Georgia is located in the
southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last
of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King
George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to
ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788.
It declared its secession from
the Union on January 21, 1861, and was one of the original seven
Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the
Union, on July 15, 1870.
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Georgia is known as the Peach State
and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta is the capital and the most
Georgia is bordered on the south by
Florida; on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and South Carolina; on the
west by Alabama; and on the north by Tennessee and North Carolina. The
northern part of the state is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain
range in the vast Appalachian Mountains system. The central piedmont
extends from the foothills to the fall line, where the rivers cascade
down in elevation to the continental coastal plain of the southern part
of the state. The highest point in Georgia is Brasstown Bald, 4,784 feet
(1,458 m); the lowest point is sea level.
With an area of 59,425 square miles
(153,910 km2), Georgia is ranked 24th in size among the 50 U.S. states.
Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River in terms of
land area, although it is the fourth largest (after Michigan, Florida,
and Wisconsin) in total area, a term which includes expanses of water
which are part of state territory.
Georgia has a diverse mix of flora and fauna. The State of Georgia has
approximately 250 tree species and 58 protected plants. Georgia's native
trees include red cedar, a variety of pines, oaks, maples, cypress,
sweetgum and scaly-bark and white hickories, as well as many others.
Palmettos and other subtropical flora are found in the southern and
coastal regions. Yellow jasmine, and mountain laurel make up just a few
of the flowering shrubs.
White-tailed (Virginia) deer are in
nearly all counties. The northern mockingbird and Brown Thrasher are
among the 160 bird species that live in the state.
Reptiles include the eastern
diamondback, copperhead, and cottonmouth, salamanders, frogs, alligators
and toads. There are about 79 species of reptile and 63 amphibians known
to live in Georgia.
The most popular freshwater game fish
are trout, bream, bass, and catfish, all but the last of which are
produced in state hatcheries for restocking. Popular saltwater game fish
include red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, and tarpon, among many
others. Porpoises, whales, shrimp, oysters, and blue crabs are found
inshore and offshore of the Georgia coast.
The majority of Georgia is primarily a
humid subtropical climate. Hot and humid summers are typical, except at
the highest elevations. The entire state, including the north Georgia
mountains, receives moderate to heavy precipitation, which varies from
45 inches (1143 mm) in central Georgia to approximately 75 inches (1905
mm) around the northeast part of the state. The degree to which the
weather of a certain region of Georgia is subtropical depends on the
latitude, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico and the
elevation. The latter factor is felt chiefly in the mountainous areas of
the northern part of the state, which are farther away from the ocean
and can be 4500 feet (1350 m) above sea level. The USDA Plant hardiness
zones for Georgia range from zone 6b (no colder than −5 °F (−21 °C) ) in
the Blue Ridge Mountains mountains to zone 8b (no colder than 15 °F (−9
°C) ) along the Atlantic coast and Florida border.
The highest temperature ever recorded
is 112 °F (44.4 °C) at Louisville on July 24, 1952, while the lowest is
−17 °F (−27.2 °C) at northern Floyd County on January 27, 1940.
There are 63 parks in Georgia, 48 of
which are state parks and 15 that are historic sites, and numerous state
wildlife preserves, under the supervision of the Georgia Department of
Natural Resources. Other historic sites and parks are supervised by the
National Park Service and include the Andersonville National Historic
Site in Andersonville; Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Chattahoochee
River National Recreation Area near Atlanta; Chickamauga and Chattanooga
National Military Park at Fort Oglethorpe; Cumberland Island National
Seashore near St. Marys; Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons
Island; Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah; Jimmy Carter
National Historic Site near Plains; Kennesaw Mountain National
Battlefield Park near Kennesaw; Martin Luther King, Jr., National
Historic Site in Atlanta; Ocmulgee National Monument at Macon; Trail of
Tears National Historic Trail; and the Okefenokee Swamp in Waycross,
Fine and performing arts
Georgia's major fine art museums
include the High Museum of Art, the Michael C. Carlos Museum, the
Telfair Museum of Art, and the Morris Museum of Art.
The Atlanta Opera is a full time
company that brings opera to Georgia stages, while the Atlanta Symphony
Orchestra is the most widely recognized orchestra and largest arts
organization in the southeastern United States.
There are a number of performing arts
venues in the state, among the largest are the Fox Theatre, and the
Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center, both on Peachtree Street
in Midtown Atlanta. Duluth, Roswell, Norcross, and Marietta each have a
fairly active theater community. If visiting, definitely check in
at a comfortable and affordable
Duluth hotel for some relaxation.
Dramas such as the play (on which a
successful movie was also based) Driving Miss Daisy are one example of
Georgia's literary culture. The most popular and famous novel has
probably been Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, also the basis of
a wildly successful movie. Other authors who challenged popular ideas
were Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor. Contemporary authors such
as Alice Walker have also used Georgia's complex past as subjects for
fiction, as in her The Color Purple.
Georgia's poets, such as James Dickey
and Sidney Lanier, and nonfiction writers like humorist Lewis Grizzard
also have a place in the state's literary life.
The state film commission was
established in 1973; the agency is now referred to as the Georgia Film,
Music and Digital Entertainment Office. Since 1972, seven hundred film
and television projects have been filmed on location in Georgia. In
2008–2009, Georgia's film and television industry created a $1.15
billion economic impact on the state's economy.
International Airport's 398-foot (121 m) tall control tower
Georgia's primary commercial airport
is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and is the
world's busiest passenger airport. In addition to Hartsfield-Jackson,
there are eight other airports serving major commercial traffic in
Georgia. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is the
second-busiest airport in the state as measured by passengers served,
and is the only additional international airport. Other commercial
airports (ranked in order of passengers served) are located in Augusta,
Columbus, Albany, Macon, Brunswick, Valdosta, and Athens.
Georgia has 98 public-use general
aviation airports in addition to its primary commercial airports. The
busiest of these airports in terms of daily takoff and landing traffic
is DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee, Georgia (known as "PDK" due to
its DOT call letters). PDK has averaged more than 230,000 takeoffs and
landings per year for over thirty years, and serves as a "general
reliever airport" for the Atlanta area. Other general reliever airports
in the metro Atlanta area include Charlie Brown Field in Atlanta,
Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville, and McCollum Field in Kennesaw.
Sports and recreation
Sports in Georgia include professional
teams in all major sports, Olympic Games contenders and medalists,
collegiate teams in major and small-school conferences and associations,
and active amateur teams and individual sports. The State of Georgia has
a team in seven major professional leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, ABA, AFL, IL,
Georgia has an abundance of outdoor
recreational activities. Outdoor activities include, but are not limited
to, hiking along the Appalachian Trail; Civil War Heritage Trails; rock
climbing and whitewater paddling. Other outdoor activities include
hunting and fishing. Less rustic activities are trips to Callaway
Gardens; and Zoo Atlanta.
NBA superstars Dwight Howard, Josh
Smith, and Javaris Crittenton, Heavyweight champion boxer Evander
Holyfield and wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan are also from Atlanta.
State facts and symbols
Georgia's nicknames include Peach
State and Empire State of the South.
The state song, "Georgia on My Mind"
by Hoagy Carmichael, was originally written about a woman of that name.
After Georgia native Ray Charles made it popular with his recording, the
state legislature voted it the state song on April 24, 1979. Ray Charles
sang it on the legislative floor when the bill was passed. The
legislature's action was considered symbolic of the state's move away
from racial segregation and racism.
The state commemorative quarter was
released on July 19, 1999. The first houses in Georgia to be designated
historic state landmarks are the Owens Thomas House and the Sorrel Weed
House, in the Savannah historic district.
The state animal, an opossum, is
called "Pogo Possum".