The reason for the founding of Georgia, the United States’ thirteenth and final original colony, is unclear. Some say that the state was founded for and settled by debtors. However, the truth is that Georgia’s founder, James Oglethorpe, only proposed this idea. After a charter for the colony was approved by King George II in 1732, there were already enough people to settle the southern territory without debtors.
Fast forward about 279 years to today. One would think that Georgia was indeed founded as a debtors colony and that the state's current denizens share their forefathers’ inclination to assume too much debt.
According to new research released by Experian, one of the major U.S. credit bureaus, three Georgia cities are among the top 25 U.S. cities where consumers carried the most debt on their credit cards in December 2010. They are Atlanta, Augusta, and Savannah, the very site where Oglethorpe chose to begin his settlement. Despite a decrease from the previous year, debt amounts still remain relatively high. Atlanta’s average bank credit card debt is $4,690; August is $4,575; and Savannah is $4,570.
James Oglethorpe, moved by witnessing first-hand the atrocities of debtors prison in London, dreamed of starting an American colony that gave debtors a chance to start anew. It did not happen quite as he planned. Nevertheless, now that Georgia cities lead the nation in credit card debt, it seems as if Oglethorpe’s dream did come true, but with an ironic twist.
Read the list of the 25 top cities with the most credit card debt at CNNmoney.com.