Why Was the Georgia Colony Established?

The Georgia colony was established as a buffer zone between the prosperous South Carolina colony to the north and Spanish Florida to the south. Although the founder, James Oglethorpe, originally envisioned Georgia as a haven for debtors and the poor, he was unable to realize that vision.

King George II granted the Georgia charter, and Parliament paid a yearly stipend, to 20 trustees who remained in England and managed the colony from afar. Because it was ostensibly a charitable corporation, severe limits were placed on how much land each colonist could hold, and a number of rules were implemented to ensure honorable behavior. For instance, liquor was forbidden, as the trustees believed that liquor led to idleness. Slavery was initially forbidden as well on the theory that strong, self-sufficient farmers would be better able to guard the border.

In February 1732, Oglethorpe arrived with 116 settlers and began to construct the colony with the help of a local Native American chief. The settlers felt constricted by all the regulations and their inability to expand their land holdings, and Oglethorpe and the trustees soon lifted most of the restrictions. In 1749, slavery was allowed. In 1752, the trustees returned the charter to the king, and in 1755, Georgia became a crown colony.