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History and Facts of Georgia Counties


Today’s Georgia counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.

The Province of Georgia was founded in 1732, as the last of the 13 Colonies and was named for King George II of Great Britain.

On April 15, 1741, the Georgia Trustees divided the Georgia Colony into two counties, Savannah County (with William Stephens as executive) and Frederica County (with James Oglethorpe as executive).

However, because of concern about a Spanish  invasion, Frederica County was never organized. After the Georgia Trustees surrendered their charter in 1752, Georgia became a royal colony.

By an act of  March 15, 1758, the colonial legislature created seven parishes. These were:

  1. Christ Church Parish – included the Town and District of Savannah.
  2. St. Matthew Parish – included the District of Abercorn and Goshen, plus the District of Ebenezer.
  3. St. George Parish – included the District of Halifax .
  4. St. Paul Parish – included the District of Augusta .
  5. St. Philip Parish – included the Town of Hardwick and the District of Ogeechee, including the island of Ossabaw.
  6. St. John Parish – included the Sunbury in the District of Midway and Newport to the south branch of Newport, including the islands of St. Catherine and Bermuda .
  7. St. Andrew Parish – included the Town and District of Darien, to the Altamaha River, including the islands of Sapelo and Eastwood and the sea islands north of Egg Island.
  8. St. James Parish – included the Town and District of Frederica, including the islands of Great and Little St. Simons, along with the adjacent island.

An act of March 25, 1765, Georgia’s colonial assembly divided the territory south of the Altamaha River into four new parishes. These were

  1. St. David Parish
  2. St. Patrick Parish
  3. St. Thomas Parish
  4. St. Mary Parish

By the time of the American Revolutionary War, Georgia consisted of 12 parishes. In 1777 the original eight Georgia counties were created.

They were Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond and Wilkes Counties.

However, they only covered a small part of the present-day area that is Georgia. Soon, more Native American land was acquired, leading to the formation of new counties.

Georgia’s first constitution was ratified in February 1777. Georgia was the 10th state to ratify the Articles of Confederation on July 24, 1778. Georgia officially became the 4th state in the Union on January 2, 1788.

Georgia is currently divided into 159 counties. States bordering Georgia are FloridaAlabamaTennesseeNorth Carolina and South Carolina.

Fun Facts about Georgia Counties

Counties by Year

County Size Facts

County Population Facts

Georgia City Facts

Georgia’s 10  largest cities (2010 est.) are:

  1. Atlanta (420,003) is in DeKalb County and Fulton County
  2. Augusta-Richmond County (195,844) is in Richmond County
  3. Columbus (189,885) is in Muscogee County
  4. Macon (155,447) is in Bibb County
  5. Savannah (136,286) is in Chatham County
  6. Athens-Clarke County (115,452) is in Clarke County
  7. Sandy Springs (93,853) is in Fulton County
  8. Roswell (88,346) is in Fulton County
  9. Albany (77,434) is in Dougherty County
  10. Johns Creek (76,728) is in Fulton County

Boundary Changes of Georgia Counties from 1821 to 1997

This Interactive Map of Georgia Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Georgia in 1821 to 1997.

List of Georgia Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct Georgia Counties

Georgia contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.

The below Georgia counties no longer exist:

Campbell County, Georgia

Created on December 20, 1828 from CarrollCowetaDekalb, and Fayette Counties. Campbell county was named for Duncan G. Campbell, one of the U.S. commissioners responsible for the Treaty of Indian Springs.

The original county seat was Campbellton and Fairburn became the county seat in 1870. It merged into Fulton County on January 1, 1932.

Cass County, Georgia

Created on December 3, 1832 from the Cherokee lands of Cherokee CountyCass county was renamed to Bartow County on December 6, 1861 in honor of Francis S. Bartow.

Frederica County, Georgia Colony

Created on April 15, 1741 by the Georgia Trustees by dividing the Georgia Colony. Frederica county was never organized and was dissolved in 1742.

Milton County, Georgia

Created on December 18, 1857 from CherokeeCobb, and Forsyth CountiesMilton county was named for John Milton, Secretary of State of Georgia from 1777 to 1799.

The original county seat was Alpharetta. Milton County merged into Fulton County on January 1, 1932.

Old Randolph County, Georgia

Created on December 10, 1807 from Baldwin CountyRandolph County was named for Virginia congressman John Randolph (1773-1833).

Randolph County was renamed to Jasper County on December 10, 1812 in honor Sergeant William Jasper, an American Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina.

Savannah County, Georgia Colony

Created on April 15, 1741 by the Georgia Trustees by dividing the Georgia Colony. Savannah County was dissolved in 1742.

Georgia Parishes

St. George, St. Mary’s, St. Thomas, St. Phillip, Christ Church, St. David, St. Matthews, St. Andrew, St. James, St. Johns, and St. Paul parishes were all dissolved in 1777, and all of other counties were established later.