The day after visiting Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island, Betsy and I went to downtown Savannah to tour the historic district.
Georgia was the last of the English colonies to be founded in North America. James Edward Oglethorpe is considered the founder of Georgia, although he was only one of 21 persons named as trustees of the new colony. An interesting provision of the original charter was that rum, lawyers and slavery were forbidden!
England had several reasons for founding Georgia. Oglethorpe was personally interested in providing relief to the debtors of England and in helping the English poor and unemployed. The English crown wanted to remove the poor so England would not have to support them. Another interest of the crown was to provide a buffer to protect South Carolina from Spaniards in Florida.
Oglethorpe and 120 other settlers arrived in what is now Savannah in February, 1733. Oglethorpe soon became friends with a local Indian chief, Tomochichi. Oglethorpe and Tomochichi pledged mutual goodwill and the Yamacraw chief granted the new arrivals permission to settle Savannah on its bluff above the river. As a result the town flourished without warfare and the accompanying hardship the burdened many of England’s early colonies.
Savannah is known as America’s first planned city. Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide open streets dotted with shady public squares and parks that served as town meeting places and centers of business. Savannah had 24 original squares and 21 of them are still in existence.
I must admit that we didn’t enjoy our tour of Savannah as much as we enjoyed our tour of Charleston, but we did get a good overview of the historic district and are now ready to go back and take a walking tour!
To see more of our tour click HERE.