Georgia, the most southerly of the original thirteen states of the American Union, is bounded by Tennessee, North and South Carolina, the Atlantic Ocean, Florida, and Alabama. It has an area of 59.475 sq. m. - a little more than the area of England and Wales; and its low-lying and sandy coast is bordered with islands. The state falls into five physical divisions : (1) The Sea Islands, famous for their cotton, and covered with a growth of oak, palmetto, magnolia, cedar, pine, and myrtle; (2) the Swamp Region, consisting of rich alluvial lands and deltas, verdant with a dense and semi-tropical vegetation, and admirably fitted for rice-culture; (3) the Pine Barrens, with a thin soil, sheltered by vast forests of pitch-pine; (4) Middle Georgia, fertile, salubrious, hilly, crowned with forests of oak and hickory, the home of the short-staple cotton-plant, a fine fruit region, and yielding Indian corn, oats, wheat, and other cereals; and (5) Cherokee Georgia, abounding in mountains, with fertile valleys, streams, and waterfalls. Rivers emptying into the Atlantic Ocean are the Savannah, the Great Ogeechee, and the Altamaha, with the Oconee and the Ocmulgee. Belonging to the Gulf system are the Chattahoochee, the Flint, and the Alapaha.
With the exception of the swamp-region in the south and south-east of the state, the climate is salubrious and agreeable. The mean temperature is 78° in summer and 47° in winter; the annual rainfall nearly 50 inches. In the lowlands oranges and other semi-tropical fruits readily mature, whilst in the uplands peaches, apples, pears, etc. flourish ; and fruits and market vegetables are exported to the North. Game is still plentiful. Sea-fowl throng the coast and estuaries, alligators are numerous in the rivers, and food-fishes, oysters, clams, turtle, etc. are abundant. Food-fishes have largely disappeared from the streams, and the pearl-bearing unio is now seldom seen. The mineral wealth includes gold, coal, iron, copper, silver, and lead ores, marble, granite, slate, gypsum, limestone, etc, and occasional diamonds and other precious stones. Prior to the civil war, the inhabitants were almost exclusively engaged in agriculture and commerce; but more recent industries are the lumber, iron, and steel trades, and extensive cotton, woollen, and other manufactures. The chief agricultural products of Georgia are cotton (about 1,300,000 bales yearly), rice, Indian corn, wheat, oats, sweet potatoes, sugar, and tobacco. From the ports of Savannah, Darien, Brunswick, and St Mary shipments of lumber and naval stores are annually increasing. Atlanta is the capital, and Savannah the commercial metropolis; Augusta, Macon, Columbus, and Athens are other cities. Pop. (1790) 82,548; (1860) 1,057,286; (1880) 1,542,180; (1900) 2,216,000, slightly more than one-half whites. The colony of Georgia, named from George II., was founded by James Oglethorpe in 1733, as a refuge for poor debtors and religious refugees. It has long been regarded as the Empire State of the South.
Georgia, the name formerly applied to th6 central portion of what is now Russian Transcaucasia (q.v.), bounded by the Caucasian mountains on the north, and on the south by the Armenian mountains. The Russian name is Gruzia; the Persian Gurjestan, from which form the name Georgia probably arose, it being perhaps a corruption of Guria, the name of one of the western provinces. An independent kingdom from the time of Alexander the Great, and earlier, Georgia was united with Russia between 1799 and 1829. It now is mainly included in the governments of Kutais, Tiflis, and Elizabethpol. The Georgians, who speak agglutinative languages, form the southern group of Caucasian peoples. Their numbers are variously estimated at something over or under a million. See Wardrop, The Kingdom of Georgia (1888).
Georgia, Gulf of, an arm of the Pacific, 30 miles broad and nearly 250 long, between Vancouver's Island and British Columbia, communicating with the ocean by Queen Charlotte's Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.