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The state of Georgia has a total area of 152,750 sq km (58,977 sq mi), including 2618 sq km (1011 sq mi) of inland water and 122 sq km (47 sq mi) of coastal waters over which the state has jurisdiction. The state is the 24th largest in the country and has the largest land area of any state east of the Mississippi River. Georgia has a top range north to south of 515 km (320 mi) and east to west of 441 km (274 mi). The mean elevation is about 180 m (about 600 ft). Georgia occupies parts of six natural regions, or physiographic provinces. They are the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge province, the Ridge and Valley province, and the Appalachian Plateaus.Almost the whole area of Georgia was forested in early colonial times, and about three-fifths of the land is still covered by forests and woodlands. Mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees cover most of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountain areas. Normal trees in these areas include species of ash, beech, birch, hemlock, hickory, poplar, sweetgum, sycamore, red oak, white oak, and Virginia, shortleaf, and loblolly pines. Pines which dominate on the Piedmont are loblolly and shortleaf pine trees. On the coastal plains, slash, loblolly, and longleaf pines are found. The live oak, the state tree, thrives in the southern part of the coastal plains. Palmettos are found in areas of sandy soil, and bald cypresses and tupelo gums are commonly found in swampy and badly drained areas. Spanish moss festoons many of the cypresses in Okefenokee Swamp. Other trees that are found in the state include the red maple, sweet bay, black cherry, butternut, sassafras, southern magnolia, cottonwood, locust, and elm. Flowering plants grow in great abundance in Georgia. Those natural to the state include the trillium, galax, bellwort, hepatica, mayapple, bloodroot, violet, columbine, lady slipper, and Cherokee rose, which is the stte of Georgia’s state flower. Among the many shrubs and tiny flowering trees common in Georgia are species of laurel, mimosa, redbud, flowering dogwood, rhododendron, and flame azalea. White-tailed deer are the most common of the larger mammals found in the state. There are black bears in the northern mountains and in Okefenokee Swamp, and bobcats roam many of the rural areas. Red foxes, gray foxes, muskrats, raccoons, opossums, flying squirrels, foxes and gray squirrels are abundant in the forested areas, and otter and beaver are met in many swamps and rivers.In the mid-1990s there was about 43,000 farms in Georgia. Only about two-fifths had annual sales of $10,000 or more. Many of the rest of the farms were hobbies for operators who held different jobs. Farmland occupied 4.9 million hectares (12.1 million acres), of which less than one-third was harvested. The rest was mostly pasture or woodland.The sale of livestock and livestock products accounts for about three-fifths of total yearly farm income. The sale of produce accounts for the rest. Broilers (young chickens raised for meat) are the state’s most valuable farm product, followed by peanuts and beef cattle. The state’s other important farm products include eggs, hogs, milk, vegetables, greenhouse seedlings, tobacco, soybeans, corn, pecans, and cotton. Georgia leads all other states in the production of peanuts and pecans and is second after Arkansas in the producing of broilers.Until the Civil War, nearly all the cotton during most of the 19th century, cotton was the main crop. Itwas grown on plantations by black slaves, who picked it by hand. After slavery was abolished most blacks, having no land of their own, became sharecroppers, who got their farm and family supplies on credit from the planters and were in assumption paid a share of the crop income. Under this system, cotton dominated the economy more than ever. However, during the 1920s the boll weevil, a tiny beetle that eats the growing cotton boll, devastated much of the cotton crop and infested great areas of the cotton-growing lands of the South. Moreover, at about that same time, crop yields began to fall, and it became clear that nearly 200 years of constant cotton cultivation had ruined the soil. Efforts were made to vary the state’s farm economy. As a result, many cotton lands were planted in other crops or switched over to pasture. Cotton cultivation was resumed after methods were found to control the boll weevil, but cotton acreage was greatly reduced.Beginning in the 1940s, thousands of farms were consolidated and mechanized and the demand for farm workers decreased. As farms consolidated their size got larger, and by the mid-1990s each averaged 114 hectares (281 acres). Most farms are owner-operated.Georgia is divided into 159 counties, most governed by boards of elected commissioners. In the others, local government is the responsibility of the probate court judge. The most common type of municipal government in Georgia is the mayor and council plan. Government by council and manager has become increasingly popular. A few cities still use a modified version of the commission form of municipal government. Georgia elects 11 representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives and two senators. The state has 13 electoral votes.Some famous Georgians were Griffin Bell, James Bowie, James Brown, Erskine Caldwell, Jimmy Carter, Ray Charles, Lucius D. Clay, Ty Cobb, John C. Fremont, Newt Gingrich, Joel Chandler Harris, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gladys Knight, Sidney Lanier, Juliette Gordon Low, Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Connor, Otis Redding, Jackie Robinson, Alice Walker, Joseph Wheeler. Atlanta, with a population in 1990 of 394,017 in the city and an estimated 3,143,000 in the metropolitan area in 1992, is the capital, biggest city, and leading economic center of the state, and the main city of the entire southeastern United States. Increase in the white-collar service economy, led by enlargement of corporate headquarters and services such as giving legal advice, computing, and advertising, makes up for a large part of Atlanta’s recent expansion. The metropolitan area centered on the city now contains three suburban cores in addition to the original central business district. These suburban cities, sometimes called edge cities, each possess an impressive skyline of tall buildings and major retail shopping centers. The Atlanta region’s economy was also backed when the city hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.Georgia’s second largest city is Columbus, with 179,278 people, which grew formerly as a Fall Line industrial city. Fort Benning, a large United States Army infantry base, is near the city. Savannah, with a population of 137,560, was the largest city in Georgia until the rise of Atlanta in the 20th century. A bustling economic center and seaport, Savannah is the first city in the state and has retained much of the aura of its favorable past. Other major cities include Macon, with 106,612 inhabitants, Albany, with 78,122 people, and Augusta, with 44,639 inhabitants.Slavery was one of the most divisive political issues in Congress in the 19th century. Many Congress members from the Northern states pressed to end slavery, both because it was considered corrupt and because white labor could not compete with unpaid black labor. Members from the Deep South (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida) believed that slavery was necessary to their cotton-based agricultural system and that the North was trying to rule the national economy. By the 1850s, the Southern states were united in bitter hate to proposed congressional legislation excluding slavery from the country’s new Western territories. Many in the South were coming to believe that secession from the Union was the only way to protect “Southern rights,” including the right to own slaves. Yet many of Georgia’s leaders urged agreement. Largely through the labor of three Georgians, Representatives Alexander H. Stephens, Robert Toombs, and Howell Cobb, the Southern states accepted the Compromise Measures of 1850, a series of acts that temporarily settled the issue. The Georgia state motto is wisdom, justice and moderation. The Georgia state flower is the Cherokee rose. The Georgia state bird isthe Brown thrasher. The Georgia state tree is the Live oak. The Georgia state son is Georgia On My Mind. It was the fourth of the 13 original states to ratify the Constitution, Jan. 2, 1788The population of Georgia 1994 was 7,055,336 It ranks 11. The net change from 1990-94 was 8.9%. The population density was 116.6 per sq m Georgia has and area of 58,876 sq mi (152,489 sq km). Georgia has a population of (1990) 6,478,216, an 18.6% increase over 1980 pop. The capitol is Atlanta. It became a state onJan. 2, 1788 (fourth of original 13 states to ratify the Constitution). It’s highest point was Brasstown Bald, 4,784 ft (1,459 m) Its lowest point is, sea level. Its nicknames is the Empire State of the South.

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