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.

Hessian Third Guard Regiment
Hessian Third Guard Regiment

From The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, by S. K. and E. N. Kaplan


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.

Bank of the United States
Bank of the United States

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division


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.

Ellen Craft in Disguise
Ellen Craft in Disguise


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 Long  became the first African American from Georgia elected to the U.S. Congress.

Jefferson Franklin Long
Jefferson Franklin Long

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division


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.

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting

Photograph by Amanda Heffron Morgan


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.

Albany Movement
Albany Movement

Courtesy of Georgia Archives.


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.

Stage Adaptation of The Color Purple
Stage Adaptation of The Color Purple

Courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


1991

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


2000-Present

2006

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


December Birthdays

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Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

As a result of changes in the landscape, the number of painted buntings (Passerina ciris), the most colorful songbirds in the state, declined by more than 50 percent in Georgia from 1966 to 2000.

Photograph by Amanda Heffron Morgan