The state, the southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies, began as a British colony in 1733.
Here are five places to begin exploring Georgia’s unique history.
Etowah Indian Mounds
Long before Europeans settled what is modern-day Georgia, native culture developed great cities. One of these cities is the Etowah Indian Mounds near Cartersville, Ga.
Located on the north shore of the Etowah River, the mounds were inhabited from 1000 to 1550 by Muskogean Native Americans of the Mississippian culture. Designated a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s, this 54-acre state park includes a museum with artifacts discovered at the site, six mounds the natives built, and many other related sites.
Another Native American site in Georgia worthy of exploring is Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park near Macon, Ga.
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island preserves the settlement James Oglethorpe founded in 1736, just three years after he established Georgia. The goal was to protect the southern boundary of the British colony of Georgia from the Spanish.
More than 600 British troops call the fort at home at times. During the battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek in 1742, forces successfully repulsed Spanish attempts to invade St. Simons Island.
Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site
The Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, located in the 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse in downtown Dahlonega, Ga., showcases about one of the country’s first gold rushes. The Georgia Gold Rush began in 1829 and predated the more famous rush in California.
The museum collection includes exhibits about the mining of gold, tools miners used and actual samples of gold. The building features wooden seats from 1889 and the judge’s chambers.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, between Marietta and Kennesaw, commemorates a significant battle of the Civil War, where Confederate forces mounted a defense against Union Gen. William T. Sherman as he marched southward through Georgia.
The 2,923-acre national park features 18 miles of walking trails and has three battlefield areas: one located in front of the Visitor Center, another off Burnt Hickory Road and the main site at Cheatham Hill, which during the Civil War was called the Dead Angle.
Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center in Atlanta interprets the history of Atlanta and Georgia from its founding to modern days. The museum, located in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, recently added the Cyclorama, a massive 360-degree painting depicting the Civil War’s Battle of Atlanta.