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Georgia Day – February 12, 2023

Georgia Day, on February 12 every year, is a day specially set aside for the recognition of the colonial founding of the state by James Oglethorpe. Though it is not a public holiday, it was created by Georgia’s General Assembly. This gave the reason for the February 12 date as being “the anniversary of the landing of the first colonists in Georgia under Oglethorpe.” Georgia Day is usually observed in public schools within the state of Georgia. The law establishing Georgia Day was never repealed, but it was excluded in the code upon its official compilation in 1981. The official legal status of the Georgia Day holiday is unclear. It is, however, still observed on or around February 12 at the Georgia Day Parade hosted by the Georgia Historical Society as part of the Georgia History Festival. This is a two-week celebration of the history of Georgia.

History of Georgia Day

The history of the U.S. state of Georgia dates back as far as the pre-Columbian era. The area in which Georgia presently is, was initially inhabited by Native American tribes for thousands of years. There was some Spanish presence in the late 16th century, which was predominantly centered on Catholic missions. By the 18th century, the Spanish settlers had mostly left the area. The English settlers arrived in Georgia sometime in the 1730s, led by James Oglethorpe. As of April 8, 1776, royal officials had been removed from the region and Georgia’s Provincial Congress issued a constitutional document that served as an interim constitution until the following year, 1777, when the state constitution was adopted. Although it was the territory of both the Creek and the Cherokee nations, European Americans began to settle in Georgia. Upon their arrival, the European Americans pressured the state of Georgia and the U.S. Federal Government to remove the Indians. The Indian Removal subsequently took place in the 1830s, under President Jackson, and after this, there was an influx of the settlement of European Americans in Georgia.

On January 19, 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union and joined other Southern states on February 8, to form the Confederate States of America. Georgia contributed nearly one hundred twenty thousand soldiers to the Confederate war effort. The first major battle in the state was the Battle of Chickamauga, which Georgia won. It was the last major Confederate victory in the west. After the war, Georgians faced a period of economic hardship. With the enfranchisement of freedmen, who allied with the Republican Party, came a biracial legislature. The biracial legislature established public education and welfare institutions for the first time in Georgia, as well as initiated economic programs. White Democrats regained political control of the state through violence and intimidation at elections in 1875. They passed new laws and constitutional amendments that disenfranchised black people as well as a number of poor white people close to the turn of the century. From the late 19th century to 1964, blacks were suppressed as second-class citizens and were nearly excluded from politics. Thousands of black people had to migrate up North to escape the harrowing conditions and accompanying violence. All residents of the state of Georgia suffered in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The training bases, which were established in Georgia during the Second World War, became an economic boost for the state, thereby providing new opportunities for black people. During the broad-based activism of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, the city of Atlanta, Georgia became the base of African-American leader, minister Martin Luther King Jr. After 1950, Georgia’s economy experienced growth and diversity and Atlanta became a major regional city and transportation hub, as it expanded into neighboring communities through its fast-growing suburbs. Since 2000 the white majority in Georgia has supported the Republican Party, which generally dominates American politics in the 21st century.

Georgia Day timeline

1733
James Oglethorpe Establishes the City of Savannah

Oglethorpe establishes the city of Savannah and the British colony of Georgia.

1776
Georgia Signs the U.S. Declaration of Independence

The state of Georgia signs the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which declares independence from Britain.

1788
Georgia Joins the U.S. as Fourth State

The state of Georgia ratifies its constitution and officially becomes a part of the United States of America, as the fourth state.

1829
The Gold Rush Begins

Gold is discovered in Northern Georgia and so starts the American Gold Rush.

Georgia Day FAQs

When was Georgia established?

James Oglethorpe established the colony of Georgia after settling down in the city of Anne, which was renamed Savannah. This took place in 1733.

How many counties does Georgia have?

The state of Georgia has a total of 159 counties.

What is the nickname for Georgia?

The state of Georgia is popularly referred to as the “Peach State.”

Georgia Day Activities

  1. Read a book about Georgia

    The state of Georgia has a very rich history. In honor of the celebration of Georgia Day, you can simply read a book about Georgia.

  2. Visit a monument in Georgia

    Georgia has many notable locations such as the Georgia Aquarium, for example. You can visit any of these grand monuments in the spirit of Georgia Day.

  3. Use the #GeorgiaDay hashtag

    If you’re visiting Georgia or doing any other thing to observe Georgia Day, be sure to post on social media. Use the #GeorgiaDay hashtag to join the online conversation.

5 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT GEORGIA

  1. Prohibiting slavery

    Georgia was the only one of the 13 colonies that prohibited slavery.

  2. Among the first Union states

    Georgia was among the first of the 13 colonies to join and become a member of the Union.

  3. The Civil Rights movement

    The headquarters of the American Civil Rights movement was in Georgia.

  4. The birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Baptist Minister and Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr., otherwise referred to as “M.L.K.,” was born in Georgia.

  5. Coca-Cola was created in Georgia

    The global beverage Coca-Cola was created in Georgia by a pharmacist named John Stith Pemberton in 1886.

Why We Love Georgia Day

  1. Georgia is a significant part of American cultural history

    Georgia is one of the most racially inclusive states in the U.S. This racial inclusivity dates back to the early years of Georgia’s existence.

  2. Georgia is important to the Civil Rights movement

    The fact that Martin Luther King Jr. and the American Civil Rights movement are heavily linked to the state of Georgia, makes Georgia important to America’s modern history. That’s why Georgia Day deserves to be celebrated.

  3. Georgia played a role in America’s independence

    The U.S. Declaration of Independence was a turning point in American history. By signing the Declaration of Independence from Britain, Georgia is an integral part of the independence story of the U.S.

Georgia Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 12Sunday
2024February 12Monday
2025February 12Wednesday
2026February 12Thursday
2027February 12Friday

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