Hardy Ivy, the first settler, built (1833) a cabin on what had been Creek tribal land. The town, founded (1837) as Terminus, one end of the Western & Atlantic rail line, was incorporated as Marthasville in 1843 and renamed Atlanta in 1845. It became a rail and marketing hub and in the Civil War was a communication and supply center; it fell to Gen. W. T. Sherman on Sept. 2, 1864 (see Atlanta campaign). Most of the city was burned on Nov. 15, before Sherman began his march to the sea. Rapidly rebuilt, it thrived as a commercial and industrial center, and became temporary (1868) and permanent (1877, following a popular vote) capital of Georgia. Conventions and expositions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries drew attention to the city's growth and strategic position. In 1973, Atlanta became the first major Southern city to elect an African American as mayor. By then it was already losing residents to its rapidly expanding suburbs; in the late 1990s the metropolitan area had a population close to 4 million, and "sprawl" had become a major concern.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.