Georgia's Colonial History


Basic Background Information

Who Was James Oglethorpe?
James Oglethorpe was a visionary, social reformer, and military leader.

What Is James Oglethorpe Most Famous For?
Although James Oglethorpe did a lot during the years in which he lived, he is most famous for the founding of Georgia.

When Was James Oglethorpe Born and When Did He Die?
James Oglethorpe was born in December 22, 1696 in London, England and died on June 30, 1785 in Cranham, England. 

Where Did  James Oglethorpe Arrive When He Sailed To Georgia?
James Oglethorpe and the 144 men and women arrived in Savannah.

Why Did James Oglethorpe Want To Come To Georgia?
The reason for which James Oglethorpe wanted to come to Georgia was to take the "worthy poor" to a colony in the Americas where they could become merchants and farmers.

James Oglethorpe and the Georgia Colony

Oglethorpe Early Life    
    On December 22, 1696, James Oglethorpe was born to Eleanor and Theophilus Oglethorpe. There is not much that is known about Oglethorpe childhood, except for the fact of Oglethorpe dropping out of Oxford University to join the English Military. Oglethorpe followed in his father's footsteps and was elected into the House of Commons where he focused on the domestic and international policies of England.

Prison Reform
     During this time period, many people were being sent to jail for not paying their debts. This was what happened to Robert Castell, a close friend of Oglethorpe, who ended up dying of smallpox in prison. Oglethorpe thought that the death of his friend was because of the bad prison conditions, so he launched a campaign to improve prison conditions. Oglethorpe knew there was more he needed to do to help the poor. His idea was to take all the "worthy poor" and move them to a new colony in the Americas where they could become farmers and merchants. However, he believed that there would have to be strict rules, including, that no one person would be allowed to hold much land and slavery would be prohibited.

The Beginning of a New Colony
     In 1732, King George II granted Oglethorpe a charter for a colony located south of the South Carolina Colony. Oglethorpe named the colony Georgia in honor of King George II. He was also named as one of  the 21 Trustees that would govern the colony of Georgia. In November 1732, 114 people left for Georgia to make their home there. They settled at the mouth of the Savannah River. When arriving in Savannah, Oglethorpe immediately struck up a relationaship with Yamacraw chief, Tomachichi, beginning a long and close friendship between the two. As a trustee, Oglethorpe worked hard to allow Jews and other religious groups to settle in Georgia. He strongly opposed slavery. He did his best to make fair treaties with the Native Americans and protect them from white traders. 

Colonial Battles
    Although he wasn't the official "governor", many considered him Georgia's first governor for his leadership over the colony. In 1739 war broke out between Britain and Spain.
Oglethorpe made plans to protect Georgia from the Spanish troops in Florida. Oglethorpe launched a preemptive attack on the Spanish, which failed. The Spanish counter-attacked but Oglethorpe's regiment managed to push back the Spanish in the Battle of Gully Hole Creek. In the Battle of the Bloody Marsh, Oglethorpe managed to beat the Spanish badly enough that they decided the heavy losses sustained were not worth the fight. Oglethorpe had successfully defended Georgia. 

Oglethorpe's Later Life
    In 1743 Oglethorpe returned to Britain to serve again in Parliament. He continued his career there and held his office for 32 years. In 1753 Georgia's charter expired, and control of the colony switched to the king. Although Oglethorpe lost power in Georgia, he enjoyed seeing his colony become part of the United Stated of America in 1776.  He died in Britain in 1785. 

James Oglethorpe: His Founding Words

James Oglethorpe quote."The air is healthy, being always ferene, pleafant, and temperate, never subject to exceffive heat or cold, nor to sudden changes. the winter is regular and short and the summer cooled with refreshing breezes. and though this country is within 300 miles of Virginia, it never feels the cutting North-Weft-Wind and uneafy and dangerous degree that the virginian complain of.' James Oglethorpe was a historian and it was good that he wrote his words to show the creation of a new world. He is a historian that helped the United States in a wonderful way. 

James Oglethorpe Autograph

This picture shows a document signed by James Oglethorpe from 1732.


This picture shows the original founders of the Georgia colonies. This picture also shows the 21 trusteees  appointed to establish the colony. We think that this document was written to show the founders of a new world and to show what people helped start a great nation.

Georgia Colony Map

georgia documents
This shows a picture of the colony of Georgia. The shape of Georgia has changed significantly since its founding. The current boundaries of Georgia are very different from the boundaries shown here.

James Oglethorpe Timeline


James Oglethorpe Mix&Match Card Game

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