Georgia was named for King George II of England, who had specified in the colony's charter that it should be named for him. Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe in 1732, the last of the 13 colonies to be formed.
Georgia was founded as a refuge for indebted prisoners in London and for persecuted Protestant sects. The British also wanted protection for South Carolina from invasion by the Spanish in Florida and French in Louisiana. It is considered one of the Southern Colonies, along with Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. At its largest, the colony included parts of modern-day Alabama and Mississippi. Though it prohibited slavery at its founding, by the 1800s, the colony had the most plantations of any southern colony, producing the major crops of sugar, indigo and rice.
Georgia became a state on January 2, 1788. It is the largest state east of the Mississippi River, with an area of 59,425 square miles. Its population as of the 2010 Census is 9,687,653. The capital of Georgia is Atlanta. It is the number-one producer of pecans, peanuts and peaches in the United States, giving Georgia one of its nicknames, "The Peach State." Georgia is also home to the only counties where Vidalia onions can be grown.