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Countdown to Savannah: Established in 1733

Kathy Wood (kaydee)

In early 2007, we started our official Countdown to Savannah. Each Sunday, we posted a different topic about this special city where we met for our first Great Slow Travel Gathering in Spring 2008.

With 63 posts over 14+ months, we learned a lot about the many facets of this historic, hospitable and intriguing American city. Our weekly posts touched on Savannah's history, famous people, architecture, food, culture, surrounding area and much more. We hope this information acquaints you with Savannah, entices you to visit this historic city, and prepares you for a very memorable trip.

Surrounded by History

Expect to be surrounded by history in Savannah, a history that spans almost 275 years. The city dates its founding to February 12, 1733, when a group of 114 colonists (35 families) arrived from England and set up an initial camp on Yamacraw Bluff, a 40 foot high bluff overlooking the Savannah River. They had sailed from Gravesend, a town on the Thames in Kent, on a voyage across the Atlantic that took about two months.

The new colony was named “Georgia” in honor of King George II, and became the last of the 13 original colonies, with Savannah as its first city. The name Savannah derives from a Muskoghean Indian word that means "Shawnee.”

The group was led by James Edward Oglethorpe, a former military officer and politician. Oglethorpe was an idealistic gentleman in his mid 30’s with a strong interest in improving the conditions of the poor and unemployed. He petitioned the King for a charter to start a colony in America, intending to provide a new start for people out of work. The English crown approved the proposal, seeing an opportunity for a source of produce and raw materials, a market for English goods, and a buffer between the Spanish settlements to the south and the thriving British colonies to the north.

The original plans changed, and the men eventually selected to help start the colony were middle class; they brought skills, strength and good reputations. The group included carpenters, tailors, bakers, farmers, merchants, and others who would help ensure the new colony’s success. They agreed to remain for at least three years and received a town lot for a house and 50 acres to farm. Over the next ten years more than 2000 other settlers arrived to begin life in the new colony.

Today the site of the colonists’ first camp is a small park at Bay and Whitaker Streets, noted by a stone bench and a historical marker. And February 12th is now recognized as Georgia Day, celebrating the founding of what later became our 4th state.

Learn more about the founding of Savannah here:

Early History of Savannah

Resources

All About Savannah: Links to many information pages about Savannah (where to eat, where to stay, places of interest, getting around town, and more)

Woods Family Grand Tour of Europe: List of articles and photo albums by Kathy Wood


Kathy is a former Human Resources executive who now works as a consultant and part-time college professor. She and Charley also lead The Luberon Experience (www.luberonexperience.com), a week-long, small-group trip based in Provence.

© Kathy Wood, 2007


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