History of Savannah, GA

Are you ready to discover the history of Savannah, Georgia’s first state capital and one of the oldest cities in the U.S.? Continue reading below to find out more about the city’s rich and exciting history!

The Foundation and Growth of Savannah, GA

The first European settlers in the area where the city of Savannah lies today were General James Oglethorpe and his crew from the ship Anne. They arrived in the early 18th century on February 12, 1733, and established the city of Savannah on the same day.

The city was carefully planned out according to the General’s design, known today as the Oglethorpe Plan. It slowly started to grow and develop, and the construction of a cotton mill in 1845 led to more significant socioeconomic changes.

The mill was one of the most successful and prosperous manufacturing establishments in Georgia at the time. It produced sheeting, denim, and cotton ropes that were sold across the southeast. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1875 in a devastating fire.

The Reconstruction Era

Savannah played a key role in the Civil War, being one of the only towns left standing during William T. Sherman’s legendary ‘March to the Sea.’ After the war, the city began to grow outside of the historic district. The slaves who were freed started to build their community, which soon began thriving with schools, churches, and overall economic strength.

The city’s civil rights movement also started in the 19th century when the local police department merged with the NAACP, a nonprofit organization. Soon after, the NAACP organized a massive voter registration drive for Black residents of Savannah, which remains an important part of the city’s history.

In the early twentieth century, a group of Irish settlers started to build large factories, such as Kehoe Iron Works at Trustees’ Garden. Thus, manufacturing and heavy industry moved into the city.

Modern Times of Savannah, GA

In the early twentieth century, Savannah was reborn as a booming southern city with a flourishing African-American and Jewish community. Thousands of Jews and African Americans migrated to Savannah, and the city’s population grew rapidly. As a result, Savannah became a diverse, multicultural city.

Today, Savannah, GA, is the third-largest metropolitan area in Georgia. It is an industrial center and one of the busiest tourist destinations in the Southeast with festivals and events that celebrate its rich cultural and historical heritage. You are more than welcome to explore the city and learn more about its history firsthand!

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