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Honoring the States: The 4th State - Georgia...

Georgia is the fourth state of the 13 original states to ratify the federal Constitution in 1788. Georgia is the largest state East of the Mississippi River with 159 counties.

Georgia is known as the "Granite Capital of the World". One of the largest single masses of exposed granite with the world's largest sculpture is on the face of Stone Mountain near Atlanta, GA. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Stonewall Jackson, and General Robert E. Lee and his horse, Traveler, were all depicted on this mass of granite. Atlanta is the capital of Georgia, the state bird is the Brown Thrasher, the state flower is the Cherokee Rose, and the state tree is the Southern Live Oak.

Indigenous peoples lived in what we now call Georgia since 15,000BCE. From the Paleo Indians to the Archaic Indians, to the Woodland Indians, and the Mississippi Culture, to the Lamar Culture around 1350. The Lamar were considered to be the ancestors of the Cherokee, and they thrived until 1540 when Hernando de Soto led an expedition to the SouthEast. He brought with him dis-eases like smallpox, violence, and terror that decimated much of the indigenous Lamar and Muskogee population in the 1600's. The colonists called all of these indigenous people "Creeks" because their tribes were based around river valleys.

The Spanish sent missionaries to Georgia for trading, and they influenced the indigenous to learn their culture and adopt a Christian lifestyle. In the 1700's the Muskogee traded with the first British settlers, and they even married and had families with them through the 1700's. Through force, they had to give up some land, and by 1826, treaties forced them to give up all of their land in Georgia. The Cherokee were some of the largest tribes at the time. They backed the British against the Creeks during the Yamasee War in the Carolinas from 1715-1717, that led to decades of war between the Creeks and the Cherokee in Georgia. From 1756-1763, the Seven Years' War with the help of smallpox, destroyed the Cherokee people and their land in Georgia. By 1829, Georgia tried to remove all of the Cherokee after they discovered gold.

In 1830, Andrew Jackson signed the "Indian Removal Act", and the government took all of the indigenous land in Georgia and many other states. They were forced to move west of the Mississippi to what was called "Indian Territory". Full-blooded Cherokee were forced out of Georgia and the surrounding states between 1838 and 1839. Four-thousand Cherokee died on the Trail of Tears. Today, the Cherokee of Georgia, the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe are recognized by the federal government.

In 1775, the American Revolution began, and colonists responded to the British Royal government by establishing a Provincial Congress in Georgia. In 1782, Georgia drove out the British and elected its first post-colonial government. On January 2nd, 1788, Georgia became the 4th US state to ratify the US Constitution.

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