|Mercer House in Savannah|
Established in 1733 by Gen. James Oglethorpe, the city was laid out by the general himself on Yamacraw Bluff, an elevation on the south bank of the Savannah River just inland from the river's mouth. With impressive foresight, Oglethorpe created a settlement plan that called for a city to grow around 24 public squares.
Almost all of the squares survive today and grow even more beautiful with each passing year, each an oasis of peace and beauty in the center of a thriving and historic city.
Savannah quickly became one of the most important cities in the South and by the time of the American Revolution was a major seaport and commercial center. One of the earliest engagements of the war, the Battle of Rice Boats, took place at Savannah. Although the Patriots initially forced the British to relinquish the city, they returned with a vengeance and captured Savannah in 1778. The following year, a large allied army of American and French troops - including 500 black French soldiers from Haiti - tried to take it back.
|Forsyth Park in Savannah|
Savannah rebounded from the Revolution to become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Much of the architecture in today's massive historic district dates from the antebellum era. The city was captured by Sherman at the end of his March to the Sea in 1864, but remarkably escaped the widespread devastation inflicted by his army on such cities as Atlanta and Columbia. Perhaps this was because he presented Savannah to President Abraham Lincoln as a "Christmas gift."
Savannah today is a beautiful city with one of the largest restored historic areas to be found anywhere. It has hundreds of historic sites and landmarks, preserved 19th century forts, a stunning riverfront area, 22 of Oglethorpe's original squares, tree-shaded streets and parks and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
To learn more, please visit our new Savannah page at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/savannah.