Size (Land Area): 30,060.70 sq mi. (77,856.8556 sq km)
State abbreviation/Postal Code: S.C./SC
Entered Union (Rank): May 23, 1788 (8)
Present Constitution Adopted: 1895
Mottoes: Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources) and Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope)
Nickname: Palmetto State
Origin of Name: In honor of Charles I of England
- Flower: Carolina Yellow Jessamine (1924)
- Tree: Palmetto Tree (1939)
- Bird: Carolina Wren (1948)
- Song: “Carolina” (1911) Written by Henry Timrod, Composed by Anne Custis Burgess
10 Largest Cities:
- Columbia, 117,357
- Charleston, 101,024
- North Charleston, 81,577
- Rock Hill, 56,114
- Greenville, 55,926
- Mount Pleasant, 54,788
- Sumter, 39,790
- Spartanburg, 38,718
- Hilton Head Island, 34,407
- Summerville, 31,734
Points of interest:
- Historic Charleston - Charleston
- Myrtle Beach - Myrtle Beach
- Edisto Island - Edisto
- Beaufort - Beaufort
- Columbia - Columbia
- Fort Sumter National Monument - Charleston Harbor
- Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden - Columbia
- USS Yorktown - Mount Pleasant
- Kings Mountain State Park - Blacksburg
- Table Rock State Park - Pickens
- Ripley's Aquarium - Myrtle Beach
- Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - Charleston
- Darlington Raceway - Darlington
- Drayton Hall - Charleston
- Hollywild Animal Park - Wellford
- Waterfront Park - Charleston
History in Brief
The land of South Carolina did not spring into existence with the arrival of European explorers. Early inhabitants of what is now the state of South Carolina included the Yamasee, the Catawba and the Cherokee.
While many people only consider the history of English explorers and settlers, French explorer Jean Ribault founded Charlesfort in 1562 and Spaniards established the colony of Santa Elena in 1566, both on what is now known as Parris Island. Neither colony lasted.
The following century, in England, King Charles II gave the area known as Carolina (in his honor) to the eight (8) Lord Proprietors who succeeded in establishing the first permanent European settlement, Charlestowne, in 1670 at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River. Charlestowne later moved across the river to a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, where it exists as Charleston to this day.
South Carolinians have never taken well to authority at a distance. They were leaders in the resistance leading up to the Revolutionary war. Many skirmishes and battles were fought on South Carolina's soil. The first decisive victory of the Revolution came at the hands of soldiers guarding the entrance to Charleston harbor at Fort Moultrie. Military historians say the battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens were the turning point which led to the US victory in the war. On May 23, 1788, South Carolina ratified the constitution, becoming the 8th state of a new nation.
However, on December 20, 1860, South Carolina was the first state to attempt to leave the young nation when they passed the Ordinance of Secession in Charleston. Just four months later, the War Between the States began when shots were fired at Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861. The state survived the Civil War with some areas receiving more damage than others.
Like most of the south, South Carolina took a major hit to its economy and required years to recover. By the turn of the 20th century, that recovery was finally under way, with textiles leading the way.
Today, industries range from low to high tech. Transportation has a high profile with the production of tires, luxury automobiles and commercial jets. For many years, tourism has played a large part in the economy as people have discovered the beautiful beaches and stately mountains that bookend the state.