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Savannah holds the distinction of being Georgia’s first city and was founded at the same time the colony of Georgia was founded by James Edward Oglethorpe. You probably know it is a historic city and that it has a culture unique to the rest of the state, but here are five facts about Georgia’s oldest city that you probably didn’t know.
The Port of Savannah is big business
When we talk about commerce in Georgia, we usually talk about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the city of Atlanta, but The Port of Savannah is also a huge economic driver in the state. It is the fastest growing port in the United States. It is also physically big. The port lines both sides of the Savannah River for 18 miles.
They’ve built some important ships there
The first steam ship to cross the Atlantic ocean was built in Savannah. That ship was the SS Savannah, built in 1818. The seafaring victory was short-lived though. In addition to the ship having issues as a commercial endeavor, it crashed off the coast of Long Island in 1821.
It was Georgia’s capitol
In addition to being the Peach State’s first city, Savannah was also its first capitol. When Georgia became a royal colony in 1754, Savannah was declared the seat of government for the colony. It also became the capitol when statehood was declared in 1776. However, the British capture of Savannah and disputes between the northern and southern portions of the state would cause Savannah and Augusta to rotate as the center of government for the state, with Augusta eventually becoming the state’s second capitol.
The city still uses parts of James Edward Oglethorpe’s original design plans
Believe it or not, the city still uses aspects of its original design plan developed by its founder in the 1700s. This was the plan that was put in place by James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of the state of Georgia. The plan calls for the city to be divided into wards. Each ward has a ratio of 50% developable space to 50% public space. The sizes of the wards can differ, but this aesthetic is part of what gives Savannah its charm and makes it different from other cities in the state.
Savannah is a major tourist attraction
You probably know that the streets of Savannah or packed for St. Patrick’s Day, but you may not know the extent of the city’s impact on state tourism. Savannah is a tourist destination that draws people from outside Georgia. In 2014, an estimated 13.5 million visitors traveled to Savannah. Guests were both national and international.