Permanent English settlement dates from 1733, when James Edward Oglethorpe founded Savannah. By the time of the Revolutionary War, almost half the population were slaves. Though far removed from the Civil War’s early phases, Georgia held two crucial battlefronts in the latter part of the war: Chickamuga, where Union troops were defeated, and Atlanta, which they conquered and burned. Atlanta, the South’s major transportation hub, was rebuilt with startling speed.
In the 20th century the state vaulted to national prominence on the back of an eclectic group of events and images: the wildly popular novel and film Gone With the Wind; Reverend Martin Luther King Jr and civil rights protests; 39th US President Jimmy Carter; and Atlanta’s rise as a global media and business center, culminating in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Since then, Georgia’s capital has become known as the ‘Motown of the South’ thanks to its sizzling hip-hop and R&B scene.