The Georgia Tartan was first designed and woven in 1982 when the Stone Mountain Highland Games commissioned the Scottish Tartans Society to design and weave the Tartan in honor of Georgia's Semiquincentenary Celebration which coincided with the 10th Annual Games and Scottish Festival at Stone Mountain, GA. It was presented to the then Governor, The Honorable George Busby.
The tartan's design reflects Georgia's early historical ties to Scotland. The sett incorporates the red and light blue motif of the Royal Tartan contemporary with George II, who, on June 9, 1732, gave a charter to James Oglethorpe and twenty other trustees to establish a new American colony named "Georgia" in honor of the king. The greens and the blacks are from the "Government" pattern worn by the Highland Independent Company of Foot, which was recruited at the request of Oglethorpe by John Mohn MacIntosh, a direct descendant of the sixteenth chief of Clan MacIntosh and commander of the Darien militia. The underlying sett has the elements of the earliest known MacIntosh pattern. In concert with the Creek Indians, whose chiefs, by an early marriage, bear the name MacIntosh to this day, John Mohr MacIntosh's Highlanders were responsible for repulsing the Spanish invaders at the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
The Georgia Tartan was designed and first woven by Peter McDonald, the famous designer and weaver, who at that time was very active in the Scottish Tartans Society. Also contributing was the Museum of Scottish Tartans in Comtie, Scotland, and Dr. Micheil MacDonald, F.S.A., Scot.. The Georgia Tartan had become very popular with those associated with the Stone Mountain Games and several Pipe Bands have adopted it for their use. To mark the 25th Anniversary of the Stone Mountain Highland Games, the tartan was submitted to the Scottish Tartans Authority for accreditation.
In 1997, the Georgia State Legislature and then Governor Zell Miller took the necessary action to have the Georgia Tartan officially designated as the State Tartan. The Scottish Tartans Society Certificate of Accreditation was presented to the Governor by Richard W. Swanson, FSA Scot, STSC and President of the Stone Mountain Highland Games and Gerald R. Larkey FSA Scot, STSC and Vice President of the Games. After the presentation of the Certificate to Governor Miller, a Bill was presented to the Legislature for discussion and action. After both the State Representatives and the State Senate approved the Bill it was signed into Law by the Governor making it the Official State Tartan on 1 May 1997.