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A combination of the Old South and the New, Georgia is a land of gracious historic plantations and contemporary high-rise office buildings. It's the home of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind and Ted Turner's Cable News Network. Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta. The Girl Scouts began in Savannah.
When the Spanish arrived around 1840, they found a native civilization with a well-developed agricultural system. They took control and forced Catholicism on the Creek, Cherokee, and other native tribes. The Spanish's presence waned as the English encroached from the north, but both nations proved devastating on the Indians, many of whom were enslaved, died of disease, or were ultimately forced out of the state and into the Midwest.
The British's presence wasn't formalized until General James Oglethorpe established a colony at Savannah in 1733 and named it for King George II of England. Oglethorpe created a colony in the hopes of giving a new chance to the impoverished of England by offering immigrants small farms that could produce crops for the good of the home country. Oglethorpe even banned slavery in order to discourage large, plantation-style farms and instead create self-reliance in the previously indebted.
Economic competition during the 1800s and the Civil War changed any utopian tendencies, especially after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous March to the Sea left much of the state in ashes. Reconstruction began after the war ended in 1865. The road to recovery was slow and often painful, but the state has become a Southern success story.
Today, Georgia maintains many of the traditions of the past while celebrating the promise of the future. Stretching some 315 miles from north to south, it's the largest state east of the Mississippi River. In population, it ranks 10th among U.S. states. Atlanta, the capital, offers a full vacation's worth of attractions and activities and is essentially the "capital of the South." And the rest of Georgia is within an easy day's drive of Atlanta.
Heading north from Atlanta, you can visit the Historic High Country and the Northeast Georgia Mountains. To the south, you can trace the Presidential Pathways, visit the Historic Heartland and experience the Classic South. Still farther south are the regions called Plantation Trace and Magnolia Midlands. Finally, there's the Colonial Coast where Georgia began. All the travel regions are filled with historic sites, beautiful gardens, outdoor recreation, and friendly people waiting to provide opportunities for you to experience the Georgia of today and yesterday.