A View of Savannah, Georgia, 1734

A primary source by Pierre Fourdrinier

A view of Savanah [sic] as it stood the 29th of March, 1734, engraving by Pierre Fourdrinier after a drawing by Peter Gordon, London, 1735. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)The colony of Georgia was founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe, a British Member of Parliament. Oglethorpe planned Savannah as a place where the poor could come to make a better life. An attempt to produce a “classless society,” this first settlement in Georgia did not permit slavery and limited how much land could be owned. As Oglethorpe’s involvement in the colony diminished, the colonists in Georgia asked to have slavery allowed in their colony. By 1750, Georgia had become a slave-holding colony like its neighbor South Carolina.

This image of the year-old settlement in 1734 shows a grid of streets and squares carefully planned out by Oglethorpe. In the foreground, sailing ships and small boats visit the new port, and cargo is hauled up a steep embankment above the river. The engraving identifies important sites in the settlement: Mr. Ogelthorpe’s tent; the courthouse, mill, public oven, and well; the “House for Stangers”; the future location of the church; the fort and guard house among them. The original sketch is attributed to Peter Gordon, who was among the first settlers of the colony and served as its chief bailiff.

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