South Carolina Trails to the Past

  South Carolina
The Palmetto State



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The "Palmetto State" is bordered by North Carolina and Georgia. It has several distinct areas. The Lowcountry is along the coast. Further inland is the Sandhills. Next inland is the Piedmont. And in the northwestern portion of the state is the Blue Ridge region.

The Low country contains many coastal salt marshes and estuaries, as well as some natural ports and Carolina bays. Because much of the land is covered with recent sediments, these low flat areas with better drainage make excellent farm lands.

The Sandhills, also known as Midlands, are thought to have been formed from coastal dunes when oceans were higher or the land was lower.

The Piedmont, also known as the Upstate, contain the eroded roots of an ancient mountain chain. Much of the land is hilly and unsuitable for farming. Although early in colonization farming was unsuccessfully tried, the area has been reforested. At the southeastern edge of the Piedmont is the fall line, where the rivers drop to the coastal plain. This resource has been harnessed for water power and has encouraged growth in several major cities. Larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing for trade routes.

The Blue Ridge Region is the southeastern-most portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains which run through North Carolina and Georgia. Caesars Head State Park and Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest peak, are located here.

The Carolina Colony was settled mostly by settlers from Barbados sent by the Lords Proprietors in 1670. They were followed by French Huguenots. Fearing the settlement of the Spanish and French, they were the first to offer religious freedom to settlers, encouraging Baptists, Quakers, Huguenots and Presbyterians. They also welcomed Jews, who were viewed as reliable citizens and fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

Between 1670 and 1717, Carolina's economy was largely based upon the slave trade. Members of Native American tribes from south of Tennessee and east of the Mississippi were sold as slaves. It is estimated that as many as 51,000 Native Americans were exported during this time through Carolina. Oppressed by the slave trade, many of the tribes formed an alliance and attacked settlers between 1715 and 1717. This was referred to as the Yamasee War. Because of the casualty rate of the Yamasee War, the Carolina Colony's existence was threatened. The colonists became dissatisfied with the Lords Proprietor who governed and Carolina was split. South Carolina became a royal colony in 1719. After the Yamasee War, South Carolinians exclusively used Africans as slaves for their rice and indigo crops.

On 15 Mar 1776, South Carolina was the first colony to set up it's own government and declare independence from Great Britain. On 5 Feb 1778, South Carolina was the first to ratify the Articles of Confederation. In 1780, however, South Carolina Loyalists helped the British recapture South Carolina. Two major battles fought in South Carolina also helped turn the tide of the war late in 1780 and early 1781. South Carolina was the 8th state to ratify the current US Constitution on 23 May 1788.

On 20 Dec 1860, South Carolina became the first to secede from the Union. The Civil War began 12 Apr 1861 when Federal troops attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Many South Carolinians fought in the war, however there were no major battles fought on South Carolina soil. Sherman did, however, march through South Carolina and destroyed Columbia on 17 Feb 1865.


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