June 14, 2012

Georgia – “The Peach State”

Georgia map

 

Just the Facts…

bird – brown thrasher
flower – cherokee rose
tree – live oak
capital – Atlanta
union – 4th state – January 2, 1788
population – almost 10 million

 

 

 

 

 

The Basics 

Georgia was the last of the original 13 colonies to be formed – it was named after King George of England.  Georgia was originally established as a refuge for the ”worthy poor” of London – people who were in debt or homeless.  James Oglethorpe obtained a charter for the Georgia colony from King George and arrived with a ship full of settlers in 1732.

 

Georgia contains more land than any other state east of the Mississippi River.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of Georgia’s northern border.  The farther south and east you go, the flatter the land is until you reach the coastal plains and the Atlantic Ocean.

 

When you think about Georgia weather – think hot and humid!  The winters are mild – it may snow occasionally, but it only lasts a few days at the most before melting.

 

Its Claim to Fame

Coca-cola was invented in Georgia!  A pharmacist named Dr. John Pemberton invented the drink at his home in Atlanta in 1886.  He sold it at the soda fountain in Jacob’s Pharmacy.  Soda fountains were counters that sold beverages and sometimes food in a store (such as a pharmacy).  Soda fountains were popular meeting places, especially in cities.  The first year Dr. Pemberton offered Coca-Cola at the soda fountain, he sold only about nine cokes per day.  But, it didn’t take long for it to take off – within 15 years, Coca-Cola was the nation’s most popular fountain drink!

 

Each year, Georgia produces over 130 million pounds of peaches!  Over 40 varieties of peaches are grown in Georgia (who knew there were so many varieties?).  Many people think that Georgia’s peaches are the best – in appearance, flavor, and texture.  Franciscan monks introduced the first peach to the Georgia coastline from Florida in 1571 – that is over 400 years ago!

 

Georgia was the last state to be re-admitted into the Union after the Civil War. It was a confederate stronghold and saw a lot of action in the Civil War.  In fact, Georgia had to be readmitted into the Union twice!  After it was readmitted the first time, the Georgia legislature refused to accept the 15th Amendment to our Constitution (which prohibits states from denying people the right to vote because of race).  As a result, it was kicked out of the Union.  Finally, two years later, Georgia ratified the 15th Amendment and was readmitted into the Union again in 1870.

 

What Makes it Tick

Georgia produces a variety of agricultural products that start with the letter “P” – peanuts, pecans, peaches, and poultry.   Georgia grows more peanuts and pecans than any other state in America.  The variety of peanut grown most in Georgia is the “Runner” peanut, which is primarily used to make peanut butter.  In fact, peanut butter was invented in Georgia!  Have you had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lately? Maybe the peanuts used to make that peanut butter were grown in Georgia!

 

Cotton has been grown in Georgia since Colonial times.  At first, growing cotton was so labor intensive that farmers couldn’t earn a living.  Each cotton boll had to be picked from the plant by hand, and then the seeds had to be picked out of the boll by hand!  But, this changed when a man named Eli Whitney visited a plantation near Savannah, Georgia around 1800.  He learned how laborious cotton farming was and developed a machine to do some of the work – the “cotton gin” was invented!   Cotton plantations prospered after the invention of the cotton gin (and an increase in slave labor).  Georgia also developed a large textile industry to weave all that cotton into fabric, which then could be sewn into clothes.

 

About two-thirds of Georgia is covered in forests.  As a result, Georgia has its fair share of the timber industry, including timber byproducts like paper.  In fact, it is one of the biggest industries in the state.  Georgia-Pacific, one of the biggest pulp and paper companies, is based in Atlanta.  It manufactures paper, tissue (like Kleenex), paper towels, and tissue paper (for wrapping gifts).  Maybe the paper towel you used to help clean up a mess in your kitchen was made in Georgia!

 

If You Visited

If you visited Georgia, you might go to the Vidalia Onion Festival, which takes place in Vidalia, Georgia!  It celebrates the Vidalia onion harvest in the spring, which is one of the sweetest onions grown today.  Or, you may attend the annual Civil War re-enactment of the Battle of Tunnel Hill right after Labor Day.  After such an excursion you would probably relax with a sweet tea and a nice big slice of peach pie!

 

You might also take a weekend trip to Tybee Island or one of the other islands just off the Georgia coast.  You could kayak through the salt marsh, watch for dolphins, or sneak a peek at the sea turtle nesting grounds.

 

Or, you may visit the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.  The Park was built for the 1996 Olympic Games.  A highlight of the park is its Fountain of Rings – water shoots up from Olympic rings embedded in the brick plaza.  Four times per day, there is a synchronized light, music and water show!

 

Want to Know More? 

Do you live in Georgia? Have you visited Georgia recently?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • Where is your favorite thing about your state?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Georgia to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Georgia.  Visit these websites to learn more great things about Georgia:

http://www.exploregeorgia.org/

http://www.centennialpark.com/

http://tybeeisland.com/

http://www.vidaliaonionfestival.com/