Happy Georgia Day!

Happy Georgia Day, everyone! Although I now proudly call North Carolina home, I spent the first 33 years of my life in the great state of Georgia. As such, I’m kind of attached to my “home” state.

On February 12, 1733, British general and philanthropist James Oglethorpe disembarked from the HMS Anne with the first settlers of the future city of Savannah. Interestingly, Georgia was originally founded as a “debtor’s colony” – a colony where Britain’s “worthy poor” could grow silk, indigo or rice to pay off their debts. However, so many years passed between the initial idea and the actual granting of the royal charter that few debtors actually made the move. In fact, less than two dozen households would move to Georgia to pay off their debts. Instead, the colony was filled with poor English artisans and tradesmen, as well as Protestant refugees from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. When it became clear that the Trustees of the Province of Georgia could no longer govern the colony (especially since their initial goal of helping debtors had been ignored), Georgia became a crown colony. After joining the Revolution despite the large number of Loyalists in the colony, Georgia eventually became the fourth state of the new United States of America by ratifying the Constitution on January 2, 1788.

Some interesting facts about Georgia:

– Although James Oglethorpe didn’t spent a lot of time in Georgia, he did spent a year there 1735. He secretary during this time was Charles Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism. Although Charles and his older brother John were known as “rebels” in the Church of England, Charles remained loyal of the Church of England and died an Anglican priest.

– Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River (although Michigan claims to be larger because they count lakes as “land”). Georgia also has 159 counties, the most of any state in the U.S. besides Texas.

– Georgia was named in honor of King George II of Great Britain. Six other U.S. states are named after monarchs: North and South Carolina are named for King Charles I of England, Virginia and West Virginia were named for Elizabeth I, Maryland is named for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England and Louisiana is named for King Louis XIV of France.

– Georgia’s Cumberland Island is the largest undeveloped island on the Atlantic Coast. You can get to Cumberland Island by taking a ferry from St. Mary’s, the second oldest city in North America.

– Some famous Georgians include Joanne Woodward, Kim Basinger, Julia Roberts, Holly Hunter, Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Oliver Hardy (of “Laurel and Hardy”), Lawrence Fishburne, Ossie Davis, Chris Tucker, Stacy Keach, Robert Patrick, Kip Pardue, DeForest Kelley (“Bones” from Star Trek), David Cross (played Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development), Steven Soderbergh, Bill Hicks, Jeff Foxworthy, Paula Deen, Ed Helms, Sterling Holloway (did the voice for Winnie the Pooh and 100 other Disney films), Spike Lee, Jerry Reed, Burt Reynolds, Nipsey Russell, Ty Pennington, Ryan Seacrest, Ted Turner, Jim Brown, Ty Cobb, Bobby Jones, Larry Holmes, Herschel Walker, Jackie Robinson, Bucky Dent, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, André “André 3000” Benjamin, Jermaine Dupri, Brian “Ludacris” Bridges, TLC, Harry James, Buckner & Garcia (of “Pac Man Fever” fame; they also do the “Waffle House songs”), Brenda Lee, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Ray Stevens, Amy Grant, Jessye Norman, Madeleine Peyroux, Bill Berry and Mike Mills (of R.E.M.), Duane and Gregg Allman (of The Allman Brothers), The Black Crowes, Drivin’ ‘n Cryin’, Guadalcanal Diary, Pylon, The B-52s, Collective Soul, Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic, Howard Finster, Margaret Mitchell, Alice Walker, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, James Dickey, Clarence Thomas, Andrew Young, Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts), John C. Frémont (explorer and first Republican candidate for president), Crawford Long (performed the first surgery with patient under anesthesia), Bert Parks (TV personality and longtime host of the Miss America Pageant), John Pemberton (inventor of Coca-Cola), Pernell Roberts (Trapper John MD!), Junior Samples (if you have to ask…), Will Wright (developed the computer game Sim City), S. Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-Fil-A), Clark Howard and Deborah Norville. There’s also Jimmy Carter and Nancy Grace, but I don’t claim those two… I like to pretend that they’re from Ohio.

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