The colony he founded is now the largest of the United States east of the Mississippi.
James Edward Oglethorpe was born in 1696 in London and was educated at Oxford. He gained valuable military experience in the Austrian army fighting the Turks. Oglethorpe chaired a parliamentary committee charged with prison reform. It inspired him and a group that became the Georgia Trustees to start a new North American colony as a haven for the destitute and the poor. With a charter from King George II, Oglethorpe sailed in1732 with the first colonists—none of whom were poor or destitute—arriving in February 1733.
Oglethorpe served as unofficial governor for 10 years, working tirelessly to ensure political, military, and economic stability. After repelling a Spanish attack in 1742, Oglethorpe left for to England the next year and never returned. He remained interested in American affairs, however, and just weeks before his death he met with John Adams, the first ambassador to Britain from the independent United States.
Georgia’s founding father died at age 88 on June 30, 1785, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.