West Georgia is the area of the state bordering central Alabama. Although there are no official designations for the region, it is generally located west of Atlanta and runs parallel to the Chattahoochee River. The largest cities in west Georgia include Columbus, Newnan, Carrollton, LaGrange, and Douglasville.
As with many other regions of the state, the Creek Indians were the dominant group of settlers before the arrival of European explorers. The Creeks were eventually coerced to sign away their lands in western Georgia in the 1820s to make way for American expansion. Columbus (established in 1828) grew significantly in the following decades, becoming one Georgia’s largest cities with the support of the mill industry. During the Civil War, the area was the home to numerous Confederate hospitals and suffered from the destruction of General William Sherman’s March to the Sea. After the war, west Georgia experienced significant development due to the expansion of railroads and the cotton textile industry in the area.
West Georgia is famously home to the city of Warm Springs, where President Franklin Roosevelt established a polio treatment center and built a home dubbed the “Little White House” during his presidency. Roosevelt died in 1945 during one of his many stays in the city. Additionally, President Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer in Plains and continues to live in Sumter County. Habitat for Humanity, an internationally renowned home-building charity, began in 1976 in nearby Americus. In the second half of the twentieth century, metropolitan Atlanta increasingly expanded into western Georgia, fueling growth in the area. Columbus has grown into the second largest city in the state due largely to the nearby presence of Fort Benning. The region has also seen booms of the warehouse distribution and manufacturing industries, bringing further development to West Georgia.
For information on the historical placement of Georgia's counties, see William Thorndale and William Dollarhide's Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920.