Year
1788

Georgia enters the Union

Georgia votes to ratify the U.S. Constitution, becoming the fourth state in the modern United States. Named after King George II, Georgia was first settled by Europeans in 1733, when a group of British debtors led by English philanthropist James E. Oglethorpe traveled up the Savannah River and established Georgia’s first permanent settlement–the town of Savannah. In 1742, as part of a larger conflict between Spain and Great Britain, Oglethorpe defeated the Spanish on St. Simons Island in Georgia, effectively ending Spanish claims to the territory of Georgia.

Georgia, rich in export potential, was one of the most prosperous British colonies in America and was thus slower than the other colonies to resent the oppressive acts of the Parliament and King George III. However, by the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Georgian Patriots had organized, and delegates were sent to the Second Continental Congress. During the war, Georgia was heavily divided between Loyalists and Patriots, and the British soon held most of the state. Savannah served as a key British base for their southern war operations, and the grim four-year British occupation won many Georgians over to the Patriot cause. In 1788, Georgia became the first southern state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

First censuring of a U.S. senator

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Reconquest of Spain

The kingdom of Granada falls to the Christian forces of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I, and the Moors lose their last foothold in Spain. Located at the confluence of the Darro and Genil rivers in southern Spain, the city of Granada was a Moorish fortress that rose to ...read more

Callas walks out of performance

On January 2, 1958, celebrated soprano Maria Callas walks off after the first act of a gala performance of Bellini’s Norma in Rome, claiming illness. The president of Italy and most of Rome’s high society were in the audience, and Callas, known for her volatile temperament, was ...read more

U.S.-Russia detente ends

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Viet Cong are successful at Ap Bac

At Ap Bac, a village in the Mekong Delta 50 miles southwest of Saigon, the Viet Cong inflict heavy casualties on a much larger South Vietnamese force. About 2,500 troops of South Vietnam’s 7th Infantry Division–equipped with automatic weapons, armored amphibious personnel ...read more

U.S. planes down seven enemy planes

In what is described as the biggest air battle of the war to date, U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets down seven communist MiG-21s over North Vietnam. The Phantoms were flying cover for F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers, which were attacking surface-to-air missile sites in the Red ...read more

Sooners win 30th game in a row

On January 2, 1956, Oklahoma University’s champion football team, the Sooners, defeat Maryland 20-6 in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, winning the national championship and scoring their 30th straight victory in the middle of a winning streak that went on to stretch to 47 ...read more

Nixon signs national speed limit into law

On this day in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon signs the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, setting a new national maximum speed limit. Prior to 1974, individual states set speed limits within their boundaries and highway speed limits across the country ranged from 40 ...read more

Football fans crushed in stadium stampede

On this day in 1971, 66 football (soccer) fans are killed in a stampede at a stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, as they attempt to leave a game after a late goal by the home team. Initial reports suggested that the disaster was caused by fans returning to their seats after hearing of ...read more

The Yorkshire Ripper is apprehended

The so-called Yorkshire Ripper is finally caught by British police, ending one of the largest manhunts in history. For five years, investigators had pursued every lead in an effort to stop the serial killer who terrorized Northern England, but the end came out of pure ...read more