Georgia (U.S.), state in the southeast United States; bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and South Carolina in the east, Florida in the south, Alabama in the west, and Tennessee and North Carolina in the north.
Land and climate
The southern half of Georgia is a low-lying coastal plain that extends along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The land slopes gradually upward, becoming more hilly near the point at which the plain meets the Piedmont, which consists of fertile, gently rolling hills. The territory north of the Piedmont is divided into the Appalachian Plateau in the extreme northwest, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley region in the far north, and a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the extreme northeast. Major rivers are the Savannah and the Chattahoochee. About 70% of the state is covered by forests. Georgia shares one of the largest natural bird refuges in the United States, the Okefenokee Swamp, with Florida. Georgia has a mild, moist climate. Principal cities are Atlanta, one of the nation's leading commercial and finance centers, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah.
Georgia is one of the most important manufacturing states in the South. Major products include textiles, transportation equipment, processed foods, and paper. The state is a leading producer of eggs and broiler chickens, and it ranks 1st in the nation in peanut production. Other important crops are tobacco and peaches. Georgia's most valuable mineral products are clays, including kaolin. The state is also an important producer of lumber and other forest products.
The state constitution was adopted in 1983. The governor is elected for a 4-year term. The general assembly, Georgia's legislature, consists of a 56-member senate and a 180-member house of representatives serving for 2 years. Georgia sends 10 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress.
Hernando de Soto of Spain passed through the Georgia region in 1540, when it was inhabited by Creeks and Cherokees. The first permanent white settlement was made by the English in 1733. Much of Georgia, the last of the 13 original colonies to be founded, was captured during the American Revolution (1776–83). The state, which depended on slave labor to support its cotton-based economy, seceded from the Union in 1861. Many battles of the Civil War (1861–65) were fought in Georgia, which suffered considerable damage, including the burning of Atlanta by General William T. Sherman in 1864. The state was readmitted to the Union in 1870. Industry began to expand that year. By mid-20th century, more Georgians worked in manufacturing than in agriculture. Although Georgia passed laws against compulsory segregation in 1960, school integration is still a concern, and industrial and population growth have caused urban problems.