Georgia, which achieved statehood on January 2nd, 1788, is located in the southern United States and nicknamed the “Peach State”. Georgia was the 4th state admitted to the Union in 1776 and the 5th to join the Confederacy in 1861. For those that want to know more about the Empire State of the South, here are 15 interesting facts about Georgia.
Facts about Georgia:
- Georgia was originally founded as a felon colony. British member of Parliament James Oglethorpe initially conceived of Georgia as a refuge for London’s indebted prisoners. However, Georgia was ultimately established to protect South Carolina (and other southern colonies) from Spanish invasion through Florida.
- Georgia was first colonized with prohibitions against slavery and rum. It is believed that the trustees that governed the colony also banned Catholics and lawyers. None of these were to last however. The ban on alcohol lasted about a dozen years and slavery became legal in 1751.
- Georgia was the last of the 13 original colonies. Georgia was the only one of the colonies to be governed remotely by a Board of Trustees in London for its first 20 years.
- In 1943 the Georgia legislature became the first state to lower the voting age in state and local elections from 21 to 18. “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” was a slogan used in the campaign for this measure, referencing the fact that at the time, young adults were fighting in World War II.
- Georgia was the first state to vote against ratification of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Even after it became federal law in 1920, Women in Georgia had to wait until 1922 to take part in a national election. The state of Georgia cited a rule that required voters to register six months before an election. Georgia didn’t ratify the 19th Amendment until February 20, 1970.
- There is a monument in Georgia which gives instructions on how to rebuild society in the aftermath of an apocalypse. The Georgia Guidestones, dubbed as the “American Stonehenge”, consist of five granite slabs, each weighing over 20 tons. The monoliths are inscribed with ten guidelines written in eight different languages on how to properly rebuild society. The structure also also serves as a compass, a calendar and a clock.
- Georgia is home to the world’s busiest airport. Located in Atlanta, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sees more than 100 million passengers a year, and nearly 300,000 every day. The airport is Georgia’s largest employer, with over 63,000 employees.
- Briefly in 1947, Georgia had three governors at the same time. In late 1946, Eugene Talmadge, Georgia’s governor-elect, died before his inauguration. Three men then made claims to the governorship: the outgoing governor Ellis Arnall; Melvin E. Thompson, the lieutenant governor-elect; and Eugene Talmadge’s son Herman Talmadge. Ultimately, the Georgia Supreme Court settled the controversy in favor of Thompson serving as governor until the next general election in November of 1948 where he was soundly defeated by Talmadge’s son.
- Georgia is the largest producer of peanuts in the U.S. Georgia peanut farmers provide nearly half of the peanuts in the United States each year.
- Coca-Cola was invented in Georgia in 1886. Coca-Cola was first invented by Dr. John S. Pemberton, a local pharmacist, in Atlanta, GA. Pemberton produced the syrup and was able to sell the soda at Jacobs’ Pharmacy for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink.
- In 1958, the United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound nuclear bomb off the coast of Georgia. A B-47 bomber dropped the bomb into the waters off Tybee Island after it collided with another Air Force jet. The bomb has never been recovered and still sits somewhere in the water off the island.
- There are more than 70 streets in the city of Atlanta with a variation of the name “Peachtree”. Whether it be Peachtree drive, avenue, plaza, lane or place, Atlanta-area streets commonly use Peachtree in the name. But this isn’t in reference to peach tress lining every city street. The name “peachtree” evolved from “pitch tree,” which is what the native pine trees as well as Peachtree Creek which is a major stream in Atlanta.
- The world’s largest drive-in restaurant can be found in Atlanta. The Varsity stretches more than two acres and can accommodate 800 diners.
- In Georgia, you could lose your funeral director or embalmer license for using foul language in front of a corpse. In one of the stranger facts about Georgia, “using profane, indecent, or obscene language in the presence of a dead human body, or within the immediate hearing of the family or relatives of a deceased, whose body has not yet been interred or otherwise disposed” is grounds for denial or revocation of license.
- Georgia was named in honor of King George II of Great Britain. King George II approved the charter of the colony of Georgia in 1732, mandating that the territory bear his name. He died in 1760 before his namesake became a state. He was succeeded by his grandson, King George III, who reigned during the American Revolutionary War. Georgia was granted statehood in 1788.
Now that you know a few interesting facts about Georgia, try reading about these amazing facts about Alabama.