Georgia Day in the United States Date in the current year: February 12, 2024

Georgia Day in the United States Georgia Day is celebrated on February 12 to commemorate the arrival of the first settlers to the Province of Georgia, the last to be founded and the southernmost of the Thirteen Colonies which declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America.

By the time the first Europeans arrived in what is now Georgia, the region was inhabited by Native tribes, such as the Cherokee, the Yamasee, the Hitchiti, and the Timicua. The first Europeans to set foot here were Spanish explorers of Florida. They even attempted to establish a colony somewhere near St. Catherines Island in 1526, but it was short-lived.

In 1670, the English founded a new settlement in the Province of Carolina, just north of Spanish Florida. That’s when the conflict between England and Spain over control of Georgia began in earnest. The lands controlled by the Guale and Mocama peoples lay between Charles Town and San Agustin, the capitals of Carolina and Spanish Florida, respectively, and because of this were subjected to military invasions by both colonial powers.

By the 1720s, the English established uncontested control over the coast of Georgia, making the foundation of a brand new colony possible. In 1732, Member of Parliament James Oglethorpe and his associates were granted a royal charter to establish a colony between the Savannah River and the Altamaha River.

Oglethorpe envisioned Georgia as an alternative to overcrowded debtor’s prisons and a refuge for released debtors and “worthy poor”. The new colony was also supposed to serve as a buffer between the Provinces of North and South Carolina and Spanish Florida. Working with his associates, Oglethorpe formulated a plan for the settlement of the new colony, which was named Georgia after King George II.

On November 15 or 17, 1732, Oglethorpe and over a hundred settlers left England for the New World on the ship Anne. After a nearly three-month journey, the Anne dropped anchor at the mouth of the Savannah River on February 12, 1733. Upon disembarking, settlers were greeted by natives and founded the city of Savannah. Their arrival marked the foundation of the colony of Georgia.

Most US states celebrate the anniversary of their admittance to the Union as an official or unofficial holiday. However, the Thirteen Colonies that formed the Union (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island) are the obvious exception. Since Georgia is one of them, Georgia Day commemorates the foundation anniversary of the colony of Georgia.

The official legal status of Georgia Day is unclear. It was established by the Georgia General Assembly to be observed in public schools, but was never declared a public holiday. The highlight of Georgia Day is the annual parade hosted by the Georgia Historical Society. The parade is part of the annual Georgia History Festival, which consists of a series of events commemorating Georgia’s history and heritage.

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Georgia Day in the United States, holidays in the United States, holidays in Georgia, colony of Georgia, James Oglethorpe