From trustee colony to royal colony
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From Trustee Colony to Royal Colony. Trustee period: 1732-1752 Referred to as Trustee Georgia because during that time a Board of Trustees ruled the colony. Ending the Trustee Period. During the 20 years of the Trustee period, many accomplishments were made:

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From trustee colony to royal colony
From Trustee Colony to Royal Colony

  • Trustee period: 1732-1752

    • Referred to as Trustee Georgia because during that time a Board of Trustees ruled the colony


Ending the trustee period
Ending the Trustee Period

  • During the 20 years of the Trustee period, many accomplishments were made:

    • 5500 people had settled in Georgia, building homes and starting new lives

    • Settlers escaping religious persecution were able to worship freely

    • Treaties with the Native Americans, as well as the elimination of the Spanish threat of invasion (Battle of Bloody Marsh), had ended the need for British protection

    • Court system still functioned: by 1750, colonists had gained outright ownership of land, and women were able to inherit property

    • Bethesda Orphans Home in Ebenezer became Bethesda House (school)

      • Provided basic education to many future Georgia leaders

Bethesda Home for Boys, 1740

1361 PH Georgia Historical Society Photograph Collection, Box 7, Folder 12, Item 1303


Georgia as a royal colony
Georgia as a Royal Colony

  • When the original charter ended in 1752, Georgia became a British royal colony (this lasted until the end of the American Revolution—1783)

    • Royal colony: one directly governed by the king

    • Proprietary colony (GA: 1732-1752): governed by a board of trustees

  • 1752: Puritans from SC started moving into present-day Liberty County, bringing their slaves with them. They began growing rice and indigo (why?) and built a port at Sunbury so that planters could ship their crops


John reynolds 1 st royal governor 1754 1757
John Reynolds (1st royal Governor:1754-1757)

  • Arrived in Georgia on October 1, 1754—colonists cheered at his arrival

  • Introduced the idea of self-government: wanted the colonists to help run the government

  • Set up a court system: Court of Conscience


Government in the royal colony
Government in the Royal Colony

  • Bicameral (two chamber) legislature was set up to represent the 8 parishes of the colony

    • Parish: a British government district

  • Lower house: Commons House of Assembly

    • Those wishing to join the Assembly had to own at least 500 acres of land

  • Upper house: Governor’s Council

    • King of England appointed members of the Governor’s Council

  • New government met for the 1st time in 1755 in Savannah

    • reorganized state militia

    • passed bills to build/repair roads

    • drew up codes to restrict the rights of slaves


Court system in the royal colony
Court system in the Royal Colony

  • Court of Conscience: presided over by a local justice of the peace

    • When colonists had complaints, they would go before this court

  • Cases that could not be settled went to the Governor’s Council


Reynolds downfall
Reynolds’ downfall

  • Reynolds dissolved the legislature when he felt threatened that they would undermine his authority

  • Without the legislature, Reynolds attempted to run the government himself, making the colonists angry

  • Angry colonists (including a large land-holder) wrote to King George complaining about Reynolds actions. He relinquished control of Georgia to Henry Ellis in 1757

King George II—in a Royal Colony, the King has ultimate control


Henry ellis 1757 1760
Henry Ellis (1757-1760

  • Took control after Reynolds

    • Learned quickly from Reynolds’ mistakes

  • Brought people together from many different political groups

    • Population almost doubled under his term: 1759—population was about 10,000 including 3,600 slaves

  • Colony made several economic gains

    • profitable farms

    • more merchants with a greater variety of goods

      • This allowed colonists to buy things they could not grow or manufacture (cloth, sugar, farming tools, seeds for planting)

    • Left office after becoming ill in 1760

Carte de la Caroline and Georgia Pour Servir a l'Histoire Generale des Voyages, drawn by M. B. Ing of the French Navy, 1757

(Map of Carolina and Georgia to Serve the General History of Travels)

Georgia Historical Society Map Collection, #298 SS


James wright 1760 1781
James Wright (1760-1781)

  • 3rd Royal governor

  • Born in S.C. (was the previous S.C. Attorney General

  • Loyal to the King, but wanted the colonies to prosper

  • Believed that Georgia would continue to grow if:

    • large farms were bigger

    • trading expanded

    • western lands of the colony were opened to settlers

  • At first, he believed in Reynolds’ concept of self-government, and colonists were pleased with him in the beginning

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library,

University of Georgia Libraries


Changes in georgia 1760 1781

Completed defenses around Savannah

surrounded with palisades (strong wooden wall for defense)

area forts made stronger

Sunbury: became the colony’s official port of entry for ships from other colonies and countries

Economy was growing

both legislative houses worked together to build the economy (rice, indigo, silk)

farmers were allowed to borrow more money and buy land

More schools/books (mostly for upper class)

Georgia Gazette: 1st newspaper in the colony

Mothers dying in childbirth

Schools were mostly for upper-class

So-called “undesirable people”: settlers from Virginia and the Carolinas who settled in the middle and western parts of the colony

Came to be known as ‘crackers’

meant to be an insult for the lower classes

thought of as people who did not obey the law and were not welcome in the colony

No colony defense plan

Lower class wanted a voice in government

Independence Movement:

economic and political freedom

Changes in Georgia (1760-1781)


Slavery in the royal georgia colony
Slavery in the Royal Georgia Colony

  • 1750: Trustee’s law banning slavery lifted

    • Between 1750-1775, the number of Africans living in slavery in Georgia increased from 500-18,000

  • Slaves had no legal rights to private lives

    • could not legally marry or live where they wanted

    • usually were not taught to read

    • rebellion against slave owners was nearly impossible

      • punishment included separation from family, beatings, death

  • By the mid-1750’s, previous debates against slavery were non-existent:

    • Almost every white person in the Georgia low-country believed that having slaves was essential to their economic prosperity

Africans captured to be sold into slavery crossed the Atlantic Ocean lying pressed together in crowded ships' holds. The city of Savannah served as a major port for the Atlantic slave trade from 1750, when the Georgia colony repealed its ban on slavery, until 1798, when the state outlawed the importation of slaves.

--From “The New Georgia Encyclopedia”


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