THE ORIGIN OF SAVANNAH

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This is an extract of the article, with small photos. You will find the complete article with full-sized photos in my e-book View America: South Atlantic - Part 2

In the travel series View America, South Atlantic - Part 2 covers Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia. It is not a traditional travelogue, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, tourist attractions and points of interest.

My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 100 full-sized photos.

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The origin of Savannah

In 1733, James Oglethorpe founded the city of Savannah, the first permanent colony in Georgia. The name "Savannah" was probably a corruption of a Shawnee name. Oglethorpe planned the construction of the city with large 24 squares, so that each family could build a house along a park. It is the oldest city in Georgia, and one of the first planned cities in the USA. The city lies at the mouth of the Savannah River, on the Atlantic Ocean.

Three times in the course of its history Savannah was ravaged by fire. In 1796, more than 300 houses burned down, in 1826 a second fire destroyed "only" 100 houses, and in 1870 a third fire caused more damage. After the first fire, the plantations made bricks from the river's clay, and most new homes were built in stone.

The Civil War (1860-1865) runs like a thread through Savannah's history. In December 1864, general William Tecumseh Sherman conquered the city, after the second bloodiest battle of the entire civil war. In one terrific blow he also ruined the economy of the entire state. After the battle he intended to let his soldiers loot and torch the city, as was his wont on his military campaign. Confederate general Robert E. Lee however, during his withdrawal, presented the entire city to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift for his wife, on the condition that he would stop it from being burned. Which is what happened...

Even today, parts of the city may look rather poorly, but a visit to this ancient glory is more than worth the trip, with the picturesque harbor and its "cobblestones", and the many boutiques in the old cotton warehouses.

Savannah, Georgia 1 Savannah, Georgia 2

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