History of Savannah Georgia
One of the top reasons people choose to visit Savannah is to experience the many great historical sites in and around the city. Our guests always ask us about the history of Savannah, it’s always tough to know where to start. Through the years, Savannah has changed greatly, but many of the notable historical sites and monuments have been restored and/or preserved in a way to remind us of where came from. Below is a brief description of the history of Savannah. Enjoy!
Savannah has a rich history to say the least. Officially, Savannah’s recorded history is said to have begun in 1733, which is when General James Oglethorpe and his 120 passengers landed along the Savannah River. Oglethorpe decided to name the 13th and final American colony “Georgia” after King George II of England. Savannah would become the first city of Georgia.
When Oglethorpe settled the area, he developed a relationship with the local Yamacraw Indians. Oglethorpe and the Yamacraw chief promised mutual goodwill, and the English settlers were granted permission to settle area presently known as Savannah.
In addition to being Georgia’s first city, Savannah is known as America’s first “planned city” as Oglethorpe specifically laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide open streets intertwined with shady public squares and parks. These squares and parks that can still be found in the city today would function as town meeting places and centers of business.
With the onset of the American Revolution came the occupation of Savannah by the British from 1778 to 1782. After independence was secured, the riverside city once again began to flourish. Not long after, many of the area farmers found that the soil was ripe for planting cotton and rice, which became two main cash crops and heavy drivers for the economy. These farms were organized into plantations and Georgia decided to legalize slavery to support its agrarian economy. The ensuing trans-Atlantic slave trade brought many African-Americans through the port of Savannah. Many of the slaves who stayed in the region preserved some of their traditions and shaped the unique Gullah culture of the coastal communities that can be found in both Georgia and South Carolina.
Over the course of the Civil War, the city suffered from sea blockades so strict that the economy crumbled. However, after the Civil War, the Reconstruction period began in Savannah, although the economy remained stagnant. At the turn of the 20th century, cotton as a crop witnessed a resurgence and the city of Savannah thrived again.
Savannah’s Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. It is one of the largest historic landmarks in the country. Savannah is still a major port city, but much of the economy is now driven by tourism. Visitors to Savannah are drawn to the city to experience its beautiful architecture and history. When you visit the city of Savannah, you’ll find that the natural beauty, the culture, and the hospitality make it a unique American city that will inspire memories to last a lifetime.