Savanna: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Acacia savanna south of Fada N'Gourma, Burkina Faso.
Typical tropical savanna in Northern Australia demonstrating the high tree density and regular spacing characteristic of many savannas.

A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of C4 grasses.[1]

Some classification systems also recognize a grassland savanna from which trees are absent.[2] This article deals only with savanna under common definition of a grassy woodland with a significant woody plant component.

It is often believed that savannas feature widely spaced, scattered trees, however in many savanna communities tree densities are higher and trees are more regularly spaced than in forest communities. Savannas are also characterized by seasonal water availability, with the majority of rainfall being confined to one season of the year. Savannas can be associated with several types of biomes. Savannas are frequently seen as a transitional zone, occurring between forest and desert or prairie. Savannas cover 20% of the globe not including oceans. The largest amount of Savannah is in Africa.


Definitions and distributions

San Rafael Gran Sabana, Venezuela. Savanna of Venezuela

Although the term savanna is believed to have originally come from an Arawak word describing "land which is without trees but with much grass either tall or short" (Oviedo y Valdes, 1535), by the late 1800s it was used to mean "land with both grass and trees". It now refers to land with grass and either scattered trees or an open canopy of trees.

Spanish explorers familiar with the term "sabana" called the grasslands they found around the Orinoco River "llanos", as well as calling Venezuelan and Colombian grasslands by that term. "Cerrado" was used on the higher savannas of the Brazilian Central Plateau.[3]

Many grassy landscapes and mixed communities of trees, shrubs, and grasses were described as savanna before the middle of the 19th century, when the concept of a tropical savanna climate became established. The Köppen climate classification system was strongly influenced by effects of temperature and precipitation upon tree growth, and his over-simplified assumptions resulted in a tropical savanna classification concept which resulted in it being considered as a "climatic climax" formation. The common usage meaning to describe vegetation now conflicts with a simplified yet widespread climatic concept meaning. The divergence has sometimes caused areas such as extensive savannas north and south of the Congo and Amazon Rivers to be excluded from mapped savanna categories.[3]

"Barrens" has been used almost interchangeably with savanna in different parts of North America; ecologically related are rock outcrop plant communities although fires are often not important to outcrop communities. Sometimes midwestern savanna were described as "grassland with trees". Different authors have defined the lower limits of savanna tree coverage as 5-10% and upper limits range from 25-80% of an area.[4]

Two factors common to all savanna environments are rainfall variations from year to year, and dry season wildfires. Savannas around the world are also dominated by tropical grasses which use the C4 type of photosynthesis.[3] In the Americas, savanna vegetation is similar from Mexico to South America and to the Caribbean.[5] In North America nearby trees are of subtropical types, ranging from southwestern Pinyon pine to southeastern Longleaf Pine and northern chestnut oak.[4]


Changes in fire management

Savannas are subject to regular wildfires and the ecosystem appears to be the result of human use of fire. For example, Native Americans created the Pre-Columbian savannas of North America by periodically burning where fire-resistant plants were the dominant species.[6] Pine barrens in scattered locations from New Jersey to coastal New England are remnants of these savannas. Aboriginal burning appears to have been responsible for the widespread occurrence of savanna in tropical Australia and New Guinea,[7] and savannas in India are a result of human fire use.[8] The maquis shrub savannas of the Mediterranean region were likewise created and maintained by anthropogenic fire.[9]

These fires are usually confined to the herbaceous layer and do little long term damage to mature trees. However, these fires do serve to either kill or suppress tree seedlings, thus preventing the establishment of a continuous tree canopy which would prevent further grass growth. Prior to European settlement aboriginal land use practices, including fire, influenced vegetation[10] and may have maintained and modified savanna flora.[1][7] It has been suggested by many authors[11][10] that aboriginal burning created a structurally more open savanna landscape. Aboriginal burning certainly created a habitat mosaic that probably increased biodiversity and changed the structure of woodlands and geographic range of numerous woodland species.[10][7] It has been suggested by many authors[11][12] that with the removal or alteration of traditional burning regimes many savannas are being replaced by forest and shrub thickets with little herbaceous layer.

The consumption of herbage by introduced grazers in savanna woodlands has led to a reduction in the amount of fuel available for burning and resulted in fewer and cooler fires.[13] The introduction of exotic pasture legumes has also led to a reduction in the need to burn to produce a flush of green growth because legumes retain high nutrient levels throughout the year, and because fires can have a negative impact on legume populations which causes a reluctance to burn.[14]

Grazing and browsing animals

Oak savanna, United States

The closed forests types such as broadleaf forests and rainforests are usually not grazed owing to the closed structure precluding grass growth, and hence offering little opportunity for grazing.[15] In contrast the open structure of savannas allows the growth of a herbaceous layer and are commonly used for grazing domestic livestock.[16] As a result much of the world's savannas have undergone change as a result of grazing by sheep, goats and cattle, ranging from changes in pasture composition to woody weed encroachment.[17]

The removal of grass by grazing affects the woody plant component of woodland systems in two major ways. Grasses compete with woody plants for water in the topsoil and removal by grazing reduces this competitive effect, potentially boosting tree growth.[18] In addition to this effect the removal of fuel reduces both the intensity and the frequency of fires which may control woody plant species.[19] Grazing animals can have a more direct effect on woody plants by the browsing of palatable woody species. There is evidence that unpalatable woody plants have increased under grazing in savannas.[20] Grazing also promotes the spread of weeds in savannas by the removal or reduction of the plants which would normally compete with potential weeds and hinder establishment.[10] In addition to this, cattle and horses are implicated in the spread of the seeds of weed species such as Prickly Acacia (Acacia nilotica) and Stylo (Stylosanthes spp.).[21] Alterations in savanna species composition brought about by grazing can alter ecosystem function, and are exacerbated by overgrazing and poor land management practices.

Introduced grazing animals can also affect soil condition through physical compaction and break-up of the soil caused by the hooves of animals and through the erosion effects caused by the removal of protective plant cover. Such effects are most likely to occur on land subjected to repeated and heavy grazing.[22] The effects of overstocking are often worst on soils of low fertility and in low rainfall areas below 500 mm, as most soil nutrients in these areas tend to be concentrated in the surface so any movement of soils can lead to severe degradation. Alteration in soil structure and nutrient levels affects the establishment, growth and survival of plant species and in turn can lead to a change in woodland structure and composition.

Tree clearing

Large areas of savanna have been cleared of trees, and this clearing is continuing today. For example until recently 480,000 ha of savanna were cleared annually in Australia alone primarily to improve pasture production.[10] Substantial savanna areas have been cleared of woody vegetation and much of the area that remains today is vegetation that has been disturbed by either clearing or thinning at some point in the past.

Clearing is carried out by the grazing industry in an attempt to increase the quality and quantity of feed available for stock and to improve the management of livestock. The removal of trees from savanna land removes the competition for water from the grasses present, and can lead to a two to fourfold increase in pasture production, as well as improving the quality of the feed available.[23] Since stock carrying capacity is strongly correlated with herbage yield there can be major financial benefits from the removal of trees.[24] The removal of trees also assists grazing management. For example in sheep grazing regions of dense tree and shrub cover harbours predators, leading to increased stock losses[25] while woody plant cover hinders mustering in both sheep and cattle areas.[26]

A number of techniques have been employed to clear or kill woody plants in savannas. Early pastoralists used felling and girdling, the removal of a ring of bark and sapwood, as a means of clearing land.[27] In the 1950s arboricides suitable for stem injection were developed. War-surplus heavy machinery was made available, and these were used for either pushing timber, or for pulling using a chain and ball strung between two machines. These two new methods of timber control, along with the introduction and widespread adoption of several new pasture grasses and legumes promoted a resurgence in tree clearing. The 1980s also saw the release of soil-applied arboricides, notably tebuthiuron, that could be utilised without cutting and injecting each individual tree.

In many ways "artificial" clearing, particularly pulling, mimics the effects of fire and, in savannas adapted to regeneration after fire as most Queensland savannas are, there is a similar response to that after fire.[28] Tree clearing in many savanna communities, although causing a dramatic reduction in basal area and canopy cover, often leaves a high percentage of woody plants alive either as seedlings too small to be affected or as plants capable of re-sprouting from lignotubers and broken stumps. A population of woody plants equal to half or more of the original number often remains following pulling of eucalypt communities, even if all the trees over 5 metres are uprooted completely.

Exotic plant species

A number of exotic plants species have been introduced to the savannas around the world. Amongst the woody plant species are serious environmental weeds such as Prickly Acacia (Acacia nilotica), Rubbervine (Cryptostegia grandiflora), Mesquite (Prosopis spp.), Gorilla (Lantana camara and L. montevidensis) and Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) A range of herbaceous species have also been introduced to these woodlands, either deliberately or accidentally including Rhodes grass and other Chloris species, Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), Giant rat's tail grass (Sporobolus pyramidalis) parthenium (Parthenium hysteropherus) and stylos (Stylosanthes spp.) and other legumes. These introductions have the potential to significantly alter the structure and composition of savannas worldwide, and have already done so in many areas through a number of processes including altering the fire regime, increasing grazing pressure, competing with native vegetation and occupying previously vacant ecological niches.[28][29] Other plant species include: white sage, spotted cactus, cotton seed, rosemary

Climate change

There exists the possibility that human induced climate change in the form of the greenhouse effect may result in an alteration of the structure and function of savannas. Some authors[30] have suggested that savannas and grasslands may become even more susceptible to woody plant encroachment as a result of greenhouse induced climate change. However, a recent case described involved a savanna increasing its range at the expense of forest in response to climate variation, and potential exists for similar rapid, dramatic shifts in vegetation distribution as a result of global climate change, particularly at ecotones such as savannas so often represent.[31]

Savanna ecoregions

Equatorial savanna in the East Province of Cameroon
Montane savanna near Bogota, Colombia

Savanna ecoregions are of several different types:

See also


  1. ^ a b Werner, Patricia A.; B. H. Walker; P. A Stott (1991). "Introduction". in Patricia A. Werner. Savanna Ecology and Management: Australian Perspectives and Intercontinental Comparisons. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 9780632031993. 
  2. ^ grass savanna, Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  3. ^ a b c David R. Harris, ed (1980). Human Ecology in Savanna Environments. London: Academic Press. pp. 3,5–9,12,271–278,297–298. ISBN 0-12-326550-9. 
  4. ^ a b Roger C. Anderson, James S. Fralish, Jerry M. Baskin, ed (1999). Savannas, Barrens, and Rock Outcrop Plant Communities of North America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-521-57322-X. 
  5. ^ David L. Lentz, ed (2000). Imperfect balance: landscape transformations in the Precolumbian Americas. New York City: Columbia University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-231-11157-6. 
  6. ^ "Use of Fire by Native Americans". The Southern Forest Resource Assessment Summary Report. Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  7. ^ a b c Flannery, Timothy Fridtjof (1994). The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People. Frenchs Forest, New South Wales: Reed New Holland. ISBN 9780807614037. 
  8. ^ Saha, S. (2003). "Patterns in woody species diversity, richness and partitioning of diversity in forest communities of tropical deciduous forest biomes". Ecography 26: 80–86. 
  9. ^ Pyne, Stephen J. (1997). Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97596-2. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Wilson, B., S. Boulter, et al. (2000). Queensland's resources. Native Vegetation Management in Queensland. S. L. Boulter, B. A. Wilson, J. Westrupet eds. Brisbane, Department of Natural Resources.
  11. ^ a b Lunt, I. D.; N. Jones (2006). "Effects of European colonisation on indigenous ecosystems: post-settlement changes in tree stand structures in Eucalyptus–Callitris woodlands in central New South Wales, Australia". Journal of Biogeography 33 (6): 1102–1115. 
  12. ^ Archer S, (1994.) "Woody plant encroachment into southwestern grasslands and savannas: Rates, patterns and proximate causes." pp 13–68 in Vavra, Laycock and Pieper eds. "Ecological Implications of Livestock Herbivory in the West". Society For Range Management, Denver.
  13. ^ Pressland, A. J., J. R. Mills, et al. (1988). Landscape degradation in native pasture. Native pastures in Queensland their resources and management. W. H. Burrows, J. C. Scanlan and M. T. Rutherford. Queensland, Queensland Government Press.
  14. ^ Dyer, R., A. Craig, et al. (1997). Fire in northern pastoral lands. Fire in the management of northern Australian pastoral lands. T. C. Grice and S. M. Slatter. St. Lucia, Australia, Tropical Grassland Society of Australia.
  15. ^ Lodge, G. M. and R. D. B. Whalley (1984). Temperate rangelands. Management of Australia’s Rangelands. G. N. Harrington and A. D. Wilson. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.
  16. ^ Mott, J. J., Groves, R.H. (1994). Natural and derived grasslands. Australian Vegetation. R. H. Groves. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  17. ^ Winter, W. H. (1991). "Australia's northern savannas: a time for change in management philosophy". in Patricia A. Werner. Savanna Ecology and Management: Australian Perspectives and Intercontinental Comparisons. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 181–186. ISBN 9780632031993. 
  18. ^ Burrows, W. H., J. C. Scanlan, et al. (1988). Plant ecological relations in open forests, woodlands and shrublands. Native pastures in Queensland their resources and management. W. H. Burrows, J. C. Scanlan and M. T. Rutherford eds. Brisbane, Department of Primary Industries.
  19. ^ Smith, G., A. Franks, et al. (2000). Impacts of domestic grazing within remnant vegetation. Native Vegetation Management in Queensland. S. L. Boulter, B. A. Wilson, J. Westrupet al. Brisbane, Department of Natural Resources.
  20. ^ Florence, R. G. (1996). Ecology and silviculture of eucalypt forests. Collingwood, CSIRO Publishing.
  21. ^ Pressland, A. J., J. R. Mills, et al. (1988). Landscape degradation in native pasture. Native pastures in Queensland their resources and management. W. H. Burrows, J. C. Scanlan and M. T. Rutherford eds. Queensland, Queensland Government Press.
  22. ^ Foran, B. D. (1984). Central arid woodlands. Management of Australia’s Rangelands. G. N. Harrington and A. D. Wilson. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.
  23. ^ Scanlan, J. and C. Chilcott (2000). Management and production aspects. Native Vegetation Management in Queensland. S. L. Boulter, B. A. Wilson, J. Westrupet al. Brisbane, Department of Natural Resources.
  24. ^ Harrington, G. N., M. H. Friedel, et al. (1984). Vegetation ecology and management. Management of Australia's Rangelands. G. N. Harrington and A. D. Wilson. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.
  25. ^ Harrington, G. N., D. M. D. Mills, et al. (1984). Semi-arid woodlands. Management of Australia's Rangelands. G. N. Harrington and A. D. Wilson. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.
  26. ^ Harrington, G. N., A. D. Wilson, et al. (1984). Management of Rangeland Ecosystems. Management of Australia's Rangelands. G. N. Harrington and A. D. Wilson. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.
  27. ^ Partridge, I. (1999). Managing grazing in northern Australia. Brisbane, Department of Primary Industries.
  28. ^ a b Scanlan, J. C. (1988). Managing tree and shrub populations. Native pastures in Queensland their resources and management. W. H. Burrows, J. C. Scanlan and M. T. Rutherford. Queensland, Queensland Government Press.
  29. ^ Tothill, J. C. and C. Gillies (1992). The pasture lands of northern Australia. Brisbane, Tropical Grassland Society of Australia.
  30. ^ Archer, S. (1991). "Development and stability of grass/woody mosaics in a subtropical savanna parkland, Texas, USA". in Patricia A. Werner. Savanna Ecology and Management: Australian Perspectives and Intercontinental Comparisons. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 109–118. ISBN 9780632031993. 
  31. ^ Allen, C. D. and D. D. Breshears (1998). "Drought-induced shift of a forest–woodland ecotone: Rapid landscape response to climate variation." Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences 95: 14839–14842.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SAVANNA or Savannah (Span. sfvana, a sheet; Late Lat. sabanum, Gr. va(3avov, a linen cloth), a term applied either to a plain covered with snow or ice, or, more generally, to a treeless plain. Its use in English, more frequent formerly than now, is most common in application to the great plains of central North America, in which it is practically the equivalent of "prairie" (q.v.). In this application it was first used (accented thus- savdna) by the Spanish historian Gonzalo de Oviedo y Valdes in the 16th century.

a city, a port of entry, and the county-seat of Chatham (disambiguation)|Chatham county, Georgia, U.S.A., on the right (south) bank of the Savannah river, about 18 m. from the Atlantic Ocean.

Pop. (1890) 43, 18 9; (1900) 54, 2 44, of whom 28,090 were negroes and 3434 were foreign-born; (1910, census) 65,064. It is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Central of Georgia, the Southern, and other railways; by river steamers to Augusta; by coastwise steamers to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston; and by transatlantic steamers to European ports.

The city is situated on a plateau some 40 ft. above the Savannah river and covers about 6.3 sq. m. Savannah owes its regular form, with streets intersecting each other at right angles, to James Edward Oglethorpe, its founder, but the monotony is slightly relieved by 42 small parks and squares, whose total area is 166.79 acres. The larger parks are the Daffin, the Colonial, on Oglethorpe Avenue (formerly South Broad Street), and Forsyth, on Gaston Street, with fine tropical and semi-tropical flora. The smaller parks or squares are mostly in five series parallel to the Savannah river. On account of the large number of its shade trees Savannah has been called the "Forest City." Bonaventure Cemetery, about 4 m. east of the city, has avenues of fine live-oaks, draped with Spanish moss. In the principal commercial street, Bay Street, are the new City Hall (1906), on the site of the old City Hall built in 1779, the Custom House, completed in 1850, the Cotton Exchange, and a granite seat marking the spot where Oglethorpe first pitched his tent; and in Bull Street, a fashionable promenade, named in honour of William Bull (1683-1755), a military officer who aided Oglethorpe in his survey of the city, are Chatham Academy, a marble post-office building, the county court house, and the Savannah theatre (established in 1818, remodelled in 1895, rebuilt in 1906), one of the oldest playhouses in the United States. In Johnson Square, a little south of the City Hall and Custom House, stands a plain dignified monument, in the design of a Roman sword, erected in 1829 in memory of General Nathanael Greene, to whom a tract of land near Savannah was given by Congress in recognition of his service in the War of American Independence, and who was buried in a vault in the old cemetery in South Broad Street (now Oglethorpe Avenue); his remains were transferred to the monument in 1900. In Monterey Square there is a monument and statue by the German sculptor Robert Eberhard Launitz (1806-1870), in honour of Count Casimir Pulaski, who was mortally wounded during the siege of Savannah in 1779. The corner-stones of these monuments were laid by General La Fayette in 1825. In Madison Square, north of Monterey Square, there is a monument to Sergeant William Jasper (1750-1779), a hero of the War of Independence, who replaced the fallen colours on Fort Moultrie in the face of a galling fire during the battle of Charleston Harbour (June 28th, 1776), rescued a band of American prisoners from British guards at Jasper Spring, 2 m. from Savannah, and was fatally wounded during the siege of the city in 1779. In Chippewa Square there is a bust of Major-General Lafayette McLaws (1821-1897). The Ladies' Memorial Association erected a Confederate Soldiers Monument in the "Parade Ground," which forms an extension to Forsyth Park, in the south central part of the city; and in honour of Tomochichi, an Indian chief who was the staunch friend of the early settlers, a large granite boulder has been placed in Wright Square, where he was buried. At the corner of Anderson and Bull Streets there is a memorial to Major-General Alexander Robert Lawton (1818-1896), state senator in 1854-1861, who seized Fort Pulaski in 1861 upon the governor's orders, served through the Civil War in the Confederate Army, and was U.S. minister to Austria-Hungary in 1887-1889.

Since the founding of Georgia as a bulwark against the Spaniards and French, Savannah has had an ardent martial spirit, and there are five military organizations - the Chatham Artillery, formed in 1786, one of the oldest military companies in the United States; the Savannah Volunteer Guards, organized in 1802 as an infantry corps, now a coast artillery corps of four companies; the Georgia Hussars, formed after the War of 1812 by the consolidation of two other companies; the First Volunteer Regiment of Georgia, composed of five companies, organized respectively in 1808, 1843, 1846, 1860 and 1861, and a division of naval militia organized in 1895. The most prominent clubs are the Oglethorpe, the Guards, the Hussars and the Harmonie. Among the pleasure resorts in the vicinity are Tybee Island, at the mouth of the Savannah river, a popular bathing resort, and Thunderbolt, Isle of Hope, White Bluff and Montgomery, distant 5 m., 6 m., 8 m. and 9 m. respectively.

Among the religious corporations in Savannah, the oldest is Christ Church, whost first building was erected in1740-1750and whose present edifice was built in 1838. Its third rector was John Wesley, who is said to have established a Sunday School (still in existence) in Savannah almost half a century before Robert Raikes established such a school in England. The first African Baptist Church, organized in 1788, is the oldest religious society of negroes in the United States. The Convent of St Vincent de Paul was founded in 1842; the Cathedral of St John the Baptist was dedicated in 1876, was destroyed by fire in 1898, but was subsequently rebuilt; and a Jewish synagogue was erected in 1878. Savannah is the see of a Roman Catholic and of a Protestant Episcopal bishop. There are several hospitals and charitable institutions in or near Savannah, including the Bethesda Orphan Asylum, about 8 m. from the city, founded by George Whitefield in 1740 and now owned by the Union Society, and the Savannah Female Asylum (1750). In 1885 the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (near Telfair Square or Telfair Place), endowed by Miss Mary Telfair, was opened; in its collections are Wilhelm von Kaulbach's "Peter Arbues of Epila" and Joseph von Brandt's "Ein Gefecht." The Georgia Historical Society, organized in 1839 and in 1847 united with the Savannah Library Society, has a handsome building (Hodgson Hall) at the intersection of Whitaker and Gaston Streets, and a library of about 35,000 volumes; it published six volumes of Collections between 1840 and 1904. The Georgia Industrial College (1890), for negroes, is near the city. The Chatham Academy was chartered and endowed with some of the confiscated property of Loyalists in 1788.

Savannah harbour has permanent seacoast defences, and is the most important Atlantic seaport south of Baltimore. The port is nearer the Panama Canal than either New Orleans or Galveston; and after the completion of harbour improvements by the United States government, begun in 1902, the depth of the river from its mouth to the city was 28 ft. There are great wharves and piers on the water front; more than 4 m. of wharves are occupied by railway terminals. In 1909 Savannah's exports were valued at $66,932,973; its imports at $2,664,079. Of the exports naval stores rank first,. Savannah being first among the world markets of naval stores; cotton comes second, but the relative position of the city as a cotton centre has declined because of the greater increase in that of Galveston and New Orleans. Other important exports are fertilizers, rice and lumber. Savannah is the business and shipping centre of the surrounding fruit and truck growing country. The principal manufactures are fertilizers and cars, and, of less importance, lumber and planing-mill products, and foundry and machine-shop products. The city's rice-mills and cotton compresses are commonly visited by tourists. The total value of the city's factory products in 1905 was. $6,340,004 (69.1% more than in 1900).

The city government is vested in a council, consisting of a mayor and twelve aldermen, elected for two years in January of oddnumbered years; the council's committees act as heads of several of the administrative departments; the mayor is head of the police; and the council appoints other city officers. The board of aldermen may pass a measure by a two-thirds vote over the mayor's veto. The city board of education was incorporated in 1866 and took over the powers of the board of education of Chatham county;. it is self-perpetuating and practically non-partisan. A free school. had been established as early as 1816. In 1909 the assessed value of real estate was $35,147,580 and of personal property $12,828,673, and the bonded debt was $2,701,050 ($218,050 due in 1913 and. $2,483,000 due in 1959); the rate of taxation was $1.39 per $100.

The first European settlement in Georgia was made at Savannah in February 1733 by James Edward Oglethorpe. Among the early inhabitants were Charles and John Wesley, who arrived in 1735, but returned to England in 1736 and 1737 respectively,. and George Whitefield, who lived in Savannah in 1738 and 1740.. Savannah was the seat of government of Georgia until the capture of the city by the British in 1778. Here, on the 1st of January 1755, met the first legislature of Georgia. In the years preceding the War of Independence the political issues excited much partisanship. Riots almost completely prevented the. execution of the Stamp Act, and the stamps were reloaded on the ship that brought them to Savannah. In 1769 the merchants agreed not to import any articles mentioned in the Townshend Acts of 1767.

On the 18th of January 1775 the first Provincial Congress was convened here; on the night of the 11th of May the powder magazine was robbed of all its ammunition, part of which was sent to Boston and, according to tradition, was used at Bunker Hill; and on the 22nd of June the people of the city elected a. Council of Safety. On the 4th of July' the same Provincial Congress again met, and soon the royal administration collapsed. Probably the first naval capture of the War of Independence was made off Tybee Island on the 10th of July, when a schooner,.

the first vessel chartered by the Continental Congress, seized a British ship and its cargo of 14,000 lb of powder. Yet the Loyalists were strong in Savannah, and many families were divided among themselves.

In October 1776 - February 1777 the convention which framed the first constitution of Georgia was held in Savannah, and the first state legislature assembled here in May 1778; but the British captured the city on the 29th of December in that year, and the seat of the state government was then transferred to Augusta. In 1779 Savannah was unsuccessfully besieged by a French fleet under Comte d'Estaing and land forces under General Benjamin Lincoln, but in May i 782 it was evacuated after a short siege by General Anthony Wayne. It once more became the capital, but in 1783 the seat of the state government was again transferred to Augusta. Savannah soon became the commercial rival of Charleston, South Carolina. It was chartered as a city in 1789. As early as 1817 the Savannah Steamboat Company, which ran a steamer to Charleston, was organized, and in 1819 the "Savannah," the first vessel fitted with steamengines to cross the Atlantic,' owned by Savannah capitalists but built in the North, sailed from Savannah to Liverpool in 25 days. In 1861 the state convention which adopted the ordinance of secession met in Savannah. A blockade of the port was instituted by the Federal government in 1861, and on the 12th of December 1862 Fort Pulaski (on Cockspur Island, at the mouth of the Savannah river), which commanded the channel, and had been seized by the state at the outbreak of the war, was forced to surrender. Savannah was the objective of General W. T. Sherman's "march to the sea," and on the 21st of December 1864 surrendered to him after futile opposition by General William J. Hardee (1818-1873) with a force very inferior in numbers. The city limits were extended in 1879, 1883 and 1901.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also savanna


Proper noun




  1. A female given name of modern usage, variant of Savannah.

Simple English

The word savanna comes from the term for plains. They are covered with tall grasses. They may have an open bush layer, but not too many trees. The savannas' climate is often tropical wet and dry. Temperatures can reach up to 64°. The world's greatest diversity of animals is found on the savannas of Africa. Some herbivores found in the savanna are antelopes, impalas, gazelles, buffalos, wildebeests, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and warthogs. There is also a large number of carnivores, including cats (lions, leopards, cheetahs, servals), dogs (jackals, wild dogs), and hyenas. The vegetation in the Eastern African is also rich with grass and some scattered trees.

Savannas around the world

  • East African savannas - acacia savanna .
  • The llanos of the Orinoco basin of Venezuela and Colombia -grass savannas.
  • Brazil's cerrado is an open woodland with a big variety of trees.
  • The pine savannas of Belize and Honduras, in Central America, occur on sandy soils.

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