Before settlement by Europeans, Georgia was inhabited by the
mound building cultures. The British colony of Georgia was founded by
James Oglethorpe on February 12, 1733.
 The colony was administered by the
Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America under a charter issued by (and named for)
King George II. The Trustees implemented an elaborate plan for the colony's settlement, known as
the Oglethorpe Plan, which envisioned an agrarian society of
yeoman farmers and prohibited slavery. The colony was
invaded by the Spanish in 1742, during the
War of Jenkins' Ear. In 1752, after the government failed to renew subsidies that had helped support the colony, the Trustees turned over control to the
crown. Georgia became a
crown colony, with a governor appointed by the king.
Province of Georgia was one of the
Thirteen Colonies that revolted against
British rule in the
American Revolution by signing the 1776
Declaration of Independence. The State of Georgia's first constitution was ratified in February 1777. Georgia was the 10th state to ratify the Articles of Confederation on July 24, 1778,
 and was the 4th state to ratify the current
Constitution on January 2, 1788.
In 1829, gold was discovered in the
North Georgia mountains, which led to the
Georgia Gold Rush and an established federal mint in
Dahlonega, which continued its operation until 1861. The subsequent influx of white settlers put pressure on the government to take land from the
Cherokee Nation. In 1830,
Andrew Jackson signed the
Indian Removal Act into law, sending many eastern Native American nations to
reservations in present-day Oklahoma, including all of Georgia's tribes. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in
Worcester v. Georgia (1832) that ruled U.S. states were not permitted to redraw the Indian boundaries, President Jackson and the state of Georgia ignored the ruling. In 1838, his successor,
Martin Van Buren, dispatched federal troops to gather the Cherokee and deport them west of the
Mississippi. This forced relocation, known as the
Trail of Tears, led to the death of over 4,000 Cherokees.
In early 1861, Georgia joined the
Confederacy and became a major
theater of the
Civil War. Major battles took place at
Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. In December 1864, a large swath of the state from Atlanta to Savannah was destroyed during General
William Tecumseh Sherman's
March to the Sea. 18,253 Georgian soldiers died in service, roughly one of every five who served.
 In 1870, following the
Reconstruction Era, Georgia became the last Confederate state to be restored to the
A girl spinner in a Georgia cotton mill, 1909.
With white Democrats having regained power in the state legislature, they passed a
poll tax in 1877, which
disenfranchised many poor blacks and whites, preventing them from registering.
 In 1908, the state established a
white primary; with the only competitive contests within the Democratic Party, it was another way to exclude blacks from politics.
 They constituted 46.7% of the state's population in 1900, but the proportion of Georgia's population that was African American dropped thereafter to 28% primarily due to leaving the state during the
 This disfranchisement persisted through the mid-1960s, until federal legislation with the
Voting Rights Act of 1965.