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Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to explore the coastal regions of present-day South Carolina. In 1521, Francisco Gordillo sailed to the Carolina coast from his base in Santo Domingo; no settlement was attempted, but several dozen Native Americans were enslaved.Five years later, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón sponsored a short-lived effort to settle several hundred persons in the Winyah Bay area (near present-day Myrtle Beach), but unfavorable weather and sickness soon forced a return to Santo Domingo. Nonetheless, later in the 1500s the Spanish established new bases in Florida and spread northward with a string of small settlements.The French presence was established in 1562 when Jean Ribault brought a group of French Huguenots to Parris Island, but Spanish power in the area rendered the colony untenable.
The English claim to the area arrived with the 1497 voyage of John Cabot, but efforts to colonize did not occur for more than 130 years. In 1629, a grant was awarded to Sir Robert Heath, which included today's North and South Carolina and all land westward to the Pacific Ocean. No settlement activity took place under Heath and in 1663, the lands were granted to eight of Charles II's most loyal supporters, the "lords proprietors."Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, assisted by the political philosopher John Locke, drafted the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina (1669), an intricate and romanticized feudal scheme that was further burdened by the recommended use of grandiose titles for the nobles and their retainers. Whether or not the cumbersome system was seriously intended to be implemented or was simply a means to appeal to the high-born settlers' vanity is not clear.A small settlement under the authority of proprietor Cooper was started in 1670 at Albemarle Point; 10 years later the settlement was moved a short distance to the peninsula between the immodestly named Ashley and Cooper rivers. The community's name of Charles Town honored the king, but was changed to Charleston at the end of the War for Independence. By the late 1680s, the colony was beginning to enjoy prosperity, especially in the coastal areas. Its economic base depended initially on the fur trade, which fostered generally good relations between the Carolinian settlers and the local Indian tribes.Tobacco production flourished briefly, but was supplanted by rice. Some years later, Indigo was introduced and became the second most important product. Both depended upon slave labor and elaborate plantation systems. Black slaves soon outnumbered white settlers, a matter of such concern that programs to encourage white immigration were started. In the early years of the 18th century, southern Carolina became home to thousands of immigrants — Germans, Swiss, Welsh, Scots-Irish and migrants from colonies to the north. Plantation owners often sought to escape humid summers in the interior by taking up residence in lavish town houses in Charles Town, which became a lively and cosmopolitan city.Development of western lands was quite different from the east. The frontier did not lend itself to plantations; it was settled primarily by subsistence farmers.The early 1700s were years of increased tension between settler and proprietor. This was due in large part to a series of crises that the settlers complained were not adequately addressed by the owners. These problems included the following:
- Incursions by the Spanish and French, the powers to the south
- Conflicts with Native Americans, particularly the Yamasee War (1715-18), which resulted in hundreds of deaths
- Pirate raids on coastal shipping and communities, chiefly the activities of Blackbeard.
In 1712, the proprietors acknowledged the different perspectives of their colony's northern and southern sections by granting to each a separate governor and assembly. Complaints continued, however, and in 1719 the Crown purchased the colony from the absentee proprietors and appointed royal governors. In 1729, northern and southern Carolina were formally divided, and in 1732 the southern portion of South Carolina separated and became Georgia a year later.
History of South Carolina
The first inhabitants of present-day South Carolina likely arrived about 11,000–12,000 years ago. Hunting and gathering typified their first 10 millennia, but they developed agriculture about 1000 bce . The Mississippian cultures, the most advanced in the southeastern region of pre-Columbian North America, arrived about 1100 ce with their complex society, villages, and earthen mound-building they disappeared soon after European contact in the 16th century, however. In 1600 South Carolina was home to perhaps 15,000–20,000 native people, representing three major language groupings: Siouan (spoken by the Catawba and others), Iroquoian (spoken by the Cherokee), and Muskogean (spoken by peoples related to the Creek). Disease, conflict, and continued European expansion contributed to the virtual disappearance of the indigenous populations by the time of the American Revolution (1775–83).
Exploration and Settlement of South Carolina - History
Click the image to view an enlarged map
of the Carolinas and Virginia, 1663–1729.
The Carolina Grant began as one entity. Geographical and political differences among its English settlers would eventually cause a split, however.
North Carolinians were small tobacco farmers, not plantation builders. South Carolinians developed a low-country agricultural system that relied upon slave labor to grow and export rice, cotton, and indigo.
Small farmers and frontiersmen grew angry at the political and economic power held by coastal planters. These tensions would ignite during the American Revolution, turning the Carolinas into a fierce battle between north and south, east and west.
View a map of American
in South Carolina.
Then click any of the
tribe names to learn
about that group of
Long before the arrival of the first European settlers, many American Indian groups lived in the region now known as the Carolinas. Three major language families were represented in the American Indian population: Iroquoian, Siouan, and Algonquian. Early inhabitants included the Cherokee, Catawba, Creek, and Tuscarora, among many others.
The earliest European exploration of present-day South Carolina took place around 1514 by Spanish explorers. Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano explored the coastal region of present-day North Carolina in 1524. Although Spanish explorers made several attempts at colonizing both areas over the next few decades, no permanent settlements were established until 1670.
Coastal North Carolina was the site of the first English attempts to colonize the New World. Two colonies began in the 1580s under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Walter Raleigh. Both were at Roanoke Island, and both failed. In another early colonization effort, a group of French Huguenots started a short-lived settlement on Parris Island in 1562.
In the 1650s, the first permanent English settlers in North Carolina actually came from the southern part of the Virginia Colony and settled in the Albemarle area in the northern part of present-day North Carolina. Thirteen years later, Charles II granted a charter to eight Englishmen who would serve as Lords Proprietors of the Carolina Grant. In honor of King Charles I, the name Carolina was given to the colony—the Latin word for Charles is Carolus.
In 1669, the proprietors attempted to implement a rigid social structure. The plan was outlined in The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which was written by the political philosopher John Locke, secretary to Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, one of the eight proprietors.
According to the Fundamental Constitutions, the Carolina Grant was divided into square counties. In every county, each of the eight proprietors owned 12,000 acres. Other ranks of nobility were assigned tracts of land no smaller than 3,000 acres. Labor on each manor was done by "Leet" men and women, over whom their owners were guaranteed absolute power and authority, and who were bought and sold as part of the property of the manor.
More than a few colonists questioned the practicality of the system laid out by the Fundamental Constitutions, however. While a city might be laid out in squares, a country shaped by rivers, creeks, hills, swamps, and mountains was not so easily demarcated. The colonists felt that the mere abundance of land meant that development would be free and open, not subject to strict regulation. Although the Fundamental Constitutions remained technically in effect for several decades, the document had little to do with the actual development of the Carolinas.
DID YOU KNOW?
North Carolina has 1,500 lakes
of 10 acres or more in size and
37,000 miles of fresh water
streams. Click to learn more
facts and trivia about North
Carolina and South Carolina.
Geography also shaped the Carolina culture. The vastly different environments of the northern and southern parts of the Carolina grant dictated that settlements would develop in significantly different ways. The harbor and natural coastline of southern Carolina allowed easier trade with the West Indies. The result was the development of an urban, cultured, and cosmopolitan society made up of wealthy planters and merchants.
In the north, many settlers were small farmers who drifted down from Virginia and planted tobacco, as they had done at home. Centered on Albemarle Sound, northern Carolina was poor, but independent. The population was diversified with the arrival of thousands of emigrants from Scotland, Ireland, and Germany. Their practice of farming was not heavily dependent upon slave labor in the southern region.
DID YOU KNOW?
Eliza Lucas Pinckney a teenager at the
time, helped make indigo a profitable
crop in South Carolina by conducting
experiments in her back yard.
In the southern part of the grant, the proprietors and early settlers from Barbados founded Charleston in 1680 on the coast where the Ashley and Cooper rivers flowed into the Atlantic. The planters learned how to grow rice, a lucrative export crop. The easily-flooded lowlands along the rivers were ideally suited to its cultivation. Cotton, a staple crop used in manufacturing textiles, found favorable conditions on the sandy sea islands that fringed the coast. Indigo, a plant that produced a coveted blue dye, was later added to the list of Carolina products that were sold profitably abroad.
All of South Carolina's crops lent themselves to being worked by large groups of laborers, and by 1720 more than half of the people in South Carolina were enslaved workers.
Large plantation and slave owners dominated South Carolina society. Because the low country that produced their wealth was so rampant with disease, however, the planters took to keeping town houses in Charleston. They spent at least the summer months in the city, when malaria was at its peak. In the meantime, the enslaved workers labored in the midst of heat, humidity, and swarms of mosquitoes.
Pirates posed another problem for Carolina. The colony's unusual coast, with its sandbars and shallows, provided a haven for pirate ships. Furthermore, the colonists frequently benefited from purchasing the pirates' goods. The capture and execution of the pirate known as Blackbeard in 1718 ended the threat of piracy in the Carolinas.
Trouble with the native inhabitants started when the settlers began encroaching on their farmland and capturing and enslaving them. Between slave raids in 1670 and a strain of deadly smallpox brought over by Europeans, the American Indian population in the Carolina region declined sharply. Some groups of American Indians decided to fight back, beginning with the Tuscaroras, an Iroquoian tribe. After a long, bloody war, the Tuscaroras were defeated in 1713, with many survivors drifting north to rejoin other Iroquois tribes. In 1715, two more American Indian groups battled the colonists in South Carolina—the Yamasees and the Creek. Had the Cherokee tribe elected to ally themselves with the Yamasees and the Creek, English colonialism in South Carolina might have come to an end. The Cherokee did not participate, however, and the colony remained intact.
Find out more about
Cary's Rebellion, a
political and religious
Meanwhile, the colonists themselves were divided by political disagreement. Edward Hyde came from England in 1711 claiming the office of governor. His right to the post was disputed by Thomas Cary, who had been named governor in 1705. In the dispute that followed, known as Cary's Rebellion, Hyde and Cary both attracted supporters who actually took up arms against each other. The conflict ended with Cary's defeat.
In 1712, recognizing the different social underpinning of the northern and southern settlements, the proprietors granted the two Carolinas separate assemblies and governors. When the proprietors sold their holdings to the king in 1729, he confirmed North Carolina and South Carolina as separate royal colonies. This boundary was not established until 1732, nor fully surveyed until 1815.
Read about North Carolina's
War of Regulation.
Until the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, a more efficient government brought about increased settlement and greater prosperity. Settlement extended to the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond. With this movement arose the deep-seated differences between east and west that continued for decades. The colonial government was dominated by the eastern planters, and the poorer west suffered from corrupt government and excessive taxes. The whole structure was conducive to abuses of power. The conflict resulted in the War of Regulation, in which the western insurgents were crushed at the Battle of Alamance Creek on May 16, 1771.
The battle-weary Carolinians fought through the French and Indian War in the 1760s and the Revolutionary War in the next decade only to become the site of the first shots fired in the Civil War on April 12, 1861. South Carolina lost one-fifth of its adult white males over the course of the Civil War. When the Union troops led by General William Tecumseh Sherman overcame the Confederates, they left a path of destruction in their wake. It took many years for the war-torn area to recover.
Part 1: In the Beginning (CLICK FOR VIDEO) Amalgam – A mixture or blend Amerindians – A member of the indigenous peoples of the Americas Barbados – An island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West.
Most of the colonists who settled in Carolina were wealthy English planters, with names such as Middleton, Drayton, Colleton, and Yeamans. The vast wealth accrued in Carolina was due to the success of.
Gullah is the blending of all the cultures that came together during that horrible time in human history called the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The connection between Barbados and South Carolina is.
With the success of the sugarcane crop, Barbados quickly became the wealthiest colony in the New World, and the most densely populated place on the planet. Successful colonists lived lavish lifestyles.
Look around Charleston, the Barbados-Carolina connection is ever present. How “place”, past and present, changed and molded the connection is explored through various aspects of culture. The mixture.
Power was a commodity in Barbados that easily transferred to Carolina. Cultural beliefs and practices influenced Carolina’s economy and helped shape the “place” that would become South Carolina.
Barbados was one of the wealthiest colonies in the New World and one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Barbados greatly changed from years of settlement and economic pursuits. “Place”.
Lesson Plan: Overview
Standard 3-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the exploration and settlement of South Carolina and the United States.
3-2.7 Explain the transfer of the institution of slavery into South Carolina from the West Indies, including the slave trade and the role of African Americans in the developing plantation economy the daily lives of African American slaves and their contributions to South Carolina, such as the Gullah culture and the introduction of new foods and African American acts of resistance against white authority. (H)
Historical Background Notes
The Gullah are the descendents of Africans and African Americans who worked the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. They continue to live in the coastal regions and on the Sea Islands from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. In Georgia and Florida they are usually referred to as Geechee. (Goodwine 2007).
Unlike other populations of slaves working on plantations, they lived in geographical and social isolation. The Gullah had limited contact with white people. White plantation owners were not accustomed to the diseases that the Africans brought with them from Africa, they often returned to the mainland leaving others in charge on the plantation. Because of the limited amount of time with the white people, the Gullah were able to preserve a great many of the African cultural traditions. They were able to bring together a distinctive language, rituals, music, crafts, and diet. (&ldquoGullah&rdquo 2007).
The Africans introduced us to many new foods and new ways of preparing them. Some of the foods brought from Africa were peanuts, okra, rice, yams, peas, hot peppers, sesame seeds, sorghum, and watermelon. The southern way of frying our foods came from the Gullah. (Robinson 2003).
To this day, the Gullah are known for their basket and net making. They used the resources available on the islands to help make the baskets. Baskets were usually made of sweet grass or pine straw. The baskets were made to help with the workload. Nets were made to help catch fish and other food from the sea. The men often knitted the nets and the women made the baskets. The children learned at a young age how to make these essential tools. The Gullah also made strip quilts. The quilts were made for the plantation owners. Later the quilts were made to tell stories. They helped the slaves to follow the path to freedom offered by the Underground Railroad. (Robinson 2003).
The spirituals sung in the fields come to mind when I think of the musical contributions. The shout is also attributed to the Gullah. The shout is traditional in the way of hand clapping and footwork rather than in song. The shout consists of call and response singing and rhythmic dance movements in a counter clockwise circle. (&ldquoGullah&rdquo 2007).
The Gullah are famous for stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Bre Fox. The characters in the Gullah stories are tricksters. Joel Chandler Harris helping to preserve the oral traditions documented these stories. You can read the stories in the Gullah language and/or in English. Some of the low country ghost stories are also attributed to the Gullah. (&ldquoGullah&rdquo 2007).
&ldquoHistory of the Gullah Geechee Nation.&rdquo Marquetta L. Goodwine, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah Geechee Nation, Lake View Elementary, January 31, 2007.
Robinson, Sallie Ann. Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003.
&ldquoThe Gullah Language and Sea Island Culture.&rdquo Retrieved February 3, 2007, from Beaufort County Public Library.
&ldquoGullah Tales.&rdquo Dir. Gary Moss. Videocassette. Prod. G. de Golian & G. Moss. Direct Cinema Limited, 1987.
• Outline of Africa with countries outlined within
• Computer with internet hook up
• Gullah video, Gullah Tales
• Copies of Gullah and African folktales
• Materials for preparation of recipe/ measuring and mixing utensils (see cookies)
1. Distribute an outline of the continent of Africa. Ask the students what they know about the Gullah people and their language. Discuss the regions of Africa where slave trading took place. Point out the section on the map showing where their Gullah ancestors were located. Color that area on the map and label the countries on the western coast of Africa. (10 pts.)
2. Listen to Gullah music on the internet. You can listen in both Gullah and English. Listen to the Gullah first and predict what they are saying. Then play the song in English. (5 pts.)
3. Listen as you watch the Gullah stories on video. The students will select and practice a Gullah story to perform. (10 pts.)
4. Bring in sweet grass baskets for the students to examine. Research how the baskets are made. Write the directions on how to make a basket. (5 pts.)
5. Bring a fishing net in for the class to see the work put into making a net. Tell why the Gullah need the fishnets. Explain how it is used. (5 pts.)
6. Write your own folktale in groups of 2 or 3. (10 pts.)
At the end of the 2005 – 2006 school year I applied to take a course in American history. I hadn’t taken a history class since high school. Since I would be teaching social studies in the fall to a group of special education students, I thought it was time for a course in history. Of course history hasn’t changed there is just more of it. What has really changed are the methods used to teach history! However, plans changed and I am not teaching social studies this year. Because of the fact that I like history, I decided not to drop out of the course. I am thankful now that I am more prepared to teach history if it becomes part of my job in the future.
In the past, the adopted textbook was what I used to teach social studies. Time did not allow me to expand or add extra materials to instruction. If anything was cut from the curriculum, social studies time was the first to go. This course has shown me that the textbooks barely touch the surface of South Carolina’s history. Many more sources are available to help teach about our past. Primary sources (artifacts, pictures, etc.) are powerful when used in the classroom.
I attended Francis Marion University earning an undergraduate and a master’s degree. I never knew about the hewn-timber cabins. Seeing the cabins and furnishings made me realize how much I had learned from my exposure to this type of living. What I had was a hands-on experience. Being able to put your hands on an object and to experience what it would be like to use that object has more meaning than just reading about it in a book. A field trip to Francis Marion University for third graders to experience living in the time period will be helpful to them in understanding some of the third grade standards.
At the cotton museum I learned how cotton became a part of South Carolina’s history. Being able to see the different processes beginning with the plant and ending with a finished product was interesting. If the students can experience the work put into growing cotton, they will have a better idea of how hard life was for these farmers in South Carolina’s early history. This would be a good field trip to take in the fall and include a visit to a nearby farm to let the students have an experience of picking cotton. Again, first hand experiences are worth more than reading about growing cotton. Experiences create pictures in the mind.
The tobacco museum was a learning experience for me. I had no prior knowledge of tobacco farming until moving here from the upstate. The only tobacco I had ever seen growing was on family trips to North Carolina. No one had ever explained the process of tobacco farming to me in the thirty something years that I have lived in Marion. Learning about the tobacco farms through the tobacco museum helps me to better understand the student’s way of life. I can understand our likes and differences.
The Marlboro County Museum was exciting. Many historical names were tossed about during our tour. The museum had significant places and artifacts that were tied to the Civil War. By visiting the area, not just the museum, it was easy to imagine being a part of the Civil War. The area would be helpful in experiencing life during the Civil War.
All the places included in the course were very well matched to the part of history being taught and discussed. I enjoyed the sites connected to the Civil War time period the most. The periods from 1900 until the present were not as interesting to me. I just happen to like the earlier time periods. However, everything was great!
The speakers were excellent. They presented another way for me to help present the information to the students. If the students are able to role play the historical figures of South Carolina and American history, the information will be easier to recall. If the students participate, the information has more meaning. The information learned will become a part of them.
The master teachers were very helpful with practical information that we could all use in the classroom. Being actual classroom teachers, they were aware of typical classroom situations and problems that might arise. They had tips and ideas that would help us in the classroom on a daily basis. The master teachers were friendly and very willing to share materials, ideas, and their knowledge of various topics. If any area needed to be addressed more, it would be the area of assessment. What are the best ways to assess what they have really learned? Not all students are capable of writing essay answers or even capable of reading a test. More suggestions for assessment methods for differences in abilities would be helpful.
Paul kept the group alive. His information was presented in a manner that kept your attention. He made the class fun and stress free. He allowed time for group interaction. Paul’s knowledge of the material was exceptional. I enjoyed his presentations very much. You can tell that he loves his profession.
In the future, when teaching any subject, I will strive to use more primary sources of information. The students were very successful in the assessments of the lessons presented. They were able to continue conversations on the topic for extended periods of time. Questions were asked freely without fear of asking or saying something wrong. The students seemed to enjoy the lesson more when artifacts and pictures were part of the learning process. I do not have any negative comments at all about the course. I really enjoyed all the different experiences. I will be recommending the course to other teachers in my district. Thanks for all your hard work!
The students will be assessed by a multiple choice test. They will also receive points for participation in the class activities and the homework assignments (see Lesson Plans section above).
Activities Total = 50 pts. (see Lesson Plans section above)
State Of South Carolina
The U.S. State of South Carolina (SC) was admitted as the 8th state of the union on May 23rd, 1778. Like much of North America before European exploration, the area comprising modern-day South Carolina was inhabited by several indigenous civilizations for thousands of years. By the early 1600s, the area was home to a relatively large Native American population of mostly localized tribes from the Cherokee and Catawba nations. In addition, several tribes of Sioux, Apalachee, and Yamasee descent maintained smaller populations.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to set foot in modern-day SC when they explored 1521. Five years later, they established the first European settlement in the region at modern-day Georgetown, South Carolina. In addition to the settlement being the first European settlement in South Carolina, it was also the first European settlement established within the mainland United States of America. By the mid-1500s, the French also began to explore the region, establishing their own settlement on Parris Island. After several disputes between the two European empires, the Spanish had mostly expelled the French from the area. By the turn of the century, Native American tribes had retaken much of the Spaniard-controlled territory. A short time after, the English Navy showed up along the coast and began to encroach upon what was left of the Spanish settlements. Subsequently, in 1629, King Charles I of England established the Province of Carolina, claiming ownership of the land comprising both North and South Carolina.
The fertile land of the new province was greatly suitable for agriculture. Almost immediately, the province began to establish plantations to grow and produce cash crops like rice and indigo. Over nearly a century, the province experienced a financial explosion and considerable growth in population resulting in the province being split in two, creating the new English colonies of North and South Carolina. Both North and South Carolina would become two of the original thirteen colonies. In no time, South Carolina went on to become one of the richest of the thirteen colonies.
Present South Carolina
SC ranks as the 40th among the fifty states in terms of land area and 23rd in terms of population. The city of Charleston and the capital city of Columbia are among the most populated cities in the state, being homes to nearly three hundred thousand people. In 2014, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of South Carolina to be 4,896,146.
Over the years, South Carolina has cultivated a unique appeal among American citizens for its coastal communities, its status as a staple in Southern American culture, and a haven for the arts. While the state lacks housing a major professional sports franchise, South Carolina does have a fair share of institutions representing a wide range of artistic mediums. For instance, the Gibbs Museum of Art in Charleston, the Columbia Museum of Art, and the SC State Museum are among the state’s most popular venues for visual arts.
South Carolina State History
The earliest history of South Carolina is similar to a lot of the Eastern United States it was populated 13,000 years ago by archaic communities, which went on to follow the same big changes that affected most cultures in the area. By the time of European contact there were 29 nations of native people in South Carolina. The nations of South Carolina mostly fell under two large culture groups, the Eastern Siouan and Cusaboan peoples, though other groups lived in the area.
Following exploration of the coast in 1521 by Francisco de Gordillo, the Spanish tried unsuccessfully to establish a colony near present-day Georgetown in 1526, and the French also failed to colonize Parris Island near Fort Royal in 1562. Although there was an older charter from 1629, King Charles II of England chartered the colony in 1663to wealthy aristocrats in exchange for their political support back in England. The colony was named Carolina after King Charles, and it acted as a buffer zone between Spanish territory and the other English colonies.The first English settlement was made in 1670 at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River, but poor conditions drove the settlers to the site of Charleston (originally called Charles Town).
South Carolina, officially separated from North Carolina in 1729. Charleston, despite its size and influence in the colonies, wasn't incorporated until after the Revolution. The city was run by a governor representing the Crown, and the state was a bastion of Loyalism to the British government. Itwas the scene of extensive military action during the Revolution and again during the Civil War.
In the 1800s, South Carolina played a leading role in Southern hostility to the federal government, and in the entrenchment of slavery in the Deep South. South Carolina was the largest slave state by percentage of people in slavery, and had the strictest laws toward freeing slaves the government worked hard to ensure the dominance of the minority white population over the black majority. They viewed this as especially necessary since the plantation owners left their plantations for the city during the summer, as they were afraid of contracting malaria.
In 1832 this contributed to the Nullification Crisis. South CarolinianJohn C. Calhoun was the nation's most famous pro-slavery politician.In 1861, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.The Civil War began in 1861 as South Carolina troops fired on federal Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
After the Confederate loss in the Civil War, South Carolina became the only state with a black majority congress. This saw a brief period of rapidly expanding rights for Black Americans that was swiftly reversed during the Jim Crow era. However, despite its long history as a bedrock slave state, South Carolina didn't see the levels of violence that plagued Mississippi and Alabama during desegregation. Likewise South Carolina was relatively swift among former Confederate states to remove the Confederate flag from government buildings after incidents of racial violence.
In the time since desegregation, South Carolina has converted itself into a popular tourist destination, moving away from the traditional manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
Historic points of interest include Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, and aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor the Middleton, Magnolia, and Cypress Gardens in Charleston and Cowpens National Battlefield. VIsitors might also be interested inthe Hilton Head resorts, and the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia.
South Carolina History Timeline
10,000 - 8,000 BCE The first Native Americans cross into the New World from Siberia 12,000 to 10,000 years ago. The first permanent settlements appear around 1000 BCE At least 29 distinct groups of Native Americans live in South Carolina prior to European arrival. These include the Catawba, Chicora, Santee, and Cherokee. Many of the tribes that once lived in South Carolina are now extinct due to European diseases and conflicts with settlers.
Settled by the English in 1670, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. constitution in 1788. By 1730, people of African descent made up two thirds of the colony's population. South Carolina became the first state to secede from the union in 1861, and was the site of the first shots of the Civil War--the shelling of the federally held Fort Sumter by Confederate troops on April 12, 1861.
16th Century South Carolina History Timeline
1500-1600: Early Carolina Expeditions and Settlements
1521 - June 24 - First recorded Spanish expedition reaches the Carolina coast, probably near Winyah Bay.
1524 - First French ship scouts the Carolina coast.
1526 - August - First Spanish attempt at a settlement, San Miguel de Gualdape, probably near Winyah Bay. Colony fails within a year, and only 150 of 500 settlers live to return home.
1540 - Hernando DeSoto may have reached Carolina Lowcountry on a trek north from Florida.
1562 - First French attempt at a settlement made by Jean Ribaut on Parris Island. Built a fort named Charlesfort. Settlement fails within a year. Similar French attempts to settle in Florida bring about bloody Spanish massacre and equally bloody French reprisal.
1565 - St. Augustine founded.
1566 - Spain decides to build coastal forts to discourage French settlements. First of these, Fort San Felipe later rebuilt as Fort San Marco), is built near the ruins of Charlesfort.
1585 - First attempted British settlement on Roanoke Island founded by Sir Walter Raleigh. It is destroyed by Native Americans and survivors are rescued by Sir Francis Drake.
- Second British attempt on Roanoke Island, also funded by Raleigh, fails within three years as all settlers disappear, becoming known as "The Lost Colony."
- Spanish withdraw from San Marco after Sir Francis Drake burns St. Augustine.
17th Century South Carolina History Timeline
1600-1670: The Seeds of Carolina
1604 - Founding of the first settlement at Jamestown, VA.
1620 - Plymouth Colony founded.
1623 - First charter for Carolina Colony granted to Sir Robert Heath by King Charles I. Charter would never be used.
1633 - Middle Plantation in Virginia founded, later to become Colonial Williamsburg.
1640 - Boston founded.
1649 - King Charles I is tried by a court of Puritans, convicted of treason, and beheaded. Oliver Cromwell comes to power.
1650 - First settlements near Albemarle Sound, in what today is North Carolina, by frontiersmen from Virginia.
1660 - Cromwell dies and his son, Richard, is too weak to take power. The Prince of Wales, Charles II, assumes the throne.
1663 - Charles II, as repayment for their political support against the forces of Cromwell, grants eight ex-generals, the Lords Proprietors, title to Carolina. Charter is later amended to include the Albemarle Sound settlements.
1666 - Capt. Robert Sanford explores and names the Ashley River. On June 23 takes formal possession of Carolina for England and the Proprietors.
1669 - July 21 - The Fundamental Constitution of Carolina, written by the philosopher John Locke, serving as secretary to Ashley-Cooper, is approved by the Lords Proprietors. Its guarantee of religious freedom, in language similar to Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, will have a profound and lasting influence on the development of Charleston's social fabric, leading to the immigration of such diverse groups as French Hugenots and Sephardic Jews.
- Carolina colonists sail from London on three ships: the Albemarle, the Port Royal, and the Carolina.
- November 2 - The colonists reach Barbados, where their ships are struck by a hurricane. The Albemarle is destroyed and the Port Royal and Carolina are damaged.
1670-1720: The Proprietors' Fortress
- March 15 - The Carolina arrives in Seewee Bay, and proceeds to anchor at the north end of Bull's Island.
- April - Charles Town is founded as the capital city of Carolina, across the Ashley River from its current site on the main peninsula.
1672 - Charles Town is reported to consist of 30 houses and some 200-300 settlers
1680 - April 30 - The Richmond arrives carrying the first large group of French Huguenots.
1685 - October - Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, which had guaranteed the rights of Huguenots in France. This revocation accelerates the emmigration of French Huguenots to Charleston.
1690 - Charles Town is officially moved to current site on the peninsula. Population is estimated at 1,200, making it the fifth largest city in North America.
1693 - "Liberty of Conscience" substantiated, reaffirming the right of locals to worship as they please.
- City walls and six bastions are built about this time
- Possible year of construction of the John Lining House at 106 Broad St., the oldest surviving frame building in Charleston.
1698 - October 8 - Increasing importation of African slaves prompts a law providing cash incentive for bringing white servants into Carolina.
18th Century South Carolina History Timeline
- Charles Town has grown into a major trading center plantations appear inland along the rivers.
- September 1 - Hurricane of 1700 strikes the city
- November 16 - City Assembly establishes a tax-supported free library, possibly the first public library in America. It operates for 14 years.
1704 - First known map of the Walled City: the Crisp Map of 1704
1706 - September 2 - Joint French and Spanish attack upon Charles Town during Queen Anne's War is repulsed when Colonial forces capture French vessel and crew.
1710 - Powder Magazine at 79 Cumberland St. and Pink House Tavern at 17 Chalmers St. built about this time.
- Rhett Mansion is built at 54 Hasell St.
- The territory of Carolina is divided into North and South, each having its own governor.
1713 - September 5 - Hurricane of 1713 strikes the city.
1715 - Yemassee Indian War lasts two years in Carolina
1717 - City begins to remove fortifications to allow for expansion.
1718 - Blackbeard the Pirate sails into Charles Town Harbor with four ships takes hostages for ransom. Also in this year, the pirate Stede Bonnet is hanged at White Point.
1719 - Failure of Lords Proprietors to protect colonists from various threats results in a Revolutionary Assembly. Citizens petition the King to take over the reins of government
1720-1773: Crown Colony
1721 - South Carolina becomes a royal colony. General Sir Francis Nicholson made Governor.
- Regular passenger and shipping service begins between Charles Town and New York.
- Hurricane of 1728
1729 - July 25 - King George buys out the Lords Proprietors, finalizing South Carolina's transformation into a Royal Colony.
- January 8 - The South Carolina Gazette publishes its first edition.
- April 19 - The first known concert in Charles Town is performed by John Salter, organist of St. Philip's.
1733 - January 13 -James Oglethorpe and the first settlers for Georgia arrive in Charles Town Harbor on the Anne. Savannah is founded soon after.
1734 - February 2 - After the death of its first editor, The South Carolina Gazette resumes publication under Lewis Timothy, who is backed by Ben Franklin.
1735 - February 18 - The first public presentation of an opera in the colonies is performed at Broad and Church.
- February 3 - Organization of America's first fire insurance company.
- One of the first theatres in the country, The Dock Street, opens with The Recruiting Officer.
1739 - September 9 - Some 40 blacks and 21 whites are killed during a slave revolt along the Stono River.
- Fire rages through the waterfront district.
- April 28 - News arrives of war against Spain, and plans are made to attack St. Augustine.
- Construction of the East Bay warehouse district, today known as Rainbow Row.
1742 - Charles Town's population estimated to be 6,800.
1745 - Lots laid out for Ansonborough neighborhood.
1747 - April 18 - City leaders sign a treaty with Choctaw Indians establishing trade in return for their attacking French settlements.
1748 - December 28 - A group of citizens form the Charleston Library Society, a subscription library still in existance.
1751 - June 14 - City is divided into two parishes: St. Michael's south of Broad, and St. Philip's north of Broad.
1752 - September - Great Hurricane of 1752 devastates the city, killing nearly a hundred.
1761 - February 1 - First services are held at St. Michael's Church, the oldest surviving church building in the city.
1767 - The Old Exchange Building is built on the ruins of Half-Moon Battery, the site of the former Court of Guard.
- July 5 - A statue of William Pitt, believed the first commemorating a public figure in America, is dedicated at Meeting and Broad.
- Development of Harleston Village neighborhood.
1773 - January 12 - A committee of The Library Society establishes the Charleston Museum - the oldest in the country.
1774-1782: Revolution and the Siege of Charles Town
- July 7 - Charlestonians Henry Middleton, John Rutledge, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Lynch, and Christopher Gadsden are named delegates to the First Continental Congress
- October 22 - Henry Middleton is chosen President of the Continental Congress.
- January 11 - Carolina's First Provincial Congress convenes at the Old Exchange.
- June 18 - Lord William Campbell, the last Royal Governor, arrives.
- December 9 - The first Chamber of Commerce in America is formed during a meeting at Mrs. Swallow's Tavern.
- Charles Town's population estimated to be 12,000.
- Spring - Admiral Sir Peter Parker and General Sir Henry Clinton prepare a campaign to occupy Sullivan's Island as the southern base of British operations. Major General Charles Lee, the American commander of the Southern Department, arrives in Charles Town to take charge of the defense of the city.
- May - Panic sweeps the city at the first offshore sighting of a British armada carrying over 3,000 British regulars.
- June 28 - First major naval battle of the Revolution. Fleet of 11 British warships and 1,500 troops under Sir Peter Parker attack Ft. Moultrie and are repulsed.
- August 5 - Declaration of Independence arrives at the city. Maj. Barnard Elliot reads it under the Liberty Tree near present-day 80 Alexander St..
- William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton design the Great Seal of South Carolina with matrices executed by Charles Town silversmith George Smithson. It would be used for the last time to seal the Ordinance of Secession in 1860.
1777 - February 13 - The new state government stipulates that each male citizen shall denounce the King and pledge loyalty to the state.
1778 - January 15 - A major fire destroyes many buildings on Broad, Elliott, and Tradd Sts. British loyalists are suspected of arson.
1779 - November-December - Unable to win a decisive battle in the northern states, the British prepare a massive combined sea and land expedition against Charles Town, under the command of Vice Admiral Arbuthnot, General Sir Henry Clinton, and Lord Cornwallis.
1779 - December - General Washington orders 1,400 Continentals to join the forces of General Benjamin Lincoln defending Charles Town.
- February 10 - British troops under Sir Henry Clinton land on Seabrook Island, and make preparations to lay seige to the city. South Carolina Gazette editor Peter Timothy takes a spyglass up the steeple of St. Michael's Church and reports seeing smoke from hundreds of British campfires.
- March - British warships sweep past the forts guarding the harbor entrance to anchor within broadside range of the city. British Army crosses the Ashley River and establishes a line of breastworks 1,800 yards north of Charles Town's defensive line, completing their encirclement of the civilian population.
- March 29 - British siege begins lasts 40 days.
- May 12 - After a bitter struggle, General Benjamin Lincoln surrenders Charles Town to the British, their greatest prize of the Revolutionary War. Two-and-a-half year occupation begins.
- August 27 - British troops arrest prominent citizens for encouraging resistance and imprison them in the dungeon of the Old Exchange. Only those signing an Oath of Loyalty to the Crown are released.
- September 3 - Henry Laurens is captured by the British on his way to the Netherlands and is imprisoned in the Tower of London.
- August 4 - Col. Isaac Hayne, a Revolutionary leader of the South Carolina Militia, is hanged by the British just beyond the city limits of Charles Town.
- November-December - American forces under Gen. Nathanael Greene retake most of South Carolina and advance to within 15 miles of Charles Town.
- December - When news reaches London of Washinton's defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown, the British Parliament resolves to bring the war to an end.
- December 31 - Henry Laurens is released from the Tower of London in a prisoner exhange for the release of Lord General Cornwallis by the Americans.
1782 - December 14 - Defeated British Army marches out of city, ending the occupation.
1783-1860: Antebellum Charleston
1783 - August 13 - This date marks the incorporation of the city, and the official adoption of the name Charleston.
1785 - March 19 - Assembly grants charter for the College of Charleston.
- The South Carolina state capital is moved from Charleston to Columbia.
- Development of Radcliffeborough neighborhood
- May - A Constitutional Draft for the Convention in Philadelphia is prepared by Charles Pinckney.
- September 17 - South Carolina delegates Pierce Butler, Charles Pinckney, John Rutledge, and Charles C. Pinckney sign the US Constitution.
1791 - May 2 - President George Washington arrives in Charleston for a week's visit. His itinerary includes lodging at the Daniel Heyward House 87 Church St. -, a reception at the Old Exchange, and a social evening at McCrady's Longroom 153 East Bay -.
1799 - December 21 - The Charleston Water Works, the city's first public utility, is established to bring water from Goose Creek.
19th Century South Carolina History Timeline
1804 - September 7 - Hurricane of 1804.
1818 - Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, arrives in Charleston to begin a printing business.
1820 - Charleston's population estimated to be 23,300.
- May - The alleged slave uprising of Denmark Vesey is revealed to authorities.
- July 2 - Denmark Vesey and five associates are hanged.
- A group of members of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim form the Reform Society of Israelites, making Beth Elohim the recognized birthplace of Reform Judaism in the United States.
- Founding of the Medical College of South Carolina, the first medical school in the South today named the Medical Univerity of S. C.).
1828-29 - A young Army recruit named Edgar Allan Poe is stationed at Ft. Moultrie on Sullivans Island for a year. Later sets his first published story, The Gold Bug, on Sullivan's Island, incorporating coastal Carolina pirate lore.
1830 - December 25 - The first steam locomotive in America to pull passengers in regular service, The Best Friend, begins its route between Charleston and Hamburg SC.
1831 - October16 - John James Audubon arrives in Charleston to work on his Birds of America.
1838 - January 30 - Osceola, Chief of the Seminoles, dies during imprisonment at Ft. Moultrie.
1838 - Fire destroys much of Ansonborough.
1843 - March 20 - The Citadel opens for its first class of cadets.
1851 - Renowned scientist Dr. Louis Agassiz comes to Charleston to teach at the Medical College of South Carolina and establishes a seaside laboratory on Sullivan's Island to study the flora and fauna of the Atlantic Ocean.
1860-1865: From Sumter to Sherman
- Charleston's population estimated to be 40,500.
- November 7 - Abraham Lincoln's election prompts the resignation of federal officials in the city.
- December 20 - Ordinance of Secession ratified by "a Convention of the People of the State of South Carolina" in Institute Hall in Charleston, proclaiming South Carolina "an independent commonwealth."
- April 12 - Confederate forces open fire upon Ft. Sumter, the first shots of the Civil War.
- December 19 - Union forces sink the "Stone Fleet" in the harbor channel to begin their blockade of Charleston.
- June 16 - Confederates repulse a Union attack during the Battle of Seccessionville on James Island.
- June 21 - Battle of Simmons Bluff.
- January 31 - The blockading Federal fleet is attacked by the Confederate ironclads Palmetto and Chicora.
- April 7 - Union sends fleet of nine ironclad Monitor warships to attack Ft. Sumter. Attack is repulsed.
- July 18 - The Union assault upon Battery Wagner on Morris Island is lead by the 54th Massachusetts, an all black unit.
- August 22 - The 587 day Federal bombardment of downtown Charleston begins with the explosion of a shell on Pinckney Street.
1864 - The Confederate submarine CSS H. L. Hunley rams the Housatonic the first submarine to sink a vessel in war.
- February 23 - Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's troops reach Middleton Place Plantation, leaving it in ruins. Charlestonians fear imminent invasion, but Sherman's forces turn toward Columbia. Their subsequent burning of Columbia destroys many records and valuables which Charlestonians had sent there for "safekeeping."
- April 14 - Federal photographers under the supervision of Mathew Brady arrive to record the flag-raising ceremony at Ft. Sumter, marking the anniversary of Maj. Anderson's surrender to Confederate forces. They then move through the city, documenting damage from bombardment and fire.
1870-Present: Modern Era Begins
1886 - August 31 - The Lowcountry is struck by an estimated 7.5 earthquake, resulting in 83 deaths and $6 million in damage.
20th Century South Carolina History Timeline
1900 - Charleston's population estimated to be 55,807.
1901 - The South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition, a forerunner of the World's Fair, attracts 700,000 people from around the nation to Hampton Park.
1920 - Susan Pringle Frost and others form the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, later to be renamed the Preservation Society of Charleston, marking the formal beginning of organized historic preservation.
- Author Dubose Heyward writes tragic novel Porgy, set in Cabbage Row across from his house on Church Street changed to Catfish Row in the book -.
- A new dance craze begins in Charleston's pubs and dancehalls and spreads across the nation soon to be named "the Charleston."
1931 - The City of Charleston adopts a Planning and Zoning Ordinance establishing the "Old and Historic District," protecting some 400 residential properties in a 23-block area south of Broad Street.
1934 - Composer George Gershwin arrives in Charleston to research and write Porgy and Bess, the first American opera, including its famous song "Summertime."
1935 - Founding of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
1947 - The Historic Charleston Foundation is established to oversee a revolving fund with which to purchase threatened historic properties, restore them, and sell them with protective covenants.
1951 - Charleston Judge J. Watis Waring dissents from a Federal District Court decision upholding the "separate but equal" doctrine in Briggs v. Elliott.
1954 - May - The U. S. Supreme Court accepts Judge Waring's dissent in Briggs v. Elliott as the basis for their unanimous opinion overturning the "separate but equal" doctrine in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka.
1957 - Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti comes to Charleston at the instigation of Countess Alicia Paolozzi who owns a home in the city, and begins negotiations to make Charleston the American site of Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds, later called the Spoleto Festival.
1963 - September - Charleston's Rivers High School becomes the first racially integrated high school in South Carolina.
1966 - Following the destruction of the landmark Charleston Hotel, the Historic District is tripled in size to include Ansonborough, Harleston Village, and other areas between Broad and Calhoun streets.
1977 - May - The first Spoleto Festival USA is held, and Charleston is designated the permanent American home for this "Festival of Two Worlds."
1982 - May - The construction of Charleston Place, a hotel-shopping-convention center, sets off a building and rehabilitation boom in the downtown business district.
1989 - September 21 - Hurricane Hugo, a powerful category 4 hurricane with winds of 131-155 mph slams into the city with a 12-17 foot wall of water rolling over Ft. Sumter around midnight. The barrier islands are inundated as an estimated 80% of homes on Sullivan's Island and Folly Island are badly damaged or destroyed . Many homes in the Historic District sustain 10 to 24 inches of flooding. While about three quarters of the 3,500 significant structures suffer some damage, only twenty-five historically important buildings are severely damaged. Total losses are estimated at $2.8 billion.
1995 - May - Author Clive Cussler announces that his team of divers has discovered the wreck of the Confederate Submarine H. L. Hunley in the waters off Sullivan's Island. To read about the latest efforts to study and recover the CSS Hunley, you can visit two pages: one maintained by the Subwar Network provides a good overview, and the other, maintained by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology provides periodic updates.
21st Century South Carolina History Timeline
2000 - South Carolina removed last Confederate flag flying above U S Statehouse
2002 - 100 year old Sen. Strom Thurmond retires
2004 - Hurricane Gaston caused major flooding damaged structures
2007 - Nine fire fighters killed in furniture warehouse fire in Charleston
2009 - Atlantic Coast Conference moved three future baseball tournaments out of state due to concerns from NAACP over state-sponsored display of Confederate flag
2010 - Legislation introduced mandating gold and silver to replace federal currency in the state
2011 - State's immigration laws challenged by 16 nations from Latin America and Caribbean
Prior to European settlement, the region now called South Carolina was populated by several Indian groups. Indians of Iroquoian stock, including the Cherokee, inhabited the northwestern section, while those of the Siouan stock—of whom the Catawba were the most numerous—occupied the northern and eastern regions. Indians of Muskogean stock lived in the south.
In the early 1500s, long before the English claimed the Carolinas, Spanish sea captains explored the coast. The Spaniards made an unsuccessful attempt to establish a settlement in 1526 at Winyah Bay, near the present city of Georgetown. Thirty-six years later, a group of French Huguenots under Jean Ribault landed at a site near Parris Island, but the colony failed after Ribault returned to France. The English established the first permanent settlement in 1670 under the supervision of the eight lords proprietors who had been granted ⋊rolana" by King Charles II. At first the colonists settled at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River: 10 years later, they moved across the river to the present site of Charleston.
Rice cultivation began in the coastal swamps, and black slaves were imported as field hands. The colony flourished, and by the mid-1700s, new areas were developing inland. Germans, Scots-Irish, and Welsh, who differed markedly from the original aristocratic settlers of the Charleston area, migrated to the southern part of the new province. Although the upcountry was developing and was taxed, it was not until 1770 that the settlers there were represented in the government. For the most part, the colonists had friendly relations with the Indians. In 1715, however, the Yamasee were incited by Spanish colonists at St. Augustine, Fla., to attack the South Carolina settlements. The settlers successfully resisted, with no help from the proprietors.
The original royal grant had made South Carolina a very large colony, but eventually the separate provinces of North Carolina and Georgia were established, two moves that destined South Carolina to be a small state. The colonists were successful in having the proprietors overthrown in 1719 and the government transferred to royal rule by 1721.
Skirmishes with the French, Spanish, Indians, and pirates, as well as a slave uprising in 1739, marked the pre-Revolutionary period. South Carolina opposed the Stamp Act of 1765 and took an active part in the American Revolution. The first British property seized by American Revolutionary forces was Ft. Charlotte in McCormick County in 1775. Among the many battles fought in South Carolina were major Patriot victories at Ft. Moultrie in Charleston (1776), Kings Mountain (1780), and Cowpens (1781), the last two among the war's most important engagements. Delegates from South Carolina, notably Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, were leaders at the federal constitutional convention of 1787. On 23 May 1788, South Carolina became the 8th state to ratify the Constitution.
Between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, two issues dominated South Carolinians' political thinking: tariffs and slavery. Senator John C. Calhoun took an active part in developing the nullification theory by which a state claimed the right to abrogate unpopular federal laws. Open conflict over tariffs during the early 1830s was narrowly averted by a compromise on the rates, but in 1860, on the issue of slavery, no compromise was possible. At the time of secession, on 20 December 1860, more than half the state's population consisted of black slaves. The first battle of the Civil War took place at Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor on 12 April 1861. Federal forces soon captured the Sea Islands, but Charleston withstood a long siege until February 1865. In the closing months of the war, Union troops under General William Tecumseh Sherman burned Columbia and caused widespread destruction elsewhere. South Carolina contributed about 63,000 soldiers to the Confederacy out of a white population of some 291,000. Casualties were high: nearly 14,00 men were killed in battle or died after capture.
Federal troops occupied South Carolina after the war. During Reconstruction, as white South Carolinians saw it, illiterates, carpetbaggers, and scalawags raided the treasury, plunging the state into debt. The constitution was revised in 1868 by a convention in which blacks outnumbered whites by 76 to 48 given the franchise, blacks attained the offices of lieutenant governor and US representative. In 1876, bands of white militants called Red Shirts, supporting the gubernatorial candidacy of former Confederate General Wade Hampton, rode through the countryside urging whites to vote and intimidating potential black voters. Hampton, a Democrat, won the election, but was not permitted by the Republican incumbent to take office until President Rutherford B. Hayes declared an end to Reconstruction and withdrew federal troops from the state in April 1877.
For the next 100 years, South Carolina suffered through political turmoil, crop failures, and recessions. A major political change came in the 1880s with a large population increase upcountry and the migration of poor whites to cities. These trends gave farmers and industrial workers a majority of votes, and they found their leader in Benjamin Ryan "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman, a populist who stirred up class and racial hatreds by attacking the Ȭharleston ring." Tillman was influential in wresting control of the state Democratic Party from the coastal aristocrats he served as governor from 1890 to 1894 and then as US senator until his death in 1918. However, his success inaugurated a period of political and racial demagoguery that saw the gradual (though not total) disfranchisement of black voters.
The main economic transformation after 1890 was the replacement of rice and cotton growing by tobacco and soybean cultivation and truck farming, along with the movement of tenant farmers, or sharecroppers, from the land to the cities. There they found jobs in textile mills, and textiles became the state's leading industry after 1900. With the devastation of the cotton crop by the boll weevil in the 1920s, farmers were compelled to diversify their crops, and some turned to raising cattle. Labor shortages in the North during and after World War II drew many thousands of African Americans from South Carolina to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York, and other cities.
In the postwar period, industry took over the dominant role formerly held by agriculture in South Carolina's economy, and the focus of textile production shifted from cotton to synthetic fabrics. In the 1990s the major industries were textiles and chemicals, and foreign investment played a major role in the state's economy. BMW, the German automobile company, established their North American plant in Greenville. Tourism also played a role, with the coastal areas drawing visitors from around the nation. In the early 2000s, South Carolina, along with other tobacco-producing states, was in the midst of a transition away from tobacco production.
Public school desegregation after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling of 1954 proceeded peaceably, but very slowly, and blacks were gradually accepted alongside whites in the textile mills and other industries. In 1983, for the first time in 95 years, a black state senator was elected the following year, four blacks were elected to the reapportioned senate. Despite these changes, most white South Carolinians remained staunchly conservative in political and social matters, as witnessed by the 1999 firestorm over the display of the Confederate flag on the dome of the State House. The controversy prompted the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to call for a tourism boycott of the state. A January 2000 protest drew nearly 50,000 demonstrators, black and white, against the flag. Legislators brokered a compromise that moved the flag, viewed as a symbol of oppression by African Americans, to a spot in front of the capitol, where it flies from a 30-ft pole. The "solution," though favored by most South Carolinians who were polled, did not satisfy most of the black community. Tourism officials called for the NAACP to lift its boycott, but the organization refused to do so, maintaining the flag's only place is in a museum of history.
In the postwar period, the Democrats' traditional control of the state weakened, and, beginning with Barry Goldwater, Republican presidential candidates have carried the state in every election except that of 1976, in which Southerner Jimmy Carter prevailed. Well-known conservative Republican Strom Thurmond represented South Carolina in the US Senate from 1954 to 2003, when he died at age 100. But his Democratic counterpart, Ernest Hollings (also a former governor) has been in the Senate since 1966.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo, the 10th-strongest hurricane to hit the United States coast in the 20th century, struck South Carolina, packing 135-mph (217-kph) winds. Ripping roofs off buildings and sweeping boats onto city streets, the storm killed 37 people and produced over $700 million worth of property damage. Seven South Carolina counties were declared disaster areas. In 1993, flooding, followed by a record-breaking drought, caused an estimated $226 million in crop damage.
In response to a Supreme Court ruling, The Citadel (in Charleston), one of only two state-supported military schools in the country, admitted its first female cadet, Shannon Faulkner, in 1995. Faulkner left the institution after only six days. In 1997 two of four women attending the institution quit, alleging hazing and sexual harassment by their male peers. In May 1999 the institution graduated its first female cadet. By the following August, there were 75 female cadets enrolled at the Citadel—the first in its 156-year history, as the school fought a sexual harassment lawsuit of a former cadet.
In 1999 a settlement was reached in the worst oil spill in the state's history. A record $7-million fine was to be paid by a national pipeline company that admitted its negligence caused nearly one million gallons of diesel fuel to pollute the Upstate River.
South Carolina finished fiscal year 2003 with a $68.8 million budget deficit, down from the $248.8 million deficit at the end of fiscal year 2002. In 2003, Republican Governor Mark Sanford, elected in 2002, urged state legislators to reform the way the government conducts its business, from allowing state officials to hire and fire employees more easily, to funding schools with block grants rather than line items.
Spanish and French Expeditions by Land and Water to the Carolinas
One would hardly suppose from the later history of South Carolina that in the 16th there were vicious wars carried out along the South Atlantic Coast between the French and Spanish Empires over the establishment of settlements in the region.
Soon after the establishment of Spanish colonies on the Caribbean Island a shortage of slave labor was developing. A government official and sugar planter on the island of Hispaniola, Lucas Vásquez Ayllón, started searching for a source of slaves. In 1514 he sent an expedition to the South Atlantic coast. That expedition reported back that there were natives there and they were bigger and stronger than the ones the Spanish had been using. In 1521 Ayllón sent out a second expedition to the South Atlantic coast. The expedition ships made contact with natives at the coast and enticed a significant number on board. The ships then set sail for Hispaniola with the native captive. In Hispaniola the captives were sold as slaves. One of the expedition ships was wrecked on the way to Hispaniola and many of the captives on board died but some survived. One of those that survived learned Spanish and became a Christian. He was given the name Francisco Chicora. Ayllón took Chicora with him to Spain where Chicora entertained the court with tales of his life in his native land. Thanks in part to Chicora's tales Ayllón obtained a commission from King Charles V to explore the Atlantic Coastal area north of Florida. When he returned to Hispaniola in 1525 Ayllón immediately sent out an expedition to choose a site for a settlement. Ayllón then put together an expedition including six ships and six hundred settlers. In 1526 this expedition founded the settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape.
The settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape suffered some colossal bad luck. One ship and its supplies were lost. Francisco Chicora, the native who had been been captured in that region in 1521, was to be the guide and interpreter for the expedition. But Chicora escaped from the Spanish as soon as he could. Then Ayllón caught a fever and died in October of 1526.
Some of the settlers did not accept the man who was to be Ayllón's successor. They put the successor in jail and ruled over the slaves oppressively and mistreated the natives. The slaves rebelled and the natives attacked the settlement. Some of the other settlers captured those who had mutinied against Ayllón's successor and executed them. But the settlement did not have enough food for the winter and the natives refused to help. The surviving settlers then decided to return to Hispaniola. Sailing south in the winter resulted in some of the survivors freezing to death. All totaled the number to original 600 settlers who made it back to Hispaniola was 150.
In 1540 the expedition of Hernando de Soto started out on the west coast of Florida. That story is told Elsewhere. The Soto expedition did pass through what is now South Carolina but that was just a small part of the expedition. The expedition turned west and reached the Mississippi River and crossed it into what is now Arkansas where Soto died. The expedition built a ship and made it back to New Spain (now northern Mexico).
The Ayllón and Soto expeditions introduced diseases into the native population that were deadly and substantial shares of the native populations died in the period of the first half of the 16th century.
Spain wanted a settlement in the South Atlantic coast area not only for what the settlement might produce but also for the security of the Spanish fleet sailing from the Caribbean to Spain. In 1559 King Philip II of Spain commanded that a settlement be established at Punta de Santa Elena. In 1561 an expedition set out to fulfill the king's command. It ran into a hurricane that destroyed three of the expedition's four ship and killed 26 of the 100 people belonging to the expedition. The plan for a settlement at Punta de Santa Elena was abandoned.
Around the year 1560 a French admiral named Gaspar Coligny conceived a plan to establish a French settlement somewhere along the South Atlantic coast. Such a settlement would lay claim to the territory for the French Empire. Gaspar Coligny was a French Protestant, Huguenot. and he saw such a settlement as being a possible refuge for the Huguenots. In 1562 Jean Ribaut was given command of an expedition with two ships and 150 men to establish such a settlement. The expedition found a good harbor which they called Port Royal. There on the island now known as Parris Island they started building the settlement. A fort was constructed and named Charlesfort. Ribaut and a majority of the expedition members then sailed for France to gather more supplies and migrants. But in France the country was being torn apart by the religious war between the Catholics and Protestants. Ribaut could not put together a second expedition to Port Royal.
The 28 men who had been left at the settlement saw they were going to run short of food. The local natives could only provide a limited amount because their supplies were low also. The expedition scoured the region and obtained some supplies. Those supplies were stored in a structure with a thatched roof. The roof caught fire and the supplies were lost. The local natives could not help with any more supplies. The commander harshly mistreated the settlements men and they rebelled and killed him. The rebels decided they would have to go back to France. They constructed a makeshift boat and set sail using shirts and sheets. Some after terrible trials did make it back to Europe thanks in the last stages to an English ship.
The failure at Port Royal did not deter Admiral Coligny. He organized a new expedition with three ships and three hundred settlers. In 1564 this expedition set sail and built a settlement on St. John's River. They called it Fort Caroline.
When King Philip II of Spain heard of this intrusion into what he consided his territory. He ordered to Pedro Menéndez de Avilés of La Florida to takepedition north to establish a Spanish settlement and destroy the French settlement at St. John's River.
Menéndez stopped first at an inlet south of St. John's River and founded St. Augustine. Menéndez then attacked and captured the French settlement of Fort Charles. Most of the settlers were executed. The French tried to attack St. Augustine but were defeated and captured. The Spanish executed almost all of them. Some escaped and lived with the Amerindians.
Menéndez built up St. Augustine and then in 1566 took 150 soldiers north to Port Royal to build a military base to secure the Spanish control of the coast. On Parris Island they built a fort, called Fort San Felipe, and which was to develop on the island. Menéndez designated this embryonic settlement the capital of La Florida. Menéndez then chose Esteban de las Alas to be governor of La Florida from Santa Elena.
In 1566 and 1567 two expeditions under the command of Juan Pardo traveled into the interior to make contact with the natives there and to see if there was anything of value there. Pardo established several forts in the interior and garrisoned them with small contingents of soldiers. These forts subsequently disappeared without a trace.
Santa Elena grew. By October of 1569 there were 327 people residing there. They included artisans as well as farmers. However, the farmers of Santa Elena were not able to produce enough food for the community. A supply ship from Spain brought typhus as well as supplies and the community suffered.
The governor appointed by Menéndez, Esteban de las Alas, was not able to establish good relations with the natives and went to Spain, leaving Santa Elena subject to incompetent and oppressive leadership. In 1576 the incompetent leader had three local tribal chieftains killed. Their tribes attacked the Spanish and were joined by other tribes. Soon the attacking force numbered five hundred and many in Santa Elena were killed, including thirty of the fifty soldiers of the fort. The surviving settlers of Santa Elena were driven to seek refuge in the fort. The surviving soldiers in the fort were able to withstand the attack and had enough munitions and supplies to hold out against an extended siege. But most of the refugees were women and children and they implored the commander of the fort to take them to safety. In July of 1576 the commander complied with their entreaties and set sail leaving Santa Elena and Fort San Felipe to be burned by the Amerindians. This conflict spread to wherever the natives could attack the Spanish. It was known as the Escamacu War and only St. Augustine survived it.
After the Spanish abandoned their settlement in Port Royal the French tried to locate a settlement there. But the French were not able to withstand the hostilities of the natives and soon the French soldiers were killed or captured. The French authorities abandoned their effort to create a French outpost at Port Royal.
The Spanish however had no given up on creating a settlement at Port Royal. A fort was built and settlers brought to Santa Elena. This second Santa Elena was bigger than the first. It covered fifteen acres and had a church and tavern as well as forty houses.
The second Santa Elena seemed to be a success, but in 1586 Francis Drake captured and burned St. Augustine. The king's ministers in Spain thought that Spanish resources were being stretched too thin. They ordered the settlers of Santa Elena to destroy the facilities there and leave. Thus ended the attempt to create Spanish settlements north of St. Augustine.
South Carolina History: History and Culture
One of the thirteen original colonies, South Carolina has had a rich and varied history. When Spanish and French explorers arrived in the area in the 16th century, they found a land inhabited by many small tribes of Native Americans, the largest of which were the Cherokees and the Catawbas. The first European attempts at settlement failed, but in 1670 a permanent English settlement was established on the coast near present day Charleston. The colony, named Carolina after King Charles I, was divided in 1710 into South Carolina and North Carolina. Settlers from the British Isles, France, and other parts of Europe built plantations throughout the coastal lowcountry, growing profitable crops of rice and indigo. African slaves were brought into the colony in large numbers to provide labor for the plantations, and by 1720 they formed the majority of the population. The port city of Charleston became an important center of commerce and culture. The interior or upcountry, meanwhile, was being slowly settled by small farmers and traders, who pushed the dwindling tribes of Native Americans to the west.
By the time of the American Revolution, South Carolina was one of the richest colonies in America. Its merchants and planters formed a strong governing class, contributing many leaders to the fight for independence. More Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes were fought in South Carolina than any other state, including major engagements at Sullivan's Island, Camden, Kings Mountain, and Cowpens. South Carolina ratified the United States Constitution on May 23, 1788, becoming the eighth state to enter the union.
In the following years the state grew and prospered. With the invention of the cotton gin, cotton became a major crop, particularly in the upcountry. A new capital city, Columbia, was founded in the center of the state, reducing somewhat the political power of the lowcountry elite. Dissatisfaction with the federal government and its tariff policies grew during this period. In the 1820s South Carolinian John C. Calhoun developed the theory of nullification, by which a state could reject any federal law it considered to be a violation of its rights. Armed conflict was avoided during this period, but by 1860 tensions between the state and the federal government reached a climax. Unhappy over restrictions on free trade and about calls for the abolition of slavery, South Carolina seceded from the union on December 20, 1860, the first of the Southern states to do so. When Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, the nation plunged into Civil War.
The Civil War and its aftermath were devastating for South Carolina. The state lost nearly one fifth of the white male population, and its economy was shattered. The final blow came in early 1865 when General William T. Sherman marched his troops through South Carolina, burning plantations and most of the city of Columbia. The Reconstruction period that followed the war was marked by general economic, social, and political upheaval. The former white leaders found themselves without money or political power, while the large population of freed slaves sought to improve their economic and political positions. When federal troops withdrew in 1877, white conservatives led by Governor Wade Hampton were able to take control of state government once again. However, the economy continued to suffer in the years that followed. Cotton prices were low, and the plantation system that had brought South Carolina such wealth was dead. Populist reforms in the 1890s brought more political power to small white farmers, but African Americans were disenfranchised and increasingly segregated.
By the beginning of the 20th century, South Carolina was starting to recover economically. The textile industry began to develop first, then in the years that followed other manufacturers moved into the state, providing jobs and economic stability. In recent years tourism has become a major industry, as travelers discovered the state's beaches and mountains. On September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo struck the coast, causing great damage to homes, businesses, and natural areas, but the state has made a remarkable recovery in the ensuing years. The second half of the 20th century also brought enormous change in the status of black South Carolinians. The civil rights movement of the 1960s brought a relatively peaceful end to segregation and legal discrimination. The most serious incident of this period occurred in 1968 at Orangeburg, where state police shot three black protesters. Two years later three African Americans were elected to the state legislature, and many others have subsequently served in state and local offices. As the century drew to a close, all South Carolina's citizens were able to take part in the state's government and economy.