History of Savannah, GA

Posted on: Thursday June 14, 2018 at 9:45 AM

We at Harper Special Services from Savannah can prove that this city is in the eastern part of the U.S. State of Georgia, and it’s the largest and oldest city in the state and the seat of Chatham County. Its recorded history starts in the year of 1733 with General James Oglethorpe, but the origins of the city date a bit further back to the Native American tribe Yamacraws, the first settlers in and around today’s Savannah. Together with the first colonizers, they form a well-rounded story of the city’s rich and colorful history.

Take a look at this interesting, educational, and concise overview of the history of Savannah, GA that your number one contractor in Georgia, Harper Special Services, has prepared for you.

The arrival of the First Colonizers

In the year 1733, a British General named James Edward Oglethorpe, a representative of King George II, arrived on his ship “Anne”, along with 120 other passengers, to the American Colonies, namely to the shores of the Savannah River. His mission and the main goal was to create a buffer zone to protect the state of South Carolina from the Spanish and the French that was advancing from Florida and Louisiana respectively.

Apart from that, Oglethorpe’s additional mission was to create a new start and a new life for the poor working class group of English men and women that he brought along, as well as to further develop trade in the American colonies in order to strengthen them.  With that in mind, he founded Georgia, the 13th and last British colony in America, named after their King.

Oglethorpe and his settlers were welcomed to the area by the Native American tribe called Yamacraws and their chief Tomochichi, whom the General befriended and maintained a peaceful and respectful relationship. Due to mutual respect and understanding, the Yamacraws granted him their permission to charter the town of Savannah, and unlike most other American colonies, Savannah and Georgia were founded peacefully, without war and conflict.

The town of Savannah soon after started growing and flourishing, becoming the first planned city in America. General Oglethorpe had already created an extensive and detailed plan for the city’s organization and growth, based on a grid of wide streets intersected by parks and public squares, as well as on sustainable agrarian economy. Out of the original 24 squares from the so-called Oglethorpe Plan, 22 have been preserved to this day in Savannah.

Revolutionary War and the Pre-Civil War Period

In lieu of the declaration of independence of the Thirteen Colonies, a global war ensued between the Thirteen Colonies, i.e. the United States of America, and Great Britain. Not long after the war’s beginning, in 1778 Savannah was taken by the British and remained under their control until 1782. An attempt was made by the French and the Americans to retake the city in 1779, but it was not successful.

After the war ended in 1783 and the independence was regained, the city of Savannah continued its growth and development. The basis of their economic growth was agriculture, primarily the cultivation of rice and cotton. Cotton plantations brought great wealth to the city, which prompted the building of many new homes and churches.

Savannah became one of the biggest and most important commercial and cotton seaports in the Atlantic, as well as the biggest producer of cotton in the United States. The Savannah Cotton Exchange was founded in the city, setting many world’s cotton prices, cotton market value and cotton factors.

Savannah also suffered some great misfortunes. There were two catastrophic fires that left the city almost completely devastated, in 1796 and in 1820, but it was both times successfully and fully rebuilt. In 1820 there was also a yellow fever outbreak in the city that killed nearly one-tenth of the population. But Savannah again recuperated, and all the way until the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, it flourished and remained one of the most beautiful cities in America.

Civil War and the Reconstruction Period

During the Civil War, Savannah’s economy suffered significantly, mostly due to sea blockades. The city was officially captured by Union soldiers in 1864, under the leadership of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The Union General was on the so-called “March to the Sea,” capturing and burning practically everything on his way.

In December he burned the city of Atlanta, arriving in Savannah soon after that. It is said that he found the city of Savannah too beautiful to destroy or burn and that he offered it to President Abraham Lincoln as a present for Christmas.

The end of the war and the beginning of reconstruction saw the city of Savannah in a pretty bad shape, as its economy was practically ruined and the food was very scarce. What began thriving, on the other hand, was the culture and the communities of the freed slaves. They started building their own schools and churches, their communities flourished, and Savannah, in the end, became one of the most important African-American cities in the country.

Savannah rose from the ashes again in the following, post-war years, returning to its old glory. In all aspects – economically, culturally, aesthetically – it once again became the impressive, charming, strong, and important city with a significant role in the U.S. history.

Savannah Today

Today, Savannah continues is growth and development and maintains its status as one of the most picturesque cities in the United States. Millions and millions of tourists are attracted to the city of Savannah every year, to its antebellum architecture, historic district, cobblestoned squares and beautiful parks.