Saturday, January 2, 2010

Empire of the South

Magnet # 132:  Map of Georgia

Material:  Rubber 

Purchased By:  Me

Today, back in 1788, Georgia ratified the U.S. Constitution, joining the nation.  Although it had been the final of the original thirteen colonies, it became the fourth state.  In its time before becoming a state, the area of Georgia saw plenty of drama.  While the English were settling the Carolinas, and the Spanish were taking over Florida, the land that would become Georgia separated the two territories, and both powers wanted to control it.  Spain established some missions in the Southern, coastal parts of the area, but eventually the English and the Indians drove them as far back as Pensacola and St. Augustine, and the Province of Georgia was established.  For awhile, no one was quite sure what to do with Georgia, and some even considered sending debtors or convicts there, as they later would do in Australia.  Eventually, the land was given by charter to a group of philanthropist trustees, who sent over a group of setters that landed in Savannah.  They began to develop a colony there under the leadership of James Oglethorpe, the only trustee to accompany the group.  It was under his guidance that Savannah was laid out, in particular its distinctive squares. Eventually, he returned to England, and when the trustees received less government funding to run Georgia, it was returned to the crown, and became a crown colony and later a royal colony.  And when the American Revolution began, although Georgia was dedicated to the cause, their militia was relatively new, and the British soon captured Savannah and held it for the duration of the war. Although they were quick to accept the U.S. Constitution, they weren't so prompt in creating one for their own state - over a period of nearly 100 years, the state has created 10 - more than any other state except Louisiana.

Nowadays, Georgia is perhaps the most successful state in the Southeastern United States, thanks in large part to its capitol, Atlanta, one of the top business cities in the nation.  It's ranked the ninth most populated state in the nation.  In addition to being the corporate headquarters for many international corporations, it also is home a great deal of military installations.  It also produces a great deal of food, and is home to textile, mineral, and timber industries.  And it was the first state in the nation to ever experience a gold rush in 1828, when gold was discovered in the northern regions of the state.  Although that rush would run its course, the gold from that area would one day cover the dome of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.  Georgia has indeed come a great deal since its humble beginnings and seems to positioned to achieve even more impressive accomplishments.

What can I say about Georgia?  Well, I've lived here for around a decade, but I guess I don't have quite the same emotional attachment to this state as I do to Texas and Alabama, probably because none of my family lives here.  That's not to say I don't like this state - really, I do.  It has so many interesting places and a great deal of variation between areas like coastal, historical Savannah, booming, urban Atlanta, and the more peaceful mountains in northern Georgia.  And I have seen a good deal of the state, and feel pretty comfortable here.  This is where I first learned to live on my own, and do a good deal of driving on my own when traveling over to see my parents in Alabama, or down to Waycross and Florida to visit friends there.  And while I've seen a good deal of what this state has to offer, I realize there's plenty more left for me to see, and look forward to my future travels in this great state.  And I do think that if I ever leave Georgia, I may find that I have a strong emotional tie to it than I ever imagined, as this is the state I became an adult in.  I'm not sure I could have picked a better one.

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