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South Carolina: Interesting Facts

South Carolina, constituent state of the United States of America, one of the 13 original colonies. It lies on the southern Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Shaped like an inverted triangle with an east-west base of 285 miles (459 km) and a north-south extent of about 225 miles (360 km), the state is bounded on the north by North Carolina, on the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the southwest by Georgia. Columbia, located in the centre of the state, is the capital and largest city.

Great Seal of South Carolina

On March 26, 1776, the Provincial Congress of South Carolina set up an independent government, electing John Rutledge, President. On April 2, 1776, the President and Privy Council were authorized by Resolution of the General Assembly "to design and cause to be made a Great Seal of South Carolina."  The principal designers were William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton.

President Rutledge used the Seal for the first time on May 22, 1777. The current seal is made up of two elliptical areas, linked by branches of the palmetto tree. The left oval is the palmetto tree with a fallen oak at the base. The right oval is the goddess Spes (Hope) walking on the beach at dawn over discarded weapons. The State’s two mottos surround the two ovals. On the left is "Animis Opibusque Parati", meaning Prepared in Mind and Resources. On the right, "Dum Spiro Spero", meaning While I Breathe I Hope.

State Flag of South Carolina

The first official flag of South Carolina was adopted in January 28, 1861, after the state seceded from the Union and before it joined the Confederacy and is the current version. 

This version added the Palmetto tree to the original design by Colonel William Moultrie in 1775 for use by South Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War. Colonel Moultrie chose a blue color which matched the color of their uniforms and a crescent which reproduced the silver emblem worn on the front of their caps.

The Palmetto tree symbolized Colonel Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.

Other flags were used in the period between the American Revolution and the American Civil War, but this design was revived and has been used officially since South Carolina rejoined the Union.

For more official details about South Carolina Symbols and Emblems: South Carolina Symbols and Emblems Explained (and "other cool stuff")

The State Name
Carolina colony was established by British and it was split in 1729 into North and South Carolina as it was deemed to big to govern effectively. Carolina is named after King Charles I of England. Charles II of England granted a charter to start a colony and named it in honor of his father, Charles I.  Carolina is rooted in Latin and comes from the word Caroliinus. This word is derived from the name Carolus, translated as "Charles."    (See more details below under "Colonization".)       See also South Carolina History at

More State Facts

Nickname: Palmetto State   (see state Tree below)

Mottos [both on the state seal]:
             "Animis Opibusque Parati" -  "Prepared in mind and resources"  
             "Dum Spireo Spero"            -  "While I breathe, I hope"

Capitol: Columbia

Population of state: over 4.3 million  (26th in US)

Area: 32,007 square miles (40th in US in size)

Highest Point: Sassafras Mountain - 3,560 feet

Date of Entry into the union:  5/23/1788 (8th signer of the U.S. Constitution)

Tree: Sabal Palmetto ("Carolina Palmetto" or "Cabbage Palmetto") - The palmetto tree symbolized Colonel Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776. (See more details about the flag in the above section, "State Flag of South Caronlina".)

Waltz: The Richardson Waltz  [Video]

South Carolina has TWO offical state songs: "Carolina" (1911) [lyrics and audio] and "Carolina on My Mind" (1984) [lyrics and audio], see also videos ...

State Song (anthem): "Carolina" [Video with lyrics in notes] :        

State Song (one of): "South Carolina on my Mind" [Video]  [Video with scrolling lyrics]:


Dance: The shag

Folk Dance: The square dance

State Music: the Spiritual

Bird: Carolina Wren

Dog: Boykin spaniel

Fish: Striped bass

Game Bird : Wild Turkey

Flower: Yellow Jessamine

Hospitality Beverage: Tea - South Carolina was the first state to grow tea in the United States. (Served hot or especially cold as Iced or "Sweet" Tea)

Fruit: Peach

Gemstone: Amethyst

Stone: Blue granite

Some Early History


The Spanish were the first Europeans in the area, in 1521, founding San Miguel de Gualdape, the first European settlement in what is now mainland USA five years later. (They found a land inhabited by many small tribes of Native Americans, the largest of which were the Cherokees and the Catawbas.)  Established with 500 settlers, it was abandoned within a year by 150 survivors. In 1562 French settlers established a settlement at what is now the Charlesfort-Santa Elena archaeological site on Parris Island but abandoned after a fire destroyed their supplies. Three years later the Spanish built a fort on the same site, but withdrew following hostilities with the English navy.Province of Carolina -- Carolina Colony

In 1629, King Charles I of England established the Province of Carolina (see map at right) an area covering what is now South and North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. In the 1670s, English planters from the Barbados established themselves near what is now Charleston.

Settlers built rice plantations in the South Carolina Lowcountry, east of the Atlantic Seaboard fall line. Settlers came from all over Europe. Plantation labor was done by African slaves who formed the majority of the population by 1720.  Another cash crop was the Indigo plant, a plant source of blue dye, developed by Eliza Lucas.

Meanwhile, in Upstate South Carolina, west of the Fall Line, was settled by small farmers and traders, who displaced Native American tribes westward. Colonists overthrew the proprietors' (absentee English landowners) rule, seeing more direct representation. In 1719, the colony was officially made a crown colony. In 1729 North Carolina was split off into a separate colony.

Southern Carolina prospered from the fertility of the Low Country and the harbors, such as that at Charleston. It allowed religious toleration, encouraging Settlements spread, and trade in deerskin, lumber, and beef thrived. Rice cultivation was developed on a large scale.

By the second half of the 1700s South Carolina was one of the richest of what were about to become the Thirteen Colonies.   -Wikipedia

Revolutionary War

During the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), about a third of combat action took place in South Carolina, more than in any other state. Inhabitants of the state endured being invaded by English forces and an ongoing civil war between loyalists and partisans that devastated the backcountry.   -Wikipedia

May 23, 1788 – South Carolina became the 8th signer of the U.S. Constitution.

See also:  South Carolina History at,  Carolina Department of History and Archives

Some South Carolina FIrsts in America:


European settlement – 1526

Slave revolt – November 1526

American-built ship to cross the Atlantic – 1563

Public library – November 16, 1700

Opera performed – February 18, 1735 - Flora (or Hob in the Well), a ballad opera by Colley Cibber

Musical Society – 1762

Business publication – July 30, 1774

Chamber of Commerce – December 9, 177 – Oldest municipal Chamber of Commerce in continuous operation –  the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Golf club – September 29, 1786 – formed by Scottish merchants.

Regularly scheduled rail passenger service – December 25, 1830

Patent for a mechanical refrigerator – May 6, 1851

Railroad junction – 1838

Commercial tea farm – 1890

First totally electric textile plant – 1893

Textile school established in a college – 1899


Some Quick Facts:

Patriot forces scored two major victories in the Revolutionary War at Cowpens and Kings Mountain in western South Carolina.

South Carolina was the first state to secede (break away) from the United States in the American Civil War.

The first shots of the American Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in 1861.  
               See Fort Sumpter (includes videos)
               and Shermans' March: Final Revenge (includes historic downtown Columbia self-guided tour / map)

Over 14 million people visit Myrtle Beach every year. (Myrtle Beach was named after the trees native to the local area.) 

Myrtle Beach is considered to be one of the most popular tourist resorts in the U.S. because of the warm sunny climate (in access of 2800 hours per year) and the beautiful widespread beaches.

Johnston, South Carolina is known as the Peach Capital of the World. In fact, South Carolina is the nation’s leading producer of peaches east of the Mississippi River.  [video]      See video: SC Peach History & Field Day - Everything about Peaches by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension and also see their peach resource page (for consumers and growers): About Peaches

President from South Carolina: Andrew Jackson.

In the late 1920s, the South Carolina Natural Resources Commission began a public relations campaign to advertise the high iodine levels found in fruits and vegetables grown in the state. The campaign placed the motto “Iodine” on South Carolina automobile license plates in 1930, then expanded the phrase in subsequent years to “The Iodine State” and “The Iodine Products State.”  Despite the promotional gimmicks, South Carolina agriculture saw little benefit from the iodine campaign. With the advent of iodized salt in the 1940s, Americans had a convenient dietary supplement and demand for foods high in iodine content declined.  -"The IodineState"

10 Largest Cities (in order of size): Columbia, Charleston, North Charleston, Rock Hill, Mount Pleasant, Greenville, Sumter, Spartanburg, Summerville, Hilton Head Island

Attractions: Cowpens Battlefield, Brookgreen Gardens, Cypress Gardens, Middleton Gardens, Fort Sumter National Monument, Parris Island, Beaufort, Caesar's Head, Charleston Gardens, Edisto Gardens, Fort Hill, Gregg Plant, Old Exchange

Major rivers: Edisto River, Pee Dee River , Santee River , Savannah River (borders with Georgia).

Some More Sources of Interesting Facts: - South Carolina Videos, Pictures, Speeches and Interesting Facts


Awesome America / South Carolina

South Carolina History at

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

SC Local Information and Statistics (for State, Regions, Counties, Cities)

What is Upstate?  (Upstate SC / Regions)

South Carolina Geographical (including Landform and Water related) Regions and Historical Background


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