In 1729, Carolina was divided into north and south. In 1731, a colony to be known as Georgia, after the new English king, was carved out of the southern part of the Carolina land grant. A young general, aristocrat, and humanitarian named James Edward Oglethorpe  gathered together a group of Trustees—similar to Carolina’s Lords Proprietors—to take advantage of that grant.
While Oglethorpe would go on to found Georgia, his wasn’t the first English presence. A garrison built Fort King George in modern-day Darien, Georgia, in 1721. A cypress blockhouse surrounded by palisaded earthworks, the fort defended the southern reaches of England’s claim for seven years before being abandoned in 1728.
On February 12, 1733, after stops in Beaufort and Charleston, the ship Anne with its 114 passengers made its way to the highest bluff on the Savannah River. The area was controlled by the peaceful Yamacraw tribe, who had been encouraged by the powers-that-be in Charleston to settle on this vacant land 12 miles up the river to serve as a buffer for the Spanish. Led by an elderly chief, or mico, named Tomochichi, the Yamacraw enjoyed the area’s natural bounty of shellfish, fruit, nuts, and small game.
Ever the deft politician, Oglethorpe struck up a treaty and eventually a genuine friendship with Tomochichi. To the Yamacraw Oglethorpe was a rare bird—a white man who behaved with honor and was true to his word. The tribe reciprocated by helping the settlers and pledging fealty to the crown. Oglethorpe reported to the Trustees that Tomochichi personally requested “that we would Love and Protect their little Families.”
In negotiations with local tribes using Mary Musgrove, a Creek-English settler in the area, as translator, the persuasive Oglethorpe convinced the coastal Creek to cede to the crown all Georgia land to the Altamaha River “which our Nation hath not occasion for to use” in exchange for goods. The tribes also reserved the Georgia Sea Islands of Sapelo, Ossabaw, and St. Catherine’s.
Oglethorpe’s impact was felt farther down the Georgia coast, as St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Darien, and Brunswick were settled in rapid succession, and with them the entrenchment of the plantation system and slave labor.
While the Trustees’ utopian vision was largely economic in nature, like Carolina the Georgia colony also emphasized religious freedom. While to modern ears Charleston’s antipathy towards “papists” and Oglethorpe’s original ban of Roman Catholics from Georgia might seem incompatible with this goal, the reason was a coldly pragmatic one for the time: England’s two main global rivals, France and Spain, were both staunchly Catholic countries.