Province of Georgia

Province of Georgia
1732–1777
Flag of Georgia Colony
Flag
A map of the Province of Georgia, 1732–1777
A map of the Province of Georgia, 1732–1777
StatusColony (Kingdom of Great Britain)
CapitalSavannah
Common languagesEnglish, Mikasuki, Cherokee, Muscogee, Shawnee, Yuchi
Religion Church of England (Anglicanism)
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
King 
• 1732–1760
George II
• 1760–1777
George III
Governor 
• 1732–1743
James Oglethorpe (first)
• 1760–1782
James Wright (last)
LegislatureCommons House of Assembly (lower)
General Assembly (upper)
Historical eraColonial Era
• Established
1732
• Disestablished
1777
CurrencyGeorgia pound
Succeeded by
Georgia (U.S. state)
Today part of United States

The Province of Georgia[1] (also Georgia Colony) was one of the Southern colonies in British America. It was the last of the thirteen original American colonies established by Great Britain in what later became the United States. In the original grant, a narrow strip of the province extended to the Pacific Ocean.[2]

The colony's corporate charter[3] was granted to General James Oglethorpe on April 21, 1732, by George II, for whom the colony was named. The charter was finalized by the King's privy council on June 9, 1732.

Oglethorpe envisioned a colony which would serve as a haven for English subjects who had been imprisoned for debt. General Oglethorpe imposed very strict laws that many colonists disagreed with, such as the banning of alcoholic beverages.[4] He disagreed with slavery and thought a system of smallholdings more appropriate than the large plantations common in the colonies just to the north. However, land grants were not as large as most colonists would have preferred. Oglethorpe envisioned the province as a location for the resettlement of English debtors and "the worthy poor."

Another reason for the founding of the colony was as a "buffer state" (border), or "garrison province" which would defend the southern British colonies from Spanish Florida. Oglethorpe imagined a province populated by "sturdy farmers" who could guard the border; because of this, the colony's charter prohibited slavery.[1] The ban on slavery was lifted by 1751 and the colony became a royal colony by 1752.[5]

Foundation

Although many believe that the colony was formed for the imprisoned, the colony was actually formed as a place of no slavery and respect to Native Americans. Oglethorpe did have the vision to make it a place for debtors, but it transformed into a royal colony. The following is an historical accounting of these first English settlers sent to Georgia:

A committee was appointed to visit the jails and obtain the discharge of such poor prisoners as were worthy, carefully investigating character, circumstances and antecedents.[6]

Thirty-five families, numbering one hundred and twenty persons, were selected.[7]

On the 16th of November, 1732, the emigrants embarked at Gravesend on the ship Anne ... arriving January 13th [1733] in the harbor of Charleston, S. C. ...

They set sail the day following ... into Port Royal, some eighty miles southward, to be conveyed in small vessels to the river Savannah.[7]

Oglethorpe continued up the river to scout a location suitable for settlement. On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe led the settlers to their arrival at Yamacraw Bluff, in what is now the city of Savannah, and established a camp with the help of a local elderly Creek chief, Tomochichi. A Yamacraw Indian village had occupied the site, but Oglethorpe arranged for the Indians to move. The day is still celebrated as Georgia Day.

The original charter specified the colony as being between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, up to their headwaters (the headwaters of the Altamaha are on the Ocmulgee River), and then extending westward "to the south seas." The area within the charter had previously been part of the original grant of the Province of Carolina, which was closely linked to Georgia.[1]