Prehistoric Indians came to what is now Georgia some 12,000 years ago, probably following herds of large game. When these herds were depleted around 5000 B.C., the Indians turned to fishing and hunting small game. Agriculture was begun around 1000 B.C. About 900 A.D., Indians who were mound builders entered Georgia. The Creeks and the Cherokees were the major tribes in Georgia when Europeans began to explore the area.

Important dates in Georgia
1540 The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto passed through what is now Georgia.
1566 Spanish priests founded the first missions on the Georgia coast.
1732 King George II of England granted a 21-year charter to establish the Georgia colony.
1733 James Oglethorpe brought the first English settlers to Georgia.
1742 The Georgia colonists defeated a Spanish landing force on St. Simons Island.
1754 Georgia became a British royal province.
1777 Georgia adopted its first Constitution.
1778 British troops captured Savannah during the Revolutionary War.
1788 Georgia ratified the U.S. Constitution on January 2 and became the fourth state.
1793 Eli Whitney invented his cotton gin near Savannah.
1838 The last Indians in Georgia, the Cherokee, were forced to leave the state.
1861 Georgia seceded from the Union.
1863 Confederate troops defeated Union forces in the Battle of Chickamauga.
1864 After burning Atlanta, General William T. Sherman led Union troops on a destructive march through Georgia.
1870 Georgia was permanently readmitted as a state in the Union.
1920's and 1930's Georgia suffered an economic depression.
1943 Georgia became the first state to allow 18-year-olds to vote.
1962 Georgia abolished its county-unit voting system.
1977-1981 Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States.
1994 Floods caused 31 deaths and much property damage in central and southern Georgia.
2002 Voters elected Sonny Perdue as governor. He became the state's first Republican governor since 1872.