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Georgia, the state's largest city, and the seat of Fulton County. It is also one of the most important commercial, financial, and transportation centers of the southeastern United States.
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Two years later the city adopted a new name—Atlanta.
Supposedly a feminine version of the word Atlantic, the name was first used by John Edgar Thomson, chief engineer of the Georgia Railroad, to designate his railroad's local depot.
In the process a number of civilians were killed, and property and buildings in the city were badly damaged.
On September 2, 1864, Sherman's troops captured the city, and the remaining residents (about 3,500 people, according to one estimate) were ordered to evacuate.
Both of these actions sparked increased settlement and development in the upper Piedmont section of the state and led to Atlanta's founding.
Indian removal and the discovery of gold encouraged new settlement in the region, but it was the railroad that actually brought Atlanta into being and eventually connected it with the rest of the state and region.
Before Sherman's army departed on its famous March to the Sea, however, fire and Union soldiers demolished the city's railroad depots, the roundhouse, the machine shops, and all other railroad support buildings.
Public buildings, selected commercial enterprises, industries (including the Winship Foundry and the Atlanta Gas Light Company, which were operated by Union sympathizers), military installations, and blacksmith shops were also targeted.
Transportation innovations and their connections to Atlanta helped establish the city as a state and regional center of commerce and finance.
Issues of race and race relations, dating back to the years before the Civil War (1861-65), have affected the layout of the city and its political structure, municipal services, educational institutions, and sometimes conflicting images as a segregated southern city and a "black mecca." And the Atlanta spirit—part civic boosterism, part vision, with a healthy dose of business interests and priorities—has provided the city with an ever-changing set of goals and definitions of what Atlanta is and what it can become.important developments in the 1830s: the forcible removal of Native Americans (principally Creeks and Cherokees) from northwest Georgia and the extension of railroad lines into the state's interior.
Included among these new industries were the Atlanta Sword Manufactory and the Spiller and Burr pistol factory.