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Facts About South Carolina

Exclusive Facts About the History of South Carolina

Known as the Palmetto state, and the place where the American Civil War broke out in 1861, South Carolina has so much history. Let's get to know more facts about this state.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
Previously known only as Carolina, South Carolina is a state that is situated in the deep southern part of the United States, and one of the original 13 colonies that formed the country. The name of the state comes from the English ruler, King Charles II, since the Latin term for Charles is Carolus. Given below are some more interesting facts on South Carolina.

Interesting Information on South Carolina

English settlers, who arrived mainly from Barbados, were the ones who settled in the colony of Carolina in 1670. Later, the French Huguenots followed them. Most of the immigrants, however, were African slaves during the colonial period who made up most of the population of the colony all through this period.

South Carolina, which split from North Carolina officially in 1729, was the hub of military action during both the Revolution as well as the Civil War. It was in the year 1776 that South Carolina formed its own government, declaring its independence from Great Britain. This was also the first state that ratified the first constitution of the US, the Articles of Confederation. After President Lincoln was elected, South Carolina was the first to secede from the Union. This led to Gov. Francis W. Pickens demanding all the federal property in the state, which included Fort Sumter, located in Charleston Harbor, occupied by Union men.

The Civil War began in 1861 by the Confederate troops of South Carolina firing on Fort Sumter. The troops took part in all the major campaigns of the Confederation, although the inland area was generally free of major battles. It was in the early part of 1865 that General William T. Sherman, marching across the state, destroyed many plantations, along with capturing Columbia, the capital, on 17th February. Following his infamous 'scorched earth' policy, the city was burnt down during the night destroying a large portion of the central city by morning. This resulted in undermining the ability of the Confederate armies to carry on fighting, and subsequently General Sherman accepted their surrender in the Carolinas, Florida, and Georgia, in 1865.

After the war ended, a period known as 'presidential reconstruction' took place from 1865 to 1866; wherein the former slaves, called 'Freedmen', were granted limited rights. This was followed by a period known as Radical Reconstruction, from 1867 to 1877, wherein the Freedmen formed a Republican coalition, made up of Scalawags and Carpetbaggers, which were supported by the armed forces of the Union. The Reconstruction ended in 1877, with the Union soldiers withdrawing, complying with the compromise. The control was then taken over by Bourbon Democrats, who were pro-business, and the so-called 'Redeemers' made up of conservative whites.

South Carolina then became a breeding ground for economic and racial tensions in the 1890s, during the Agrarian and Populist movements. This resulted in the disenfranchisement of the Blacks in 1890, and the politics of the state came under the control of 'Pitchfork Ben Tillman', who had his base amongst poorer section of the white farmers. By the 20th century, several large textile mills were set up in South Carolina, the employment of which has dropped considerably in recent times. The agricultural base of cotton also changed to incorporate crops that were more profitable. Charleston has become a production hub of apparel, machinery, chemicals, steel products, wood, and asbestos. The state also has a number of large sized military bases, and lately has attracted many European manufacturers.

Some of the interesting sights in South Carolina are: the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier based in Charleston Harbor, Fort Johnson, Fort Moultrie, and the Fort Sumter National Monument; the Cypress, Magnolia, and Middleton Gardens located in Charleston; the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, located in Columbia; the Hilton Head resorts; and the Cowpens National Battlefield Park.