Atlanta history is engaging, interesting, and at times, quite downtrodden. This is the case with many of the major southern cities that emerged in the youthful United States in the early nineteenth century. What is today a bustling metropolis overflowing with things to do, cool nightlife, and destinations, had to batter through years of difficulty to recover fully from war.
Just 30 years after the territory that would become Atlanta was sequestered by white settlers from the Cherokee and Creek Native Americans, the American Civil War gripped the nation and divided it along racial, political, and ideological lines. The history of Atlanta Georgia is as much about reconstruction as it is growth, as much about progress as it mishandled disputes.
Some of the most interesting facts about Atlanta point to the ways in which the city collectively and creatively attempted to sidestep and ultimately remedy the racial and other divisions. From slogans like “the city that is too busy to hate” to the outright decision to progress in a more post-modern fashion (as opposed to much of the rest of the South), Atlanta has attempted to set aside the bickering and concentrate instead on growth and expansion. It has grown from a handful of settlers in 1822 to being the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States.
The first settlement in Atlanta history was in present-day Decatur (just east of the downtown area). It took about fourteen years from this point of taking over the land from the Native American Indians who inhabited it for centuries until the newly formed Georgia General Assembly cast a vote to begin construction of the Western and Atlantic Railroad to connect Atlanta with the Midwestern United States. Between 1838 and 1839, the remaining Cherokees were forcibly removed from their homeland in order to make way for the coming of big industry.
The construction of the railroad began in earnest at this time. In 1842, there were around 6 buildings and 30 residents in the town then called Marthasville. The history of Atlanta Georgia would forever be changed when the chief architect of the railroad suggested changing the name to Atlantica-Pacifica. The name was quickly shortened to Atlanta and ratified by the general assembly. One of the interesting facts about Atlanta is that it is the fifth capital (and present-day capital) in the history of the state. Population boomed to nearly 10,000 people by 1854 when the emergence of another railway connected Atlanta to Lagrange.
The American Civil War impacted the history of Atlanta significantly. General Sherman of the Union side besieged the city with a four-month assault in 1864, resulting in the burning of Atlanta. The general saw it fit to spare the city’s hospitals and churches, but little else. The most interesting facts about Atlanta and its role in the Civil War can be unearthed in a study of its seminal battles: the Battle of Atlanta, the Battle of Peachtree Creek, and the Battle of Ezra Church. The rebuilding process was gradual but much of the semblance of order had been restored by the turn of the twentieth century.
Atlanta history is filled with interesting facts that point to its ultimate major growth throughout the course of the twentieth century. It is now a popular vacation destination for people within the U.S. and home to some of the country’s top corporations.