From blue mountains, to rolling hills and lakes, to great cities, to the golden coast, Georgia is a place of great diversity and rich history.
The first people to live in what is now Georgia were prehistoric Indians called Mound Builders. Before white men came to the region, the Creek Indians had settled in the south and the Cherokee in the north.
Hernando de Soto of Spain was probably the first white man to visit the Georgia region. He crossed the area in 1540, on his way from Florida to the Mississippi River. In 1564, French settlers established a colony in Florida. This action angered King Philip II of Spain, who claimed all of what is now the southeastern United States. In 1565, he sent Pedro Menendez de Aviles to drive out the French. Menendez defeated them, and then built forts along the Atlantic coast. In 1566, Menendez built a fort on St. Catherines Island in present-day Georgia.
England also claimed the Georgia region. In 1629, the region became part of a colonial land grant made by King Charles I. The English built a fort on the Altamaha River in 1721. They abandoned the fort in 1727 because of its expense.