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South Carolina, US (Population: 4,321,249)

State Capitol: Columbia

Major Cities: Charleston, North Charleston, Greenville, Rock Hill, Mount Pleasant, Spartanburg, Sumter, Hilton Head

State Nickname/Motto: Palmetto State – Animis Opibusque Parati/Dum Spiro Spero: Prepared in Mind and Resources/While I Breath, I Hope

Statehood Granted: May 23, 1788

History: South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States on December 20, 1860. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling Fort Sumter and the American Civil War began. Charleston was effectively blockaded and the Union Navy seized the Sea Islands, driving off the plantation owners and setting up an experiment in freedom for the ex-slaves. South Carolina troops participated in the major Confederate campaigns, but no major battles were fought inland. General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through the state in early 1865, destroying numerous plantations. The state capital Columbia was abandoned by the Confederates and released prisoners and slaves set the downtown afire. After the Civil War, South Carolina was reincorporated into the United States during Reconstruction. Under presidential Reconstruction (1865-66) Freedmen were given limited rights. Under Radical reconstruction (1867-1877), a Republican coalition of Freedmen, “Carpetbaggers” and “Scalawags” were in control, supported by Union army forces. The withdrawal of Union soldiers as part of the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction and brought an era where conservative white pro-business Bourbon Democrats were in control. The state became a hotbed of racial and economic tensions during the Populist and Agrarian movements of the 1890s.

Geography: Highest point: Sassafras Mountain 3,560 feet. South Carolina is composed of four geographic areas, whose boundaries roughly parallel the northeast/southwest Atlantic coastline. The lower part of the state is the Coastal Plain, also known as the Lowcountry, which is nearly flat and composed entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy. The coastline contains many salt marshes and estuaries, as well as natural ports such as Georgetown and Charleston. An unusual feature of the coastal plain is a large number of Carolina bays, the origins of which are uncertain, though one prominent theory suggests that they were created by a meteor shower. The bays tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.9%), White (67.4%), Black or African American (28.5%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.3%), Asian (1.1%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race (1.5%), Two or more races (1.1%), Hispanic or Latino (3.3%)*

Famous State People:

  • Mark Clark (1896 - 1984) U.S. Army general that led Allied troops during World War II; president of the Citadel; lived in Charleston.
  • Dizzy Gillespie (1917 - 1993) Trumpet player who developed the bebop jazz style during the 1940s; born in Cheraw.
  • Jesse Jackson(1941 - ) Civil rights leader; born in Greenville.
  • Joe Frazier (1944 - ) 1964 Olympic heavyweight champion. He was heavyweight champion from 1970-1973; born in Beaufort.
  • Andrew Jackson (1767 - 1845) The 7th U.S. president; born in the Waxhaws area.
  • Vanna White (1957 - ) Famous for turning letters on television’s Wheel of Fortune; born in Conway.
  • Chubby Checker (1941 - ) - Best known for his song "The Twist"; born in Spring Gulley.
  • Robert Mills (1781 - 1855) Designer of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.; born in Charleston.
  • Julia Peterkin (1880 - 1961) Novelist. She was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Scarlet Sister Mary in 1929.
  • James F. Byrnes (1879 - 1972) Senator, Secretary of State, Governor; born in Charleston.
  • Francis Marion (1721 - 1795) Known as the “Swamp Fox” for his strategy of fighting the British during the Revolutionary War; born in Winyah.
  • Althea Gibson (1927 - ) First African American woman to win Wimbledon and U.S. National tennis championships; born in Silver.
  • Alex English (1954 - ) - The NBA's most prolific scorer during the 1980's; born in Columbia.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Clemson University, Wofford College, University of South Carolina, Citadel, Presbyterian College, Furman College, Coastal Carolina College, College of Charleston, Winthrop College, North Greenville University, Lander University, South Carolina State

    State and National Parks: Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, Congaree National Park, Cowpens National Battlefield, Fort Moultrie National Monument, Fort Sumter National Monument, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ninety Six National Historic Site, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Table Rock State Park, Caesar’s Head State Park

    Misc: Water sports are an extremely popular activity in South Carolina. With a large coast line, South Carolina has many different beach activities such as surfing, boogie boarding, deep sea fishing, and shrimping. The Pee Dee region of the state offers exceptional fishing. Some of the largest catfish ever caught were caught in the Santee Lakes. The Upstate of South Carolina also offers outstanding water activities. The Midlands region also offers water-based recreation revolving around Lakes Marion and Murray and such rivers as the Congaree, Saluda, Broad, and Edisto.

    *U.S. Census - 2005