The city of Atlanta, Georgia, started in 1837, and was first called Marthasville after the governor's daughter. The city came about due to its position as one end of the Western and Atlantic railroad line, and so also had the nickname Terminus. The name "Atlanta" came from the feminized "Atlantic."
Atlanta had about 9,554 people by 1860, and was also the fourth-largest city in the state. The population included a number a slaves. At this time, the mayor of the city had to approve of meetings of slaves and free African-Americans, and curfews were also in place.
Atlanta was an important point during the Civil War for the Confederates as a home front, transportation center and manufacturer of war materials, with many already existing industries in the city turning their efforts to the war. The Atlanta Sword Manufactory, Quartermaster Depot, and the Spiller and Burr pistol factory were among the war-geared businesses during this time.
General William T. Sherman and the Union captured Atlanta on Sept. 2, 1864, and issued an order of evacuation. The Union army destroyed railroad depots, the roundhouse and machine shops within the city. Still, the city's connection to the railroads caused it to rebound during the post-war years, and Atlanta became one of the most important commercial centers in the South by 1890.
In the 1970s, several skyscrapers modernized the city.