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about Atlanta

Atlanta is the capital and largest city of the state of Georgia, a state of the United States of America. It is the county seat of Fulton County, although a portion of the city (the 1909 annex) is located in DeKalb County (East Atlanta). Atlanta was the host city for the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics.

As of the 2000 census, the city proper had a population of 416,474; greater metropolitan Atlanta had a population of 4,247,981 (a 38.4% increase since 1990), making it the 11th largest metro area in the US. CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution have reported that the city's explosive growth, both in geographic size and number of inhabitants, is the fastest of any metropolitan area in the history of the world.

Among Atlanta's nicknames is "the phoenix city", as its rise from the ashes of the Civil War resembles that of a mythical phoenix. It is also called the "New York of the South". Due to its focus on commerce and role as birthplace to civil rights leaders, Atlanta is often referred to as "the city too busy to hate." Locals sometimes affectionately call the city "Hotlanta."

The city of Atlanta operates the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of two airports considered the busiest in the world. MARTA is the public transit agency, operating the subway and bus system.

Atlanta geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 343.0 km² (132.4 mi²). 341.2 km² (131.8 mi²) of it is land and 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.51% water.

At more than 1000 feet (300 m) above mean sea level, Atlanta is third in elevation to slightly higher Phoenix and 1 mile (1,600 m) high Denver among major American cities, sitting atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River. Though now somewhat offset by the urban heat island effect, this still results in a climate slightly more moderate than many other cities in the Southern US, despite its common nickname as "Hotlanta".

According to folklore, its central avenue, Peachtree Street, runs through the center of the city on the Eastern Continental Divide. However, the divide line enters Atlanta from the southwest through Underground Atlanta. From downtown, the divide line runs eastward along DeKalb Avenue and the CSX rail lines through Decatur. Rainwater that falls on the south and east side runs eventually into the Atlantic Ocean while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide runs into the Gulf of Mexico.

The latter is via the Chattahoochee River, part of the ACF River Basin, and from which Atlanta and many of its neighbors draw most of their municipal water supplies. Being at the far northwestern edge of the city limits, much of the river's natural habitat is still preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Downstream, however, the area's excessive water use and pollution during droughts has been a source of contention and legal wrangling.


Average annual rainfall is about 54 inches or 137cm, typically with late winter and early spring (as well as July) being the wettest and fall being the driest. Average annual snowfall is about 1.5 inches or 3.8cm, falling mostly in January and early February. Snow (or ice) occasionally occurs as early as December or as late as mid-March; since 1878 snow or flurries has fallen only three times in October and four in April. Winters are mild, with January daily lows (minimums) near freezing and highs (maximums) near 50°F or 10°C. Summers are moderately hot and humid, with July mornings near 70°F or 11°C and afternoons near 89°F or 32°C, slight breezes, and typically a 20~30% chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

Spring weather is typically very pleasant but quite variable, as cold fronts often bring strong or severe thunderstorms to almost all of the eastern and central U.S.. The rain helps wash out Atlanta's abundant oak and pine tree pollens, however, and fuels beautiful blooms from native dogwood trees, as well as vibrant azaleas, forsythias, magnolias, and of course peach trees, both flowering-only and fruiting. This city-wide display runs during all of March and April, and inspires the Dogwood Festival, one of Atlanta's largest. Fall is also pleasant, with less rain and fewer storms, lower humidity, and beautiful leaves changing colors from late October to mid-November, especially during drier years.


Atlanta is often described as a 'city of neighborhoods' each having its own distinct personality.

Metropolitan area

The following counties are part of the Atlanta metropolitan area

Atlanta history

Atlanta is the fifth city to serve as state capital, after colonial Savannah, which later alternated with Augusta; then for a decade at Louisville, and from 1806 through the American Civil War at Milledgeville. The state's legislature also met at other temporary sites, including Macon, especially during the Civil War.

The region where Atlanta and its suburbs were built was originally Creek and Cherokee ("indian") territory. After they were deported to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears by the Federal government, white settlement in this area increased rapidly.

Atlanta was first planned in 1836 as a terminus on the Western & Atlantic Railroad, hence the original name, Terminus. The railroad terminus for lines connecting from Birmingham, Chattanooga, Macon, Athens, etc. was originally intended to be in Decatur, but the citizens of Decatur did not want a railroad terminal. So an arbitrary spot was picked, around which the village of Terminus grew up in expectation of railroad traffic. After briefly being named Marthasville, the city was renamed "Atlanta" in 1847, by which time several of the railroad lines were already in operation. Besides Decatur, several other of what are now Atlanta's suburbs pre-date the city by several years, including Marietta and Lawrenceville.

In 1864, the city became the target of a major Union invasion in the American Civil War and scene of the Battle of Atlanta, later immortalized in the novel and film Gone With the Wind. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuated Atlanta after a four month siege mounted by Union General William T. Sherman, and ordered all public buildings and possible union assests destroyed. Forces under General Sherman entered Atlanta the next day and Sherman ordered the civilian population to evacuate on September 7. General Sherman ordered Atlanta burned to the ground on November 11 in preparation for his punitive march south. Because of a plea by Father Thomas O'Reilly of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Sherman did not burn the city's churches or hospitals. The remainder of war resources were then destroyed in the aftermath and in Sherman's March to the Sea. The fall of Atlanta is and the eventual surrender of the South.

Atlanta was gradually rebuilt after the war, and soon became the industrial and commercial epicenter of the "new South".

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Atlanta, Georgia".

This city is also known as: Atlanta.

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