South Carolina

South Carolina
a state in the SE United States, on the Atlantic coast. 3,119,208; 31,055 sq. mi. (80,430 sq. km). Cap.: Columbia. Abbr.: SC (for use with zip code), S.C.

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State (pop., 2000: 4,012,012), southeastern U.S. It covers 31,113 sq mi (80,583 sq km) and is an original state of the Union; its capital is Columbia.

South Carolina is bounded on the north by North Carolina and on the southwest by Georgia; the Atlantic Ocean is to the southeast. The state comprises a broad coastal plain with a rolling piedmont farther inland. At the time of European contact the area was inhabited by Sioux, Iroquois, and Muskogean Indians. Spanish and French settlements were established and abandoned in the 16th century; the first permanent European settlement was made by the English in 1670 at Charles Town, moved to the present site of Charleston in 1680. Several military campaigns were fought in South Carolina during the American Revolution. In 1788 South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and in 1860 it became the first state to secede from the Union. The initial action of the American Civil War occurred there at Fort Sumter. It was readmitted to the Union in 1868. Constitutional revisions in 1895 disenfranchised almost all of the state's blacks, and a rigid policy of racial segregation persisted until the mid-1960s, when the national civil rights movement began to have some effect in ameliorating racist policies. South Carolina is a leader in U.S. textile manufacturing and has a large industrial base. Tourism is its second largest industry. Agriculture also contributes to the economy; major crops include tobacco, soybeans, and cotton.

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South Carolina, flag of    constituent state of the United States of America (United States), one of the 13 original colonies. It lies on the southern Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Shaped like an inverted triangle with an east-west base of 285 miles (459 km) and a north-south extent of about 225 miles (360 km), the state is bounded on the north by North Carolina, on the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the southwest by Georgia. Columbia, located in the centre of the state, is the capital and largest city.

      Settled by the English in 1670, South Carolina had a wealthy, aristocratic, and influential colonial society based on a plantation agriculture that relied on a labour force of black slaves. By 1730 people of African ancestry had come to represent some two-thirds of the colony's total population. The plantation system spread from the coastal lowlands into the rolling inland region in the early 19th century, and the new state became part of the Cotton Belt that stretched across the South (South, the). The American Civil War (1861–65) shattered South Carolina's economy and influence, and for a century thereafter the state suffered economic, social, and political turmoil. The mid-20th century brought major changes, however, as South Carolina's economy industrialized, its metropolitan areas grew, and the civil rights movement swept across the state. Area 31,118 square miles (80,595 square km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012; (2006 est.) 4,321,249.


    South Carolina can be divided geologically into three separate provinces. The Blue Ridge Mountain province dominates the northwestern corner of the state, covering about 2 percent of the state's area; the highest point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, rises on a crest in this region to an elevation of 3,560 feet (1,085 metres).The worn, undulating relief of the Piedmont province, with an elevation ranging from about 300 to about 1,200 feet (90 to 365 metres), stretches from the mountains southeastward to the midlands around Columbia; it constitutes nearly one-third of the state. At the edge of the Piedmont lie the Sandhills, which run diagonally across the centre of the state from northeast to southwest. The Coastal Plain province comprises the southern and eastern thirds of the state, and its elevation varies from sea level to about 300 feet (90 metres). The region is slightly rolling near the midlands and flat toward the coast. Its 187-mile (300-km) coastline consists of the Grand Strand, an unbroken beach stretching from the North Carolina border southward for more than 100 miles (160 km) before giving way to the tidal and freshwater marshes of the Sea Islands, which extend into Georgia.

      Two major geographic boundaries separate North Carolina's provinces. The fall line, where rivers form major rapids, divides the sedimentary rocks (sedimentary rock) of the Coastal Plain from the metamorphic rocks (metamorphic rock) of the Piedmont. The Piedmont, in turn, is separated from the Blue Ridge province by a fault line known as the Brevard Zone.

Drainage and soils
      South Carolina's rivers flow generally from northwest to southeast. Three major systems drain about four-fifths of the state's area: the Pee Dee (Pee Dee River) drains the northeast, the Santee and its tributaries cover much of the Piedmont (as part of the larger Santee-Wataree-Catawba (Santee-Wateree-Catawba river system) system), and the Savannah (Savannah River), on the western border, drains portions of both the Coastal and Piedmont regions. The Ashley-Combahee-Edisto system comprises the short rivers that form near the Sandhills and flow across the Coastal Plain. Carrying little sediment, their waters are blackened by tannic acid from the swamps along their courses. South Carolina has no large natural lakes; those on the Savannah River and Santee tributaries resulted from hydroelectric development in the 20th century. On the Coastal Plain are hundreds of elliptically shaped depressions of varying sizes typified by swamp vegetation and standing water in the centre. The formation of these so-called Carolina bays remains a mystery; some geographers have attributed them to the impact of a comet or meteor.

      Although South Carolina has more than 300 types of soils, the land is generally infertile and must be enriched with nutrients for successful cultivation. The poorly developed Blue Ridge soils lack clay accumulation beneath the surface, which renders them unsuited to farming. In the Piedmont province the reddish soils are clayey, with noticeable deposits of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. However, more than 200 years of cotton and corn (maize) cultivation has contributed to severe soil erosion. Soils in the Coastal Plain are generally formed from marine deposits of sand, clay, and limestone over granite and other crystalline substances.

 South Carolina's climate is subtropical, with hot, humid summers and generally mild winters. Average July temperatures range from the low 70s F (low 20s C) in the highland northwest to the low 80s F (upper 20s C) in the midlands and along the coast. Average winter temperatures vary from about 38 °F (3 °C) in the mountains and about 45 °F (7 °C) in the midlands to roughly 50 °F (10 °C) on the coast, which is warmed by the Gulf Stream. The growing season ranges from fewer than 200 days in the northwestern part of the state to about 290 days on the Sea Islands. Most of the state receives nearly 50 inches (1,270 mm) of precipitation annually, but 70 to 80 inches (1,780 to 2,030 mm) are recorded in the mountains in the northwest. Summer rainfall, typified by afternoon thunderstorms, normally exceeds that of any other season. The state experiences some 10 tornadoes (tornado) a year, usually occurring during the spring. Tropical cyclones (tropical cyclone) (hurricanes) are less frequent, but they do in some years cause damage to South Carolina's coast.

Plant and animal life
      Vegetation in South Carolina varies according to province. The woodlands of the Blue Ridge are home to many northern species, such as white pine and hemlock. Mid-20th-century abandonment of row crops in the Piedmont province has allowed the return of forests but not the oak and hickory that typified the 18th century. The most common tree in the province today is the loblolly pine, vast acreages of which have been planted. Huge pines, gums, live oaks, cypresses, and magnolias draped with Spanish moss are common sights in the Coastal Plain, especially in the southern and Sea Islands areas. State and federal agencies protect much of the coastal and mountain areas by way of parks and refuges.

      The white-tailed deer is the best known of the mammals found in South Carolina. Its population in the Piedmont had declined severely by the 1940s, but restocking from the Coastal Plain and restoration of forests have now ensured its statewide distribution. Other species, such as the American beaver and the wild turkey, also have regained prominence. Many species, including bison, wapiti (elk), pumas (cougars), and wolves, disappeared by the 1800s, and black bears are rare today. Red foxes and wild pigs, both introduced by Europeans, are widespread. Woodchucks and red squirrels are found in the Blue Ridge, while the Coastal Plain harbours alligators and all four types of poisonous snakes found in the United States. South Carolina has recorded more than 300 species of birds. Most faunal species occur statewide, but some are limited to either the Piedmont or the Coastal Plain since the Sandhills create a formidable barrier, especially to reptiles and amphibians.


Population composition
      Native peoples (Native American) inhabited what is now South Carolina for thousands of years before the area was settled by white Europeans in the late 17th century. Although their population declined rapidly after European contact, several thousand Native Americans still reside in the state. The Catawba and Pee Dee, although not the largest of South Carolina's Native American groups, have received both federal and state recognition; the more numerous Santee have received official acknowledgment from the state only. The Catawba constitute the sole Native American group in South Carolina to have a reservation, which is located in the north-central part of the state.

      People of white European ancestry account for roughly two-thirds of all residents of South Carolina. The state's colonial population was a mixture of European peoples. Although the first white settlers were from England and Barbados, the colony by the 1680s was receiving Scots and a number of Huguenots (Huguenot) escaping France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (Nantes, Edict of) (the law that had guaranteed religious freedom to followers of Protestantism (Protestant Heritage)). Some of the French later settled in the western part of the state near Abbeville. Germans moved into the midlands in the 1730s, concentrating along the Saluda River, and Welsh Baptists (Baptist) settled the Welsh Tract on the Pee Dee River. In the 1750s and '60s, Scotch-Irish settlers from Pennsylvania and Virginia spread into the South Carolina Piedmont. In the 19th century, however, few of the millions of European immigrants who flooded the United States settled in South Carolina.

      Five individuals of black African ancestry were among the 148 original colonists of South Carolina. With the expansion of cotton plantations during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, tens of thousands of Africans were imported to the young state as slaves. After the American Civil War (1861–65), freed slaves in certain areas were able to purchase the lands that they had worked, thereby anchoring their traditions and communities for generations. A large portion of the Sea Islands, for instance, remained in the hands of local African Americans well into the 20th century, and even in the early 21st century some black Sea Islanders still were able to speak Gullah, a patois derived from English and several West African languages that dates to the plantation era. In the late 19th century about three-fifths of South Carolina's total population was black, but heavy northward out-migration to largely urbanized states, especially during the Great Migration in the 20th century, reduced this proportion substantially. Since the late 20th century, African Americans have accounted for roughly three-tenths of South Carolina's population.

      A small but growing portion of the population consists of immigrants and their families. The Hispanic population is the most prominent of these groups, followed by people of Asian origin.

Settlement patterns
 South Carolina's agricultural belt dominates the inner Coastal Plain, while the outer Coastal Plain—extending about 70 miles (110 km) inland from the Atlantic coast—is largely forested. The coastal zone was abandoned as an agricultural area around the turn of the 20th century, but effective land management has allowed truck farming (the cultivation of produce to be trucked directly to the market) to prosper. As a focus of major tourism and recreation development since the mid-20th century, the Coastal Plain has been the site of intense land-use competition.

 Although South Carolina has remained more rural than most other states, its metropolitan areas have grown to accommodate more than half of the state's total population. Areas of high density are found in the upper Piedmont around Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson; in the midlands around Columbia and Florence; and along the coast, near Charleston, Hilton Head Island, and Myrtle Beach.

Demographic trends
      Throughout the first half of the 20th century, South Carolina's population grew much more slowly than that of the country as a whole as a result of out-migration of both black and white residents. However, by the 1970s this began to change, and South Carolina's growth rate since then typically has exceeded the national average. The state's population—like that of the entire country—is aging, but at a faster rate; this is attributable in part to increasing in-migration of retirees and out-migration of younger residents. The vast majority of South Carolina's residents were born in the state, but metropolitan areas, especially in the midlands and along the coast, have a higher percentage of residents born elsewhere. Since the late 20th century, South Carolina's Hispanic population has been among the fastest growing in the country, owing largely to expansive immigration from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. There also has been an increase in Asian immigration.

 During the first half of the 20th century, agriculture was the key to the state's economy, but by the early 1920s the value of manufactured goods had exceeded that of agricultural products. Although agriculture continues to be important, it has played a diminishing role as employment in the manufacturing and service sectors has increased. South Carolina's manufacturing activities historically have been typified by low-wage production of fabrics and other nondurable goods, but with shifts in the state's economy since the late 20th century, transportation equipment and other durable goods have become more significant. The state's service sector is propelled to a large degree by tourism.

Agriculture and forestry
      Since the mid-20th century the number of farms in South Carolina has declined dramatically, and land in farms has fallen from more than one-half to about one-fourth of the state's land area. Although cotton and cottonseed have remained among South Carolina's top field crops, cotton farms, once found almost across the state, are now limited to only a few counties in the inner Coastal Plain. Vast acreage is devoted to soybeans; introduced successfully into South Carolina in the 1940s, the crop has become a mainstay of the agricultural economy. Tobacco, for many years the state's leading crop, also remains central to the sector, despite a precipitous drop in production since the late 1990s. It is grown principally in the Pee Dee region of northeastern South Carolina. Also important are the products of greenhouses, nurseries, and floriculture. The state has long been famous for its peaches, grown in the upper Piedmont and in the midlands.

      Previously of limited value, livestock and poultry have come to play an increasingly prominent role in the agricultural economy, especially in the Piedmont. Broilers (young chickens), cattle, and calves are indeed among the most lucrative of the state's agricultural products. The coastal commercial seafood industry, which focuses on shrimp, crabs, and oysters, is also significant.

      With forests covering roughly two-thirds of the state, forestry is a major industry in South Carolina. Hardwoods (e.g., oak) are harvested primarily for lumber, and softwoods (e.g., pine) are harvested for paper production. Most reforestation programs, which generally have been successful, have emphasized the planting of pine.

Resources and power
      South Carolina's mining activities focus on construction materials, with crushed stone (granite and limestone), clay, sand, and gravel as the principal products of the industry. Gold mining, a 19th-century establishment, was revived to a limited degree in the late 20th century. However, after a relatively short boom, the reopened mines closed once again, leaving in their wake some serious damage to the environment.

 Since the mid-1970s, nuclear power has arisen as the leading source of energy in South Carolina. Several nuclear reactors together generate more than half of the state's electricity. Most of the remainder of South Carolina's power is drawn from coal-fired plants. Petroleum, natural gas, and hydroelectric and other renewable resources generate only a small portion of the state's energy.

      Although it has declined steadily since the late 20th century, manufacturing has remained a major sector of South Carolina's economy. In the early 1900s many textile mills began operation in the upper Piedmont and midlands, and by 1910 almost 150 mills employed 45,000 workers. For decades textile production was South Carolina's leading industry. By the early 21st century, however, global competition had forced the closure of many textile factories, and the production value of the industry had dropped significantly. Meanwhile, automobile production had risen sharply to become the state's leading manufacture, followed by chemicals, rubber and plastics, machinery, paper, and metal products. This shift of emphasis in the state's manufacturing sector resulted from the opening of many branch plants by companies based in the northern United States and in foreign countries; on a per capita basis South Carolina has been one of the leading recipients of foreign capital investment.

 South Carolina is crisscrossed by interstate highways that link it with every part of the country, but railway mileage has declined. The major rail companies have continued to abandon branch lines serving smaller towns, although a few of these are now operated as independent short lines. Major air carriers serve the metropolitan centres of Greenville-Spartanburg, Columbia, Charleston, and other sizeable cities, as well as some of the popular tourist destinations on the coast, while commuter airlines connect smaller cities with regional hubs. Most of the larger airports offer limited international service. The State Ports Authority (SPA) has developed Charleston into one of the major container ports on the South Atlantic coast; in 2004 the channels of the inner harbour were deepened to accommodate larger ships with heavier cargoes. The SPA also operates port facilities in Georgetown and Port Royal.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
 State government operates under the 1895 constitution, which has, however, since 1968 been rewritten article by article by the legislature, each amendment being submitted for voter approval. The governor, the state's chief executive, is elected to a four-year term, and an amendment in 1980 allowed reelection to a second consecutive term. The lieutenant governor, who is elected at the same time and in the same manner as the governor, serves as ex officio president of the Senate and succeeds the governor in the event of an uncompleted term. Other constitutional officers, all elected for four years with no limitation on consecutive terms, are secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, comptroller general, adjutant general, superintendent of education, and commissioner of agriculture. The governor, although able to veto bills and specific items in the budget, has much less authority over state government than does the legislative branch. The General Assembly, South Carolina's legislature, comprises two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Originally, each county had one senator and at least one representative, but the U.S. Supreme Court (Supreme Court of the United States) declared such apportionment unconstitutional. In 1974 the House of Representatives was divided into 124 single-member districts of equal population, and in 1984 the Senate was divided into 46 districts. Senators serve four-year terms, and representatives serve two-year terms.

      Judicial authority is vested in the Supreme Court, and all courts are unified under the administration of the chief justice. The Supreme Court comprises the chief justice and four associate justices. All are elected by the General Assembly for 10-year terms, which are staggered so that one justice is elected every two years. The Court of Appeals has a chief judge and no fewer than five associate judges, who sit in three-judge panels. It automatically hears all appeals from lower courts, except for cases involving death penalties, elections, constitutionality of laws, actions of state regulatory agencies, and bonded indebtedness, which go directly to the Supreme Court. The state is divided into 16 judicial circuits served by circuit courts, which have the widest jurisdiction. Within the circuit court system, the Court of Common Pleas hears civil cases, and the Court of General Sessions hears criminal cases.

      The 1895 constitution had no provision for local government, and the county legislative delegation, with approval of the General Assembly, decided most local matters. The Local Government Act of 1975 transferred some authority to local administration. The act identified the forms of government that could be adopted by the 46 counties and some 300 municipalities and defined their responsibilities, powers, and taxing authority.

      For more than a century, after the end of Reconstruction (1865–77), South Carolina politics was dominated by an all-white Democratic Party. However, as the national Democratic Party became increasingly associated with liberal stances on issues of race and ethnicity, the political landscape of South Carolina began to change. The 1960s brought two developments: the rise of the Republican Party, whose strength lay in the suburban metropolitan counties, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which allowed black participation in the electoral process and paved the way for the election of African Americans to local offices and the General Assembly. By the early 21st century, Republicans were predominant in congressional representation, the governor's office, the General Assembly, and many county councils in metropolitan areas.

Health and welfare
      County health departments provide basic health services from prenatal care to immunization, but South Carolina has continued to battle some severe health-care problems. The state has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country and increasingly suffers from a shortage of physicians, particularly in its rural areas. The metropolitan areas, however, have excellent hospital facilities and some of the most advanced medical technologies, enhanced in Charleston and Columbia by the medical colleges there.

      Underlying the health problem is poverty, and South Carolina, despite great economic strides, remains among the states with a high percentage of people living below the poverty line. Many of the state's poor live in the rural counties across the Coastal Plain, where doctors and facilities offering specialized medical treatment are not readily available.

      Public education was guaranteed under the 1868 Reconstruction-era constitution, which created the office of superintendent of public instruction (later called the state superintendent of education). The State Board of Education today certifies teachers, sets standards, and establishes courses of study for the public schools, which are grouped into some 100 local districts. Educational attainments have improved at all levels, but South Carolina has continued to struggle with low graduation rates. To improve the situation, the General Assembly has established minimum standards of educational achievement and has equalized funding for education across school districts. The Education Improvement Act, passed in 1984, increased state funding for education to improve instruction and to raise student performance. In 1999 South Carolina inaugurated the First Steps program to better prepare children for entering the first grade.

      The largest institution of higher education in the state is the University of South Carolina (South Carolina, University of) at Columbia, chartered as South Carolina College in 1801 and opened in 1805. Clemson University, a land-grant institution (land-grant college) established in 1889, has a major research and teaching focus on agriculture. Winthrop University (1886), located at Rock Hill and long known as South Carolina College for Women, is now coeducational. The Citadel (Citadel, The) (1842), one of the few state-supported military colleges, is located in Charleston, as is the Medical University of South Carolina. South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, a historically black university, was chartered originally in 1896. Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, the College of Charleston (Charleston, College of) is the oldest publicly supported institution in the United States; it officially became a part of the state college system in 1970. Throughout South Carolina are many private institutions, largely supported by Protestant denominations.

Cultural life

The arts
      South Carolina has been home to an array of noteworthy individuals and styles in the literary, visual, and performing arts. William Gilmore Simms (Simms, William Gilmore) was the most successful and prolific writer of the antebellum South. Julia Peterkin (1880–1961), one of the first to describe the plantation from an African American perspective, won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Archibald Rutledge (1883–1973) served for 39 years as the state's first poet laureate. DuBose Heyward (Heyward, DuBose) achieved his greatest success in 1925 with the novel Porgy, which provided the basis for the well-known opera Porgy and Bess (1935) by New York musician and composer George Gershwin (Gershwin, George). Later in the 20th century, the humorous short stories about local life written by William Price Fox received critical acclaim, and James Dickey (Dickey, James), a longtime resident of South Carolina, became one of the most widely read American poets.

      Portraiture was the dominant form of art in colonial and early 19th-century South Carolina; it was exemplified by the work of Henrietta Johnston (Johnston, Henrietta) and Charles Fraser (1782–1860). The latter was known for his miniature painting. Washington Allston (Allston, Washington), who worked in the early 1800s, is considered the first important American painter of the Romantic (Romanticism) movement. The artist William Henry Johnson (1901–70) received recognition for his paintings in the so-called primitive style. The sculptural work of Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (1876–1973) forms the core of the internationally known Brookgreen Gardens near Georgetown. The paintings of 20th-century artist Jasper Johns (Johns, Jasper), who was born and raised in South Carolina, have been exhibited at major museums throughout the world.

      South Carolinians also enjoy a vibrant music scene. The coastal areas were integral to the emergence of a style of rock and roll, locally known as “beach music,” that flourished in the 1960s; the music has remained popular—albeit in various incarnations—and continues to be viewed by many South Carolinians as a cultural emblem. Bluegrass music (bluegrass) has deep roots in and around the Blue Ridge, where a number of local establishments host regular, usually informal performances. South Carolinians, such as Dizzy Gillespie (Gillespie, Dizzy), also played a vital role in the development of jazz. Classical music has a strong following in the urban areas. The state has several professional symphony orchestras, most notably in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Florence, as well as many semiprofessional and amateur choral and instrumental ensembles.

Cultural institutions
       Charleston has been an important cultural centre of the South (South, the) since the colonial period. The Charleston Library Society, founded in 1748, is one of the oldest libraries in the United States, and its archives continue to expand. The St. Cecilia Society, formed in 1762, still holds regular public concerts. The Dock Street Theater, which has been open since 1736, was one of two theatres in Charleston during the colonial era and perhaps was the site of the first play produced in the United States. Scientific interests underlay the foundation of the Charleston Museum in 1773. Complementing these older institutions, the South Carolina Aquarium opened in Charleston in 2000 to promote wildlife conservation and research.

  Charleston also is noted for its splendid, well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century houses and public buildings, and Beaufort and Georgetown have well-maintained historic districts. Many other South Carolina cities similarly have preserved their older buildings, restored the architectural integrity of their downtown areas, and designated historic areas.

      Among South Carolina's notable art collections are those of the Gibbes Museum of Art (1905) in Charleston, emphasizing 18th- and 19th-century portraiture, and the South Carolina State Museum (1988) in Columbia, which houses the State Arts Commission's collection of contemporary South Carolina artists. The McKissick Museum (1976) of the University of South Carolina (South Carolina, University of) in Columbia has developed collections and exhibits of indigenous folk art, including Catawba pottery, early 19th-century Edgefield stoneware, and African American basketry.

Sports and recreation
      With no professional sports franchises in the state, collegiate athletics attract a large following. Gridiron football is particularly popular, with the University of South Carolina and Clemson University regularly fielding strong squads. Both teams have also had some success in basketball. The University of South Carolina is a member of the Southeastern Conference of collegiate sports. Clemson belongs to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Larry Doby (Doby, Larry), a native of Camden, was the second African American (following Jackie Robinson) to play in Major League Baseball. Other sports figures of national renown who hail from South Carolina include Joe Frazier (Frazier, Joe) (boxing), Althea Gibson (Gibson, Althea) (tennis), and Shoeless Joe Jackson (Jackson, Shoeless Joe) (baseball).

      South Carolina hosts many music and arts festivals. The most prominent of these is Charleston's Spoleto Festival, which was founded in 1977 by the Italian opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti as the New World branch of his Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. The annual event features hundreds of actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and other artists in more than 100 performances. A number of annual bluegrass music festivals are held across the state, particularly in the spring and summer months. Many small towns sponsor harvest-based and other local festivals.


Earliest settlement
      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 (Mississippian culture), 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 (Siouan languages) (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).

      The first Europeans to visit South Carolina, in 1521, were Spanish explorers from Santo Domingo ( Hispaniola). In 1526 Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón (Ayllón, Lucas Vázquez de) founded what is believed to have been the first white European settlement in South Carolina, but this Spanish colony failed within a few months. French Protestants under Jean Ribaut (Ribaut, Jean) made an unsuccessful attempt to occupy the area of Port Royal (one of the Sea Islands) in 1562. A few years later, in 1566, the Spanish returned and established Santa Elena on nearby Parris Island. It was an important Spanish base until 1587.

      In 1665 Edward Hyde, 1st earl of Clarendon (Clarendon, Edward Hyde, 1st earl of, Viscount Cornbury), and seven other members of the British nobility received a charter from King Charles II to establish the colony of Carolina (named for the king) in a vast territory between latitudes 29° and 36°30′ N and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. These eight grantees were known as the lords proprietor of Carolina, and they were free to dispose of the land as they pleased. Following the initiative of the lords proprietor (or their deputies), the English made the first permanent settlement in the region, on the west bank of the Ashley River at Albemarle Point, in 1670. A decade later, the government and most inhabitants moved to a more favourable location on the nearby peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper rivers, the site of Charleston today. The colony grew slowly and by 1720 had a population of about 19,000, settled almost exclusively along the coast. Trade with the native peoples and the export of deerskins constituted the major sources of income, complemented by naval stores (turpentine, tar, and other pine products) after 1710. Conflicts with the lords proprietor over economic support, trade with local peoples, and the authority of the Commons House (the colony's representative assembly) resulted in the overthrow of proprietary rule and the conversion of Carolina to a royal colony in 1719.

      In 1729 the colony was divided into two provinces, North and South; Georgia was carved out of the southern part of the original grant in 1731. Under crown rule, South Carolina prospered, and exports of rice and indigo contributed to its growing wealth. Based on this successful trade, Charleston entered a golden age; it soon was perceived locally as city of refinement and cultural attainment. A flood of Scotch-Irish settlers overland from Pennsylvania caused a population explosion in the inland areas after 1760, and subsequent demands for political representation resulted in a conflict between the plantation owners of the Low Country (coast) and the small farmers of the Up Country (interior) that continued into the 19th century. British troops occupied Charleston during the American Revolution, which, in South Carolina, was largely fought as a civil war between the patriots, who demanded freedom from Great Britain, and the loyalists (loyalist), who supported the crown. Two major American victories were the battles at Kings Mountain (Kings Mountain, Battle of) (1780) and Cowpens (Cowpens, Battle of) (1781).

Statehood, Civil War, and aftermath
 The British officially recognized the United States in 1783, and in 1788 South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution (Constitution of the United States of America). The relocation of the state capital in 1786 from Charleston to the newly created city of Columbia in the interior was intended to reduce regional conflict, but the state constitution of 1790 perpetuated Low Country dominance of the government. After the proliferation of the cotton gin at the end of the 18th century, cotton plantations—and slavery—moved into the Piedmont and created common interests between the two regions. The Up Country also benefited from internal improvements that included a canal-building program.

   Former slave Denmark Vesey (Vesey, Denmark) led a revolt in 1822 that contributed to a climate of anxiety in South Carolina over the slavery issue, and the high federal tariffs of 1828 precipitated talk of separation from the United States. South Carolina proposed a convention in 1832 to nullify tariff laws, but no other state in the South (South, the) supported it. Sen. John C. Calhoun (Calhoun, John C), the architect of nullification, was the major spokesman for the South until his death in 1850. Radicals (radical) such as Robert Barnwell Rhett finally led South Carolina to secede from the Union in December 1860. Following suit, 10 other Southern states joined South Carolina to form the Confederate States of America (Confederacy). Firing on Fort Sumter (in Charleston) in April 1861 ignited the American Civil War. Four years later, after Gen. William T. Sherman's (Sherman, William Tecumseh) troops had burned their way through the state, the Confederacy surrendered. Some 60,000 South Carolinians had gone to war; nearly one-fourth of them never returned.

   Reconstruction (1865–77) was a bitter era, marked by military occupation, disenfranchisement of various segments of the population, and corruption. South Carolina's constitution of 1868 committed the state to public education and also established basic political equality. However, intimidation of the black population and fraud facilitated the election of Wade Hampton (Hampton, Wade), a staunch believer in white superiority, as governor in 1876. Hampton took office after Reconstruction ended in 1877, inaugurating in South Carolina the so-called “Bourbon era,” a period of Democratic (Democratic Party) leadership by the “old guard” planters and merchants of the South.

      The conflict between Up Country and Low Country became a struggle between the poor and the propertied. In 1890 the Up Country voted an ardent spokesman for the poor, rural, white population, Benjamin R. Tillman (Tillman, Benjamin R(yan)), into the governorship, thus ending the Bourbon era in South Carolina. A leader of the farmers' movement and blatantly prejudiced against African Americans, “Pitchfork Ben” held office until 1894 and served in the U.S. Senate (Senate) from 1895 to 1918. The farmers'—or, more broadly, agrarian reform—movement was marked by the establishment of Clemson Agricultural College (later Clemson University) and Winthrop Training School for Teachers (later Winthrop University), by the control of liquor through a state dispensary system (later abandoned because of corruption), and by the 1895 constitutional convention that disenfranchised African Americans as much as possible. “Tillmanism” remained a major political force into the 20th century.

Early 20th-century challenges
      After World War I (1914–18), cotton prices collapsed, and the boll weevil (a destructive insect) destroyed up to half the cotton crop in 1922. This disaster, which caused a wave of out-migration, was followed after 1929 by the Great Depression. In the 1930s the state benefited from many of the federal government's New Deal economic relief programs; one such program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the construction of the Santee-Cooper hydroelectric complex.

South Carolina since c. 1950
      South Carolina underwent economic, demographic, social, and political revolutions after World War II. Between 1950 and 1980, nonagricultural employment grew exponentially as the State Development Board, created in 1945, actively promoted industry. Income per capita, which had consistently lagged far behind that of the rest of the country, increased dramatically, and by the 1980s it was approaching the national average. This economic revolution was paralleled by a demographic revolution. The urban population grew many times faster than the rural population. Additionally, after 1975 new economic opportunities reversed migration patterns: more people, both black and white, moved into South Carolina than left it.

 The social revolution that ended racial segregation included some tragic events, such as the Orangeburg Massacre (1968), in which three African American students died in a confrontation with state police on the South Carolina State College campus after attempting to integrate a bowling alley. Moderate governors, such as Ernest F. (“Fritz”) Hollings (1959–63), Donald S. Russell (1963–65), Robert E. McNair (1965–71), and John C. West (1971–75), led South Carolina through this difficult but generally peaceful era. The concurrent political revolution involved both the rise of the Republican Party and the increased participation of African Americans, who by 1970 accounted for about one-fourth of the state's registered voters. Strom Thurmond (Thurmond, Strom), first elected to public office in 1946, successfully navigated the shifting currents of the electorate. He was the presidential nominee of the segregationist Dixiecrats (Dixiecrat) (States' Rights Democratic Party) in 1948 and became a conservative Republican in 1964. Thurmond served in the U.S. Senate from 1954 until his death in 2003 with wide support, becoming a nationally recognized spokesman for Southern conservatives.

      South Carolina's achievements during the 20th century brought new challenges for the 21st. Sustainable economic growth called for further diversification of the industrial base, coupled with increased protection of the environment. While health services, educational programs, and employment opportunities—especially in rural counties—remained perennial concerns, uncontrolled urban sprawl also emerged as a pressing issue.

Donald O. Bushman John J. Winberry

Additional Reading
J. Wright Horton and Victor A. Zullo (eds.), The Geology of the Carolinas (1991), provides a detailed review of the geologic foundation of the state, while Charles F. Kovacik and John J. Winberry, South Carolina: A Geography (1987), discusses historical and economic geography. Writers' Program, South Carolina: The WPA Guide to the Palmetto State, reprinted ed. with new introduction by Walter B. Edgar (1992; originally published as South Carolina: A Guide to the Palmetto State, 1941), still provides useful general information. DeLorme Mapping Company, South Carolina Atlas & Gazetteer, 3rd ed. (2006), contains topographic maps of the state. Jack Bass, Porgy Comes Home: South Carolina…After 300 Years (1972), examines the social and economic revolutions of the 1960s. Pat Conroy, The Water Is Wide (1972, reissued 2002), depicts the changing society in the Sea Islands. Articles on South Carolina's geography, people, history, and traditions may be found in the magazine Sandlapper (quarterly).David Duncan Wallace, The History of South Carolina, 4 vol. (1934), remains a classic history of the state. More recent, but also thorough, is Walter B. Edgar, South Carolina: A History (1998). Louis B. Wright, South Carolina: A Bicentennial History (1976), is valuable as well. Specific eras are addressed in Robert M. Weir, Colonial South Carolina: A History (1983, reissued 1997); Alfred Glaze Smith, Economic Readjustment of an Old Cotton State: South Carolina, 1820–1860 (1958); John Barnwell, Love of Order: South Carolina's First Secession Crisis (1982); and Ernest McPherson Lander, A History of South Carolina, 1865–1960, 2nd ed. (1970). Cole Blease Graham, Jr., and William V. Moore, South Carolina Politics and Government (1994), discusses the institutions of state and local government. Ongoing historical research is printed in South Carolina Historical Magazine (quarterly).John J. Winberry

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