Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and furthest south of the original Thirteen Colonies. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina down to Spanish Florida and New France along Louisiana (New France), also bordering to the west towards the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia’s counties ranked among the nation’s 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state’s capital and most populous city, has been named a global city.
Georgia is bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina, to the northeast by South Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Florida, and to the west by Alabama. The state’s northernmost part is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains system. The Piedmont extends through the central part of the state from the foothills of the Blue Ridge to the Fall Line, where the rivers cascade down in elevation to the coastal plain of the state’s southern part. Georgia’s highest point is Brasstown Bald at 4,784 feet (1,458 m) above sea level; the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean. Of the states entirely east of the Mississippi River, Georgia is the largest in land area.