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Development of Georgia


Mansion in Georgia
Mansion in Georgia

The objectives of the trustees were soon called into question. The settlers were less interested in the security the trustees provided than in the opportunity to grow rich. “Clamorous malcontents” maintained that the colony would never grow until people could buy and sell all the land they wanted and have slaves to work the fields. They asserted they could not compete successfully against other colonies because wage labor cost the farm owner much more than slave labor. The trustees countered that the presence of slavery would make free workers lazy and would make defense more difficult. A few who sided with Oglethorpe also raised the issue of human rights, declaring it “shocking to human Nature, that any Race of Mankind, and their Posterity, should be sentenced to perpetual Slavery.” In the end the malcontents won and the trustees had to abandon their plans. By 1750 slavery was legal, land could be transferred, liquor could be made and sold, and Georgia had lost the features that made it unique. In 1752 the trustees surrendered their charter to the king, and two years later Georgia became a royal colony. The government now consisted of a governor and royal council, appointed by the king, and a legislature elected by the colonists.

The colony began to prosper. A profitable plantation economy developed, based on slavery. Rice, indigo, and wheat were cultivated, and cattle and hogs were raised. The fur trade with the Native Americans flourished, lumber was cut, and naval stores (pitch and tar) were produced. Georgia exported food and other goods to Great Britain in return for British manufactures and for slaves, sugar, rum, and molasses from the West Indies. The settler population, which was less than 5,000 in 1752, grew rapidly after the French and Indian War ended in 1763. After that war, which ended French competition in North America and transferred Florida to British control, Georgia’s western limit was set at the Mississippi River; its southern boundary with Florida was extended to the Saint Marys River. However, only the eastern part of the colony was settled. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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