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Georgia was founded in 1732 and became a state in 1788. It was named in honor of King George II, the reigning king of England at the time of its settlement. Its most commonly-used nickname is the Peach State. Originally, the founder of the colony, James Oglethorpe, envisioned Georgia as a refuge for indebted prisoners in London, many of whom were released from debtors’ prisons with no means of support. He and a group of trustees petitioned the King for the opportunity to establish the colony, and they set sail for New England. They landed in South Carolina in late 1732, at which time the mission was changed from the debtors’ refuge to protection of South Carolina and other neighboring colonies from the Spanish invasion. They settled in what is now Savannah, Georgia in early 1733. In 1742, the colony was attacked Spain during the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Oglethorpe and the locals beat the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh, and eventually, the Spanish signed a treaty, confirming that the British owned the area in and around Georgia. In 1735, slavery was banned in Georgia, though by 1749, the trustees of Georgia thought better of that ban, realizing that their neighbors were benefitting from the labor which the slaves provided. Atlanta has been the capital since 1868, but prior to that, the capital has been established as Savannah, then Augusta, Louisville, Milledgeville, and during the War of Northern Aggression, official meetings were held in Macon. In 1864, Union prisoners were held in the town of Andersonville.During the 15 years that the Andersonville Prison existed, 45,000 soldiers were imprisoned there, with at least 13,000 dying from malnutrition, disease, or exposure. For some time, more than 100 people died per day. After the war, the commanding officer of the prison camp was the only one tried and executed as a war criminal.

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