Clarke County, Georgia

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Clarke County is a county in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2000 census, the population was 101,489. The 2007 Census Estimate shows a population of 114,063.[1] Its county seat is Athens,[2] with which it is a consolidated city-county. Clarke County is the smallest county in Georgia in terms of land area.

The Athens-Clarke County (balance)[3] is the principal city of and is included in the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Clarke County was created in 1801 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on December 5. The county was named after Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clarke and included 250 square miles (647.5 km2) of land that was originally part of Jackson County. Clarke was most recognized for being credited with the 1779 victory at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County. The Elijah Clarke Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument in his name in the middle of Broad Street in Athens that still stands today.

As the population of the county grew alongside the University of Georgia in the early 19th century, its agricultural and cotton industries prospered. The adjacent plantation harvests flowed through city mills and were bolstered by the natural resources of the Oconee River. These early manufacturing and textile production operations were big industries in Clarke County and in Athens, particularly so once the railroad came to the area beginning in 1841. Athens and Clarke County were second only to Savannah and Chatham County in capital invested in manufacturing during the 1840s.

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