History of Savannah

Immerse Yourself in Savannah's History

Founded in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe, Savannah is home to the largest National Historic Landmark District in the country, attracting more than 14 million visitors a year. The city’s 22 public squares, striking monuments, antebellum mansions and fascinating historic sites are all part of Savannah’s charm.
In the early days, much like today, Savannah flourished, serving as a vital port for trade. The city was home to Georgia’s first banking center and the state’s first railroad, which expanded the importation of goods, especially cotton.
After surviving a consuming fire and a yellow fever epidemic in 1820, Savannah entered a period of great prosperity, which lasted until the Civil War. Union General Sherman was so enamored with Savannah that he presented it to President Lincoln as a Christmas present in 1864. As a result, Savannah was spared from the devastation that was the fate of much of the South.

Today, Oglethorpe’s vision of prosperity and beauty lives in the Historic District — a 2.5-square-mile area filled with shops, cafes, green squares and impressive architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Every day, Savannah residents have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Savannah’s historical treasures including its elegant architecture, ornate ironwork, green squares, museums and more. Whether you want to tour author Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home, explore the tunnels and ramparts at Old Fort Jackson, walk through the home of the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA, or admire antique locomotives at the Georgia State Railroad Museum, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with Savannah’s history.