In 1732 a group of English ‘worthy poor’ settlers led by English philanthropist and member of Parliament James Oglethorpe, landed at Savannah and began establishing a chartered colony named ‘Georgia’ after George II. Its constitution was progressive and egalitarian, with land-ownership limited to 50 acres. Initially, slavery was banned, although with the steady expansion of cotton-growing, it was introduced in 1749. Oglethorpe also negotiated peaceful relations with the Yamacraw Native Americans. However, the expanding colony soon came into conflict with the Spanish possessions to the south, and war broke out in 1739 for control of the Caribbean Sea. In 1742 the Spanish failed in an attempt to invade Georgia and formally conceded British control. It became a British crown colony in 1752. Under its original London charter, Georgia theoretically claimed all westward land across the continent between 31 and 35 degrees latitude, but in 1763 George III issued a largely academic proclamation prohibiting any new settlement west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains, an area designated an ‘Indian Reserve’. The Treaty of Beaufort (1787) established the Savannah, Tugalo and Chattooga rivers as the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina. Increasingly resistant to distant British rule and taxation, Georgia was one of the thirteen provinces which first formed the ‘United States’ and fought their successful War of Independence (1776–1783).
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