The Southern Colonies

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Why is James Oglethorpe considered to be important?

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James Oglethorpe (1696-1785) was a British Member of Parliament, soldier, philanthropist, and social reformer. However, he is chiefly remembered for having founded the colony of Georgia.

General James Oglethorpe named the province Georgia after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia Colony was the last of the thirteen colonies formed by Great Britain in America.

General Oglethorpe envisioned Georgia as a habitat for the British poor who were struggling in debtors' prisons in the UK.

The General is also remembered for his leadership during the Spanish invasion of Georgia. Under his command, the British defeated the Spaniards in the Battle of Gully Hole Creek and Battle of Bloody Marsh. These ultimately led to Spain's official recognition of British rights over Georgia.

Under Oglethorpe, the colony's original charter prohibited slavery. Liquor was banned and there were restrictions on uninhibited land acquisition by settlers.

Oglethorpe holds a special place in the heart of Americans. Not only did he strive to establish a colony based on humanitarian ideals, he also made his admiration for America known when John Adams visited England as the American ambassador to the court of the British monarch.

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