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This Day in Georgia History

April 03, 1735

Attempt to Ban Hard Liquor in Georgia

While in England, James Oglethorpe on this day helped secure the passage of a Trustee act entitled “An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia.” The act provided that after June 24, 1735, “no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters” shall be imported into Georgia.” Additionally, the selling of wine, beer, or ale without permission was prohibited. In the months after the first Georgia colonists arrived in 1733, so many died that Oglethorpe was convinced that rum and other hard drinks were the cause - so he began a campaign to prohibit the possession of rum in the colony. Actually, the cause of most of these death was disease, primarily from drinking water from the Savannah River. Once a water well was drilled, death from disease dramatically declined. Still, Oglethorpe thought hard liquor should be banned - though he had no objection to beer or wine.