Georgia State Flag
Georgia State Seal
is a southern state of the United
States and its U.S. postal abbreviation is GA. Georgia
was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule
in the American Revolution. It was the thirteenth colony and became
the fourth state, ratifying the United States Constitution on January
2, 1788. Georgia's population in 2000 was 8,186,453 (U.S. Census). It
is also known as the Peach State.
The state song,
Georgia on My Mind by Hoagy Carmichael was originally written
about a woman of that name, but after Georgia native Ray Charles sang
it, the state legislature voted it the state song. Ray Charles sang
it on the legislative floor when the bill passed.
The state tree is
the Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), the state bird is the brown
thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), and the state flower is the cherokee rose
Several U.S. Navy
ships have been named USS Georgia in honor of this state.
State or Empire of the South
- % water
- Total (2000)
January 2, 1788
81°W to 85°53'W
Over the next few
decades, a number of Spanish explorers visited the inland region, leaving
a trail of destruction behind them. The local moundbuilder culture,
described by Hernando de Soto in 1540, had completely disappeared by
The conflict between
Spain and Britain over control of Georgia
began in earnest in about 1670, when the British, moving south from
their Carolina colony in present-day South
Carolina met the Spanish moving north from their base in Florida.
In 1724, it was first suggested that what was by then a British colony
be called Province of Georgia in honor of King George II.
settlement began in the early 1730s with James Oglethorpe, an Englishman
in the British parliament, who promoted the idea that the area be used
to settle people in a debtors' prison. On February 12, 1733, the first
settlers landed in the HMS Anne at what was to become the city of Savannah.
This day is now known as Georgia Day, which is not a public holiday,
but is mainly observed in schools and by some local civic groups.
On January 18, 1861
Georgia joined the Confederacy
in the American Civil War and on July 15, 1870 after Reconstruction
Georgia became the last
former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union. During this
time, much of the state was destroyed in March to the Sea, part of the
setting for the book and movie Gone With the Wind.
On February 19,
1953 Georgia became the
first U.S. state to approve a literature censorship board in the United
has had five "permanent" state capitals: Savannah,
is pronounced like Lewis [loo-iss], not like Louie [loo-ee].) The legislature
has also met in other places temporarily.
Law and Government
Georgia's state government had the longest unbroken record of single-party
dominance of any state in the Union. For over 130 years, from 1872 to
2003 Georgians only elected Democratic governors, and Democrats held
the majority of seats in the General Assembly. The state capital is
As with all other
U.S. States and the federal government, Georgia's government is based
on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial power. Executive
authority in the state rests with the the governor, currently Sonny
Perdue (Republican). The Lieutenant Governor, currently Mark Taylor
(Democrat), is elected on a separate ballot. Both the governor and lieutenant
governor are elected to four-year terms of office. Unlike the federal
government, but like many other U.S. States, most of the executive officials
who comprise the governor's cabinet are elected by the citizens of Georgia,
rather than appointed by the governor.
resides in the General Assembly, composed of the Senate and House of
Representatives. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate, while
the House of Representatives selects their own Speaker. The state Constitution
mandates a maximum of 56 Senators, elected from single-member districts,
and a minimum of 180 Representatives, apportioned among representative
districts (which sometimes results in more than one Representative per
district); there are currently 56 Senators and 180 Representatives.
The term of office for Senators and Representatives is two years.
State Judicial authority
rests with the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, which have
statewide authority. In addition, there are smaller courts which have
more limited geographical jurisdiction, including State Courts, Superior
Courts, Magistrate Courts and Probate Courts. Justices of the Supreme
Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals are elected statewide by the
citizens in non-partisan elections to six-year terms. Judges for the
smaller courts are elected by the state's citizens who live within that
court's jurisdiction to four-year terms.
At the federal level,
Georgia's two U.S. senators are Saxby Chambliss (Republican) and former
governor Zell Miller (Democrat). As of the 2001 reapportionment, the
state has 13 congressmen and women in the U.S. House of Representatives.
also has 159 counties, the most of any state except Texas (254). Before
1932, there were 161, with Milton and Campbell being merged into Fulton
at the end of 1931, during the Great Depression. Gwinnett County was
named after Button Gwinnett, one of the delegates from Georgia
who signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Counties in Georgia
have their own elected legislative branch, usually called the Board
of Commissioners, which usually also has executive authority in the
county. Georgia's Constitution provides all counties and cities with
"home rule" authority, and so the county commissions have considerable
power to pass legislation within their county.
is bordered on the south by Florida,
on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and South
Carolina, on the west by Alabama,
and on the north by Tennessee
and North Carolina. It is
the largest state east of the Mississippi River. The northern part of
the state is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the mountain
system of the Appalachians. The central piedmont extends from the foothills
to the fall line, where the rivers cascade down in elevation to the
continental coastal plain of the southern part of the state. The highest
point in Georgia is Brasstown
Bald, 4784 feet (1458 m); the lowest point is sea level.
The capital is Atlanta,
in the central part of northern Georgia,
and the peach is a symbol of the state. The state is an important producer
of cotton, tobacco, and forest products, notably the so-called "naval
stores" such as turpentine and rosin from the pine forests.
As of the 2000 census,
the population of Georgia
is 8,186,453, making it the 10th most populous state. Its population
grew 26.4% (1,708,304) from its 1990 levels. According to the 2000 census,
65.1% (5,327,281) identified themselves as White, 28.7% (2,349,542)
as black, 5.3% (435,227) as Hispanic or Latino, 2.1% (173,170) as Asian,
0.3% (21,737) as American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.1% (4,246) as Native
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 2.4% (196,289) as other, and 1.4% (114,188)
identified themselves as belonging to two or more races.
7.3% of its population
were reported as under 5 years of age, 26.5% under 18, and 9.6% were
65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.8% of the population.
Nearly half of the state's population lives in the Atlanta metro area.
Georgia's 1999 total
gross state product was $275 billion, placing it 10th in the nation.
Its per capita personal income for 2000 put it 23rd in the nation at
$28,145. Georgia's agricultural outputs are poultry and eggs, peanuts,
cattle, hogs, dairy products, and vegetables. Its industrial outputs
are textiles and apparel, transportation equipment, food processing,
paper products, chemical products, electric equipment, and tourism.
Important cities and towns
Colleges and Universities
- Atlanta Falcons,
National Football League
- Atlanta Hawks,
National Basketball Association
- Atlanta Thrashers,
National Hockey League
- Atlanta Braves,
Major League Baseball
- Georgia Force,
Arena Football League (Duluth)
- Atlanta Beat,
Women's United Soccer Association
- Minor League
- Augusta GreenJackets
- Rome Braves
Radio and Television
Georgia Public Broadcasting
(GPB) operates nine major educational television stations across the
state as Georgia Public Broadcasting Television. It also operates, in
whole or in part, several radio stations as Georgia Public Radio (GPR).
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