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POPULAR GEORGIA DESTINATIONS
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Compared to the rest of GEORGIA , the largest of the Southern states, the bright lights of its capital Atlanta are a wild aberration. Apart from some beaches and towns on the highly indented coastline, this overwhelmingly rural state is composed of slow, easygoing settlements where the best, and sometimes the only, way to enjoy your time is to sip iced tea and have a chat on the porch.
Settlement in Georgia, the thirteenth British colony (named after King George II), started in 1733 at Savannah, intended as a haven of Christian principles for poor Britons, with both alcohol and slavery banned. However, under pressure from planters, slavery was introduced in 1752, and by the time of the Civil War almost half the population were black slaves. Little fighting took place on Georgian soil until Sherman's troops marched in from Tennessee, burned Atlanta to the ground and laid waste to all property on the way to the coast. The economy successfully re-established itself after the war, attracting substantial investment in the latter years of the nineteenth century.
Today, bustling Atlanta stands as the unofficial capital of the South. The city where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was born, preached and is buried bears little relation to Gone with the Wind stereotypes, and its forward-looking energy is upheld as a role model for other cities with large black populations - though it does still suffer high levels of urban poverty and violent crime.
Atlanta's main rival as a tourist destination is the Georgia coast , stretching south from beautiful old Savannah via the sea islands to the semitropical Okefenokee Swamp , inland near Florida. In the northeast , the Appalachian foothills are particularly fetching in fall, while Athens has a reputation for producing offbeat rock groups such as REM and the B-52's. Further south , the agricultural heartlands are rich in musical history, but only Macon and ancient Ocmulgee provide reasons to stop.
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