Georgia (U.S. state)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
State of Georgia
State flag of Georgia State seal of Georgia
(Flag of Georgia) (Seal of Georgia)
State nickname: Peach State / Empire State of the South
Map of the U.S. with Georgia highlighted
Other U.S. States
Capital Atlanta
Largest city Atlanta
Governor Sonny Perdue (R)
Senators Saxby Chambliss (R)

Johnny Isakson (R)

Official language(s) English
Area 154,077 km² (24th)
 - Land 150,132 km²
 - Water 3,945 km² (2.6%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 8,186,453 (10th)
 - Density 54.59 /km² (18th)
Admission into Union
 - Date January 2, 1788
 - Order 4th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Latitude 30°31'N to 35°N
Longitude 81°W to 85°53'W
Width 370 km
Length 480 km
 - Highest point 1,458 m
 - Mean 180 m
 - Lowest point 0 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-GA
Web site

Georgia 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 last of the thirteen colonies to be established as a colony. It became the fourth state after ratifying the United States Constitution on January 2, 1788. Georgia's population in 2000 was 8,186,453 (U.S. Census). Georgia is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, with an estimated 8,829,383 people in 2004. Georgia is also known as the Peach State or Empire State of the South .

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 (Rosa laevigata).

Several U.S. Navy ships have been named USS Georgia in honor of this state.



Main article: History of Georgia (U.S. state)

Early on, a number of Spanish explorers visited the inland region of Georgia, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. The local moundbuilder culture, described by Hernando de Soto in 1540, had completely disappeared by 1560.

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.

Massive British settlement began in the year 1732 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. In 1752, Georgia became a royal colony. Georgia's first constitution came in 1777, but was later changed.

On January 18, 1861 Georgia joined the Confederacy and became a major theater of the American Civil War. In December 1864, a large swath of the state from Atlanta to Savannah was destroyed during General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea. This event served as the historical background for the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and the 1939 film. On July 15, 1870, following Reconstruction, Georgia became the last former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union.

On February 19, 1953 Georgia became the first U.S. state to approve a literature censorship board in the United States.

Georgia has had five "permanent" state capitals: colonial Savannah, which later alternated with Augusta; then for a decade at Louisville (pron. Lewis-ville), and from 1806 through the American Civil War at Milledgeville. In 1868, Atlanta became the fifth capital of the state. The state's legislature also met at other temporary sites, including Macon, especially during the Civil War.

Law and Government

State government

The state capital is Atlanta.

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 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.

(See: list of Georgia governors and Georgia elected officials.)

Legislative authority 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.

Local government

Georgia 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. Counties have been named for prominent figures in both American and Georgia history. 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 as a municipality would.

(See: list of Georgia counties.)

Besides the counties, Georgia only defines cities as local units of government. Every incorporated town, no matter how small, is legally a city. Georgia does not provide for townships or independent cities, but does allow consolidated city-county governments by local referendum. So far, only Columbus, Augusta, and Athens have done this. On average, there is 1 city government for every 23.6 citizens in Georgia, and this is expected to increase to 1 for every 20 by the year 2008.

There is no true metropolitan government in Georgia, though the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority do provide some regional services, and the ARC must approve all major land development projects in metro Atlanta.

Tax policies

Georgia has a modest income tax and a 4% state sales tax, which is not applied to groceries or prescription drugs. Each county may add up to a 2% SPLOST. Counties participating in MARTA have another 1%; MARTA is one of the few metropolitan transit authorities not to receive state funding. The city of Atlanta (in two counties) has the only city sales tax (1%, total 8%) for fixing its old sewers. Local taxes are almost always charged on groceries but never prescriptions. Up to 1% of a SPLOST can go to homestead exemptions. All taxes are collected by the state and then properly distributed according to any agreements that each county has with its cities.

Political makeup

Until recently, 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. Most of the Democrats elected throughout these years were Southern Democrats or Dixiecrats who were very conservative throughout the 60's segregationist period. As of the 2001 reapportionment, the state has 13 congressmen and women in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The political dominance of Democrats ended in 2003, when former governor Roy Barnes was defeated by Perdue in what was regarded as a stunning upset. While Democrats retained control of the State House, they lost their majority in the Senate when four Democrats switched parties. They relinquished their hold on the House in the 2004 election; currently, Republicans control all three primary branches of government. Many conservative Democrats, including former U.S. Senator and governor Zell Miller, have decided to support Republicans in recent years; George W. Bush won the state in the 2004 election, and conservative initiatives such as restrictions on abortion have won broad support.


Map of Georgia
Map of Georgia

Georgia 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. 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.

Georgia is also the largest state, in land area, east of the Mississippi River, since West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the Civil War. Michigan (96,810 square miles), Florida (65,768 square miles), and Wisconsin (65,603 square miles) are all larger than Georgia (59,441 square miles) when accounting for both land and water area.


Current Georgia License Plate
Current Georgia License Plate

Atlanta is still a major railroad hub for CSX and Norfolk Southern, in addition to being a major airport hub now as well. Several highways and short line railroads also traverse the state.

Interstate highways

United States highways

North-south routes East-west routes


Georgia's 2003 total gross state product was $320 billion. Its per capita personal income for 2003 put it 31st in the nation at $29,000. 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. Georgia is the Granite Capital of the World.


Historical populations

1790 82,548
1800 162,686
1810 251,407
1820 340,989
1830 516,823
1840 691,392
1850 906,185
1860 1,057,286
1870 1,184,109
1880 1,542,180
1890 1,837,353
1900 2,216,331
1910 2,609,121
1920 2,895,832
1930 2,908,506
1940 3,123,723
1950 3,444,578
1960 3,943,116
1970 4,589,575
1980 5,463,105
1990 6,478,216
2000 8,186,453

As of 2004, the population of Georgia was estimated to be 8,829,323, making it the 10th most populous state. Its population has grown 36% (2.35 million) from its 1990 levels, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the country. More than half of the state's population lives in the Atlanta metro area.

The racial makeup of Georgia:

The state's five largest ancestries are: African, American, British, German, and Irish.

Historically, about half of Georgia's population was comprised of black slaves. The Great Migration of blacks from the rural South to the industrial North from 1914-1970, as well as white migration into Georgia after 1970, reduced the black proportion of the population. Today, African-Americans remain dominant in plantation counties of Middle, east-central, Southwestern, and Lowcountry Georgia, as well as in the city of Atlanta and its core southern suburbs.

White Georgians, like other Southerners, usually describe their ancestry on the census questionnaire as "American", "United States", or simply "Southern". Whites of American ancestry are prominent in the northern mountains and upper Piedmont as well as in certain sandy and swampy areas of the southeast. Georgians of British ancestry dominate the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

As of 2000, 90.1% of Georgia residents age 5 and older speak English at home and 5.6% speak Spanish. French is the third most spoken language at 0.6%, followed by German at 0.4% and Vietnamese at 0.4%.

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 make up approximately 50.8% of the population.


Like most other Southern states, Georgia is overwhelmingly Protestant Christian. The religious affiliations of the people of Georgia are as follows:

Georgia shares its Protestant heritage with much of the Southeastern United States. However, the number of Roman Catholics is growing in the state due to the influx of Northeasterners resettling in the Atlanta metro area and also due to large Hispanic immigration into the state. The Northeastern influx has also resulted in a fast-growing Jewish community in the Atlanta area.

Important cities and towns

Population > 1,000,000 (urbanized area)

Population > 100,000 (urbanized area)

Population > 10,000 (urbanized area)

Major military bases

Important Suburbs of Atlanta

Suwanee, Georgia of Savannah


Colleges and universities

Private schools= †

† denotes religious schools

University System of Georgia [32]

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). See also List of radio stations in Georgia (U.S. state).

Georgia is home to Ted Turner, who founded TBS, TNT, and CNN, among others. The CNN Center headquarters is located in Atlanta, GA.

The Weather Channel's headquarters is located in the Vinings area of metropolitan Atlanta in Cobb County, GA.

Professional sports teams


See also

External links

Further reading

Regions of Georgia Flag of Georgia
Colonial Coast | Metro Atlanta | North Georgia Mountains | Historic South | Inland Empire | Southern Rivers
Largest cities
Albany | Atlanta | Athens | Augusta | Columbus | Macon | Savannah
Counties of Georgia

Appling | Atkinson | Bacon | Baker | Baldwin | Banks | Barrow | Bartow | Ben Hill | Berrien | Bibb | Bleckley | Brantley | Brooks | Bryan | Bulloch | Burke | Butts | Calhoun | Camden | Candler | Carroll | Catoosa | Charlton | Chatham | Chattahoochee | Chattooga | Cherokee | Clarke | Clay | Clayton | Clinch | Cobb | Coffee | Colquitt | Columbia | Cook | Coweta | Crawford | Crisp | Dade | Dawson | Decatur | DeKalb | Dodge | Dooly | Dougherty | Douglas | Early | Echols | Effingham | Elbert | Emanuel | Evans | Fannin | Fayette | Floyd | Forsyth | Franklin | Fulton | Gilmer | Glascock | Glynn | Gordon | Grady | Greene | Gwinnett | Habersham | Hall | Hancock | Haralson | Harris | Hart | Heard | Henry | Houston | Irwin | Jackson | Jasper | Jeff Davis | Jefferson | Jenkins | Johnson | Jones | Lamar | Lanier | Laurens | Lee | Liberty | Lincoln | Long | Lowndes | Lumpkin | Macon | Madison | Marion | McDuffie | McIntosh | Meriwether | Miller | Mitchell | Monroe | Montgomery | Morgan | Murray | Muscogee | Newton | Oconee | Oglethorpe | Paulding | Peach | Pickens | Pierce | Pike | Polk | Pulaski | Putnam | Quitman | Rabun | Randolph | Richmond | Rockdale | Schley | Screven | Seminole | Spalding | Stephens | Stewart | Sumter | Talbot | Taliaferro | Tattnall | Taylor | Telfair | Terrell | Thomas | Tift | Toombs | Towns | Treutlen | Troup | Turner | Twiggs | Union | Upson | Walker | Walton | Ware | Warren | Washington | Wayne | Webster | Wheeler | White | Whitfield | Wilcox | Wilkes | Wilkinson | Worth || (Campbell) | (Milton)

Political divisions of the United States Flag of the United States
States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island
Personal tools