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Augusta, Georgia

HistoryEdit Main article: History of Augusta, Georgia The area along the river was long inhabited by varying cultures of indigenous peoples, who relied on the river for fish, water and transportation. The site of Augusta was used by Native Americans as a place to cross the Savannah River, because of its location on the fall line. In 1735, two years after James Oglethorpe foundedSavannah, he sent a detachment of troops to explore up the Savannah River. He gave them an order to build at the head of the navigable part of the river. The expedition was led by Noble Jones, who created the settlement to provide a first line of defense for coastal areas against potential Spanish or Frenchinvasion from the interior. Oglethorpe named the town Augusta, in honor of Princess Augusta, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales and mother of the future King George III of the United Kingdom. Oglethorpevisited Augusta only once, which was in September, 1739. He did so while returning to Savannah from a perilous visit to Coweta Town where he had met with a convention of seven thousand Native American soldiers and obtained peaceful relations with several Native American groups in what is today the northern and western part of Georgia.[9] Augusta was the second state capital of Georgia from 1785 until 1795 (alternating for a period with Savannah, the first). Augusta developed rapidly as a market town along with the development of the Black Belt in the Piedmont of Georgia; large cotton plantations for short-staple cotton were developed and generated great revenue from slave labor after the invention of the cotton gin made cultivation of short-staple cotton more profitable. Many of the slaves were brought from the Lowcountry, where their Gullahculture had developed on the large Sea Island cotton and rice plantations. A riot in 1970 involving 500 people began when a mentally disabled teenager, Charles Oatman, was killed by his cellmates in an Augusta jail. Six black men were killed by police,[10] each shot in the back.[11] James Brown was called in to quell lingering tensions, was misquoted, but still succeeded where the mayor did not.[10]

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