgia is Spanish with 5.6%, followed by French (0.9%), German (0.8%) and Vietnamese (0.6%). As of 2005, 7.7% of the citizens of Georgia are under 5 years of age, 26.4% are under 18, while 9.6% of the people are older than 64. As of 2008, the percentage of older people increased only slightly (to 10.1%), still ranking Georgia as the state with the third-lowest percentage of elderly.
Before the Civil War, the racial background of Georgia’s population was significantly different due to the large number of African American slaves who were used as a work force. The racial ratio had not significantly changed before the 20th century and the time of Great Migration (1914-1970) which saw many black people moving to the north of the United States, escaping from the rural environment into the more developed, industrial areas.
Protestantism is the most common religious affiliation of the people of Georgia, with 70% of the population belonging to some of its denominations (the most popular denominations are Baptists with 24% of the total population, Methodists with 12%, Presbyterians and Pentecostals with 3%). 12% of the population is Roman Catholic, other religions and Christian denominations take 3%, while 13% consider themselves non-religious.
Georgia Government and Legislation
The government of Georgia does not significantly differ from the governments of all the other American states, nor from the government of the federation. It is based on the trias politica principle, which is a model for the governance of a state which advocates separation of executive, legislative and judicial power. The Governor is the person in which executive authority is contained. His second in command, Lieutenant Governor, serves as the head of the senate and assumes the place (although not the title) of the Governor in case he or she is incapacitated for some reason. In Georgia, unlike in some other states, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are chosen on the separate ballot tickets. Most of the officials that serve as the Governor’s cabinet are also elected separately by the voters, instead of chosen by the Governor – a practice enforced on the federal level.
The General Assembly, consisting of House of Representatives and Senate, is the legislative authority. The aforementioned Lieutenant Governor is the presiding officer of the Senate, while the House of Representatives chooses the speaker to preside over the sessions. Maximum number of senators according to the Constitution of Georgia is 56, while the minimum number of representatives is 180. While senators are elected according to the single-member district system, the 180 representative positions are allocated through representative district, which results in certain districts being able to elect more than one member into the House of Representatives. Senators and representatives are chosen for the two-year terms.
The Supreme Court of the state and Court of Appeals of the state are two institutions with which state judicial authority rests. Probate Courts, Magistrate Courts, Superior Courts and State Courts also exist, but they are smaller in size and have limited geographical authority. Judges for all the courts in Georgia are elected by the citizens of the state – the difference between statewide courts and courts with limited jurisdiction is that the judges of the former are elected into six-year terms, while the length of the term for the latter is four years.
Georgia is the second largest state in the United States (after Texas) by the number of counties – it currently has 159 of these divisions. The only other local units of governments officially recognized in Georgia are cities.
Georgia’s Democrats in the state government held the record for the longest single-party dominance in the United States, mostly due to the effects of Reconstruction, which strengthened the positions of white Democrats. White Democratic governors and white Democrats majority in the General Assembly were elected continuously from 1872 to 2003, for more than 130 years. The white Democrats elected in Georgia were most often so called Dixiecrats, Southern Democrats with beliefs much more conservative than those of Democrats across the nation.
The democrats saw the end of their political supremacy in 2003, when Sonny Perdue, the republican candidate for the governor, defeated Roy Barnes, the Democrat who at that time was the governor of Georgia. After this turning point, the Democrats lost majority in the Senate and not long after, Republican assumed control over all the party controlled elements of the government.
In the second half of the 20th century, Georgia made significant progress in civil rights. Although it is a conservative state with laws which reflect the conservative beliefs, its capital, Atlanta, is famous for being the 3rd major city in the country according to the percentage (12.8%) of the population identifying themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Transportation in Georgia
Georgia Department of Transportation controls and manages the transportation in Georgia. Two biggest roads in the state are Interstate Highways I-75 and I-85. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the state’s primary airport, which together with eight other airports covers Georgia’s needs for commercial traffic. It is famous for being the world’s busiest passenger airport. The only other airport that deals with international flights is Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. Atlanta metropolitan area is covered with rapid transit system called MARTA (The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) which was formed in 1971.
Media in Georgia
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Atlanta metropolitan area is among the ten largest media markets in the United States. Currently, 48 television stations operate in Georgia, most famous of which are: TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network, TCM and TBS. They are all created by one of the most famous residents of Georgia, Ted Turner. The oldest television broadcast station in the state is WSB-TV. It started broadcasting TV signal in 1948 and it is the second oldest TV station in the South. Atlanta Journal – Constitution, with its daily number of readers (195,592) is the most popular daily newspaper in Georgia. Other popular newspapers are: The Telegraph, Columbus Ledger – Enquirer, Savannah Morning News and The Augusta Chronicle.
Education and Health Care in Georgia
Public Education in Georgia is controlled and managed by the Georgia Department of Education. Apart from public schools, there are also private schools and colleges operating in the state. Approximately 70 public colleges, technical colleges and universities operate in Georgia, together with over 45 private institutions. Georgia has the oldest public university in the United States – it is University of Georgia.
Standardized, multiple choice End of Course Test, or EOCT, is an obligatory test which is administered in Georgia’s high schools in U.S. History, Economics, Algebra I, Physical Science, Geometry, Ninth Grade Literature and Composition, Biology and American Literature and Composition.
Georgia has 151 general hospitals as well as other medical institutions which, all together, employ more than 15,000 doctors and a little less than 6,000 dentists. Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta is the biggest hospital in the state by the number of beds (933). Regular exercise is not on the list of priorities for the citizens of this state – Georgia is ranked 41st in the United States in the percentage of people who practice it.