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This Day in Georgia History

January 05, 1734

Jewish Settlers Colonial Georgia

One of the early actions of the Trustees in 1732 was to authorize or commission persons in England to raise funds to send Britain’s worthy poor to Georgia on charity. Three such solicitors were Jewish and used the money they raised to send 42 persecuted Jews (mainly from Portugal) to Georgia, but without the knowledge or approval of the Trustees. The Jewish immigrants arrived in Savannah on July 11, 1733, and James Oglethorpe allowed them to stay. He even allocated a land plot for burial of Savannah’s Jewish settlers. Back in London, the Trustees were unhappy with the Jewish settlement in Savannah. On January 5, 1734, the Trustees ordered the Jewish solicitors in England to return their commissions and to make an effort to recall the Jews living in Savannah and send them somewhere else. That recall never took place, and Savannah became home of the oldest Jewish settlement in the South.