December in Georgia History

A number of important historical events have occurred in Georgia during the month of December.

1750-1799

1778
Savannah fell to British troops during the Revolutionary War.

1800-1849

1816
The Georgia Penitentiary in Milledgeville, one of the first facilities of its kind in the South, was completed.

1817
The renowned architect William Jay arrived in Savannah, where he designed public buildings and private homes.

1835
Elias Boudinot, along with Major Ridge and his son John Ridge, signed the Treaty of New Echota, which ceded all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi River to the United States. That same month construction began on the railroad that would become the Central of Georgia Railway.

1836
The state legislature chartered Wesleyan College in Macon, the first degree-granting women's college in the world, and in 1839 it chartered the Georgia Historical Society, headquartered in Savannah.

1843
The frontier railroad town of Marthasville was incorporated, and in 1847 the town's name was changed to Atlanta.

1848
Enslaved African Americans Ellen and William Craft staged their daring escape from Macon.

1850-1899

1864
During the Civil War, the ironclad CSS Savannah became the last Confederate ship to fight in Georgia waters. Two days later, at the end of his March to the Sea, Union general William T. Sherman offered the city of Savannah to U.S. president Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas gift.

1865
The Georgia General Assembly ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery.

1870
Jefferson Franklin Longbecame the first African American from Georgia elected to the U.S. Congress.

1877
Georgia voters elected to keep Atlanta as the state's capital rather than have it return to Milledgeville, which had been the seat of government prior to the Civil War.

1900-1949

1933
The stage version of Erskine Caldwell's novel Tobacco Road opened in New York City.

1936
The Georgia Ornithological Society was founded to promote the interest in and appreciation of birds throughout the state.

1939
The premiere of the film Gone With the Wind, based on Margaret Mitchell's best-selling novel, was held in Atlanta.

1943
The Bell Bomber plant in Marietta delivered its first two Boeing-designed B-29s.

1946
The death of governor-elect Eugene Talmadge resulted in a political battle known as the "three governors controversy."

1950-1999

1959
Saul Levitt's two-act play The Andersonville Trial, which chronicles the trial of Henry Wirz, the commander of Andersonville Prison during the Civil War, opened on Broadway.

1961
During the Albany Movement, hundreds of protesters, including Martin Luther King Jr., were arrested and jailed in Albany. The next year in Albany a group of four musicians organized the Freedom Singers. The group performed around the country to raise both awareness of civil rights issues and funds for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

1963
Vince Dooley became the head football coach at the University of Georgia.

1981
Turner Broadcasting System launched Headline News, the first major spin-off from CNN.

1985
The film adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Color Purple was released. A Broadway musical adaptation followed in 2005.

1991
The Atlanta Falcons football team played its last game in Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium before moving to the Georgia Dome.

2000-2049

2006
BellSouth remerged with its former parent company, AT&T.

December Birthdays

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Cite This Article
Staff, NGE. "December in Georgia History." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 30 January 2014. Web. 24 October 2014.
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