Georgia's early years
In 1540, Hernando deSoto led 600 Spanish soldiers,
businessmen, entrepreneurs, and priests on a journey through Georgia and the
The group was searching for gold and other means
of wealth which they could claim for themselves and fellow Spaniards. Along
de Soto often took shelter with Native Americans. At the area of present-day
Lake he visited a capital city of the Moundbuilders.
The visit ended in a violent clash with the Indians. In Cartersville (History
of Cartersville, Ga.), de Soto visited the former settlement along
the Etowah River, Etowah Indian Mounds. From
there the Spaniard traveled down river to Ulibahali(some sources say Chiaha),
an Indian village at the site of present day Rome,
Georgia. Here deSoto arrested the town leaders, took hostages and slaves, and
ransacked the granaries in August or September leaving nothing for the approaching
winter. He left the state traveling west along the Coosa river. Franciscan
established missions under Spanish control at Jekyll and St. Simon's
islands in 1566.
By 1650, the Cherokee Nation had
successfully migrated southward, occupying more than 40,000 square miles in
the southern Appalachian Mountains. After initial encounters the Cherokee and
Creek lived peacefully as neighbors until the late 1700's when a great war occurred,
culminating in a confrontation in present-day Cherokee
County. This encounter resulted in the retreat of the Creek
Nation to land south of the Chattahoochee
Around 1670, as South Carolina became more populated
the Franciscan settlement in Georgia posed a threat. English settlers in
Charleston saw these missions
as intrusions and petitioned the crown for relief. By 1686 the Spanish retreated
to south of St. Mary's river which forms the eastern border of present
and Florida. Over the next 35 years Spain, France and England all laid claim
Sir John Perceval, Earl of Egmont and 19 associates petitioned George II for
a royal charter to establish a colony southwest of Carolina on July 30, 1730.
The purpose of the colony was to:
- Establish a buffer zone between Spanish Florida and South Carolina;
- Provide economic opportunities for the English poor and;
- Provide a refuge for European Protestants.
Oglethorpe founded Savannah on February 1, 1733 with 116
The idea of a new colony was inspired by Oglethorpe's work as Chairman of a
parliamentary committee investigating English jails but the response was so
great that it was necessary to screen applicants and released debtors were eliminated.
Georgia did not prosper under Oglethorpe and the
The Trustees decided to surrender the charter in 1751 when Parliament rejected
their annual request for a subsidy and signed the deed of surrender on June
23, 1752. They continued as a defacto government until relieved by a royal governor
on October 31 1754.
|The Cherokee Indians
is a Numerous & Warlike
Nation & as they are in Unity & Alliance with the Subjects of the King of
Great Britain, they serve as a powerful Barrier to Carolina & Georgia in
the present War against France & Spain, The Emperor of the Cherokees & the
King of the Catawagas renew'd their League of Friendship with Gov. Glenn
at Charles Town in South Carolina in May, 1745.
North Georgia before the Revolution
In north Georgia the Cherokee reigned in their "Enchanted Land," which
stretched from the Chattahoochee on the south (after the battle of Taliwa,
1755) to the
Ohio River and beyond and from the Mississippi in the West to Appalachian Mountains
in the East. South of the Chattahoochee
River the Creek controlled the land.
White hunters had begun to encroach on the Cherokee Hunting Grounds and "countrymen," settlers
who lived with their Cherokee spouses, were widely accepted. There were very
few settlers north or west of the present Wilkes County line. Some
of the places that did have white settlers in North Georgia were in the area
near Chattanooga (History of Chattanooga),
in the northwest corner of the state, Talking Rock, and Hog Mountain, (present-day
north Gwinnett County).
Slaves who escaped were accepted into Cherokee culture as equals.
Other Links of interest:
Supposedly, one of Hernando deSoto's men left a breastplate in the area, discovered
in the 1880's
Lt. Col. Samuel Taylor's in-depth look at the entire state before the Revolution.
American Revolution in Georgia
Randy Golden's orginal series on the Revolutionary War and Georgia
Georgia and the American Revolution
Randy Golden's updated and expanded series on the Revolutionary War in Georgia
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