10 facts about south carolina
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10 facts about south carolina
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In prehistory, many Native American peoples lived in South Carolina. Starting about 900 years ago the Mississippian culture, also called Mound Builders, flourished in this region. The Mississippians built great temple mounds, and some can still be seen today. Major nations in the state in 1600 were the Cherokee, of the Iroquoian language stock; the Catawba, speaking a Siouan language; and the Yamasee, speaking a Muskogean language. In 1715 the Yamasee led other peoples in the Yamasee War (1715-1716) against the English settlers. The Yamasee were defeated and driven out of South Carolina. The Cherokee began warring against the settlers about 1760 and sided with the British in the American Revolution (1775-1783). All but a few Cherokee left the state after the revolution.
Cited: MSE 2000
Got|Apex Senior Experienced Poster
It's South of North Carolina.
It's warmer than North Carolina
The proud blue banner carried by the valiant men of the regiment led by Lt. Col. Francis Marion during the Battle of Savannah is one of the various Revolutionary War objects on exhibit at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia.
The movie “The Patriot” captures the spirit, the violence and the beautiful scenery that were part of the War for Independence in South Carolina, but sometimes it plays a little loose with the facts. At the museum, visitors can learn more about the real story of the Palmetto State’s role in the rebellion that shook the world.
The flag was presented to the 2nd South Carolina Regiment in 1776 after its heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan’s Island that was later renamed “Fort Moultrie.” A two-thirds-size reproduction of part of that fort is on exhibit with an examination of how images from the battle have become symbols of South Carolina.
Marion led his troops in an equally heroic – but less successful – battle at Savannah in October 1779. The flag was captured by British troops and remained in the family of the commander until 1989 when it was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and the State Museum.
In May 1780, after a 42-day siege, British forces captured Charleston. Marion was outside the city recovering from a broken ankle and never took the oath of allegiance to the Crown. When he recovered, he put together a band of militia soldiers – they would be called “guerrillas” today – and began one of the more interesting chapters of the war.
“Although he was one of the more renowned Revolutionary War leaders, he is somewhat shrouded in mystery,” says Dr. Fritz Hamer, the museum’s chief curator of history. “We have some knowledge of his exploits, and he played a pivotal role in forcing the British out of South Carolina and indirectly ending British rule in the nation.”
Marion, who became known as the “Swamp Fox,” led his troops in attacks on convoys and generally made life miserable for the occupying forces. They lived off the land with the support of sympathetic Americans, Hamer says. After attacking the British, Marion’s men melted into the swamps from Berkeley and Clarendon counties to Florence and Dillon counties. “The enemy could have easily crushed him if they could have found him,” Hamer says. However, the British and the Tories, their American supporters, knew little about the swamps of the Pee Dee.
The museum is exhibiting a silver spoon bearing the initials “FM” that is believed to have belonged to Marion. Also on exhibit is a miniature portrait that was passed down through the generations of the Marion family as an image of the Revolutionary War leader. Close examination of the dress and age of the sitter indicate it is probably a picture of his nephew and adopted son, Francis Marion Dwight, Hamer says. Both objects, as well as a glass decanter, are on loan from descendants of the Marion family.
Weapons made in the 1770s of the kind that were used by both sides also are on exhibit. Above them is a mural of Gen. Nathanael Greene leading his troops through the snow, a representation of the hardships endured by colonial troops in winter, 1780-81.
One of the benefits of “The Patriot” is that it may result in a greater appreciation of the role South Carolina played in the American Revolution, Hamer says. More battles were fought here than in any other state.
The British had been told there were many Loyalists in the colony and anticipated it would be relatively easy to subdue the rebels once Charleston fell. Initially that was true, Hamer says, but the British wasted a lot of resources trying to hold the colony.
They overestimated the number of Tories and managed to offend many South Carolinians who were inclined to remain loyal to the Crown. There were British atrocities, Hamer says, but the Americans could be just as vicious. Gen. Thomas Sumter was regarded as a hot head, even by people like Marion, he says. Because the Tories felt the British didn’t protect them or properly punish the rebels who harassed them, the Crown lost support in South Carolina.
Hamer says he can understand why modern-day Englishmen are upset about “The Patriot’s” depiction of their predecessors. However, “I’m glad that it puts the Revolution into the public eye after all the time we’ve put in on the Civil War.”
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, however. 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 were withdrawn in 1877, white conservatives led by Governor Wade Hampton were able to take control of state government once again. The economy continued to suffer in the years that followed, however. 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 has 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 three black protesters were shot by state police. 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 draws to a close, all of South Carolina's citizens are able to participate in the state's government and economy.