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On 20 June 1732, George II issued a charter to 21 trustees, who were responsible for overseeing the colony of Ga. for 21 years. On 12 February 1733, James Oglethorpe founded Savannah. The trustees planned to populate Ga. with parolees from British debtors' prisons and Protestant refugees from continental Europe, and also to create a large silk industry (without slavery), but the colony languished under their direction. Ga. was a major battleground in the war of Jenkins' Ear. It became a royal colony on 4 July 1752, when it had about 5,500 residents. Initially limited to 1,800 square miles bought from the Creek Indians between 1733 and 1743, the area open to settlement grew by another 8,700 square miles during 1763–73 to include about 18 percent of modern Ga. After the legalization of slavery in 1750, Ga. became a major center of rice production and by 1775 its population was 33,000, including 15,000 slaves.
In the Revolutionary War, it was badly divided between Whigs and Tories. It furnished one of the 80 Continental regiments and was the site of 60 military actions. The British captured Savannah in 1778 and occupied much of the state until 1782. Frontier expansion was slow because of opposition by the Creeks, especially under Alexander McGillivray, but accelerated after 1800, when Creeks and Cherokee Indians sold large tracts. The final removal of Cherokees came in 1838–9. After the cotton gin's invention, cotton quickly displaced rice as the main export staple.
It was the 11th largest state in 1860 and had 1,057,286 people, of whom 44 percent were slaves and less than 1 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 13th among states in the value of its farmland and livestock and 20th in manufactures. Ga. became the fifth CSA state on 19 January 1861. In the Civil War, it furnished 120,000 CSA troops and 3,486 USA soldiers (all black). It was the site of 549 military actions. After the battles for Atlanta, the March to the Sea devastated Ga.
In July 1865, Andrew Johnson instituted a provisional civilian government, which abolished slavery, but denied freedmen political rights and enacted a black code (see black codes). Washington imposed military rule on 2 March 1867, but restored congressional representation and self-government on 15 July 1870. Republican control ended a year later on 1 November 1871. Ga. disfranchised most blacks in 1908, and legislated a thorough system of racial segregation.
In 1900 it was the 11th largest state and had 2,216,331 people, of whom 84 percent were rural, 47 percent were black, and 1 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 17th among states in the value of its agricultural goods and 26th in manufactures. From 1920 to 1970, it lost 1,102,000 residents, mostly blacks moving to northern cities, and its racial composition shifted greatly. Despite widespread opposition to the civil rights movement, especially during the administration of Governor Lester Maddox (1967–71), it was the first deep-south state to integrate its schools peacefully, and made important progress in improving race relations after 1971 under Governor Jimmy Carter. Ga. ranked as the 11th largest state in 1990, when its population was 6,478,216 (70 percent white, 27 percent black, 2 percent Hispanic, 1 percent Asian), of whom 65 percent were urban and 2.7 percent were foreign-born. Manufacturing and mining employed 26 percent of the work force.