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South Carolina

South Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution. The colony was originally named by King Charles II of England in honor of his father Charles I (Carolus being Latin for Charles). South Carolina was the 8th state to ratify the US Constitution and become a state which it did on May 23, 1788. South Carolina later became the first state to vote to secede from the Union which it did on December 20, 1860. It was readmitted to the United States on June 25, 1868.

South Carolina is the 40th most extensive and the 24th most populous of the 50 United States. South Carolina comprises 46 counties. The capital and largest city of the state is Columbia.



Table Rock State Park]] in the mountains of South Carolina Berkeley County]], South Carolina. Vernal pond in the Harbison State Forest, South Carolina. South Carolina is composed of five geographic areas, or physiographic provinces, whose boundaries roughly parallel the Atlantic coastline. In the southeast part of the state is the Coastal Plain, which can be divided into the Outer and Inner Coastal Plains. From north to south the coast is divided into three separate areas, the Grand Strand, the Santee River Delta, and the Sea Islands. Further inland are the Sandhills, ancient dunes from what used to be South Carolina's coast millions of years ago. The Fall Line, which marks the limit of navigable rivers, runs along the boundary of the Sandhills and the Piedmont, which has rolling hills and clay soils. In the northwest corner of the state are the Blue Ridge Mountains, the smallest geographical region in the state.

The state's 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. The bays tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation. The terrain is flat and the soil is composed entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy. The natural areas of the coastal plain are part of the Middle Atlantic coastal forests ecoregion.[1]

Palmetto State
State Symbols
State Capital: Columbia
State Mottos: Dum spiro spero
(While I breathe, I hope)
and Animis opibusque parati
(Prepared in Mind and Resources)
State Slogan: Smiling Faces Beautiful Places
State Songs: "Carolina" and
"South Carolina On My Mind"
State Tree: Sabal palmetto
State Flower: South Carolina Yellow jessamine
State Bird: Carolina Wren
State Wild Game Bird: Wild Turkey
State Heritage Horse: Carolina Marsh Tacky
State Dog: Boykin Spaniel[2]
State Animal: White-tailed deer
State Reptile: Loggerhead Sea Turtle
State Amphibian: Salamander
State Fish: Striped bass
State Insect: Carolina Mantis
State Butterfly: Eastern tiger swallowtail
State Fruit: Peach[3]
State Vegetable: Collard Greens[4]
State Beverage: Milk[5]
State Hospitality
State Gemstone: Amethyst
State Stone: Blue granite
State Popular Music: Beach music
State Dance: Shag
State Snack: Boiled peanuts[7]
State Craft: Sweetgrass Basket weaving
State Quarter

Just west of the coastal plain is the Sandhills region. The Sandhills are remnants of coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken or the oceans were higher.

The Piedmont (Upstate) region contains the roots of an ancient, eroded mountain chain. It is generally hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, and contains few areas suitable for farming. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed, with little success. It is now reforested. These forests are part of the Southeastern mixed forests ecoregion.[1] At the southeastern edge of the Piedmont is the fall line, where rivers drop to the coastal plain. The fall line was an important early source of water power. Mills built to harness this resource encouraged the growth of several cities, including the capital, Columbia. The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing a trade route for mill towns.

The northwestern part of the Piedmont is also known as the Foothills. The Cherokee Parkway is a scenic driving route through this area. This is where Table Rock State Park is located.

Highest in elevation is the Blue Ridge Region, containing an escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which continue into North Carolina and Georgia, as part of the southern Appalachian chain. Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point at is located in this area.[8] Also located in this area is Caesars Head State Park. The environment here is that of the Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests ecoregion.[1] The Chattooga River, located on the border between South Carolina and Georgia, is a favorite whitewater rafting destination.


South Carolina has several major lakes covering over , or . All of the lakes in South Carolina were built for hydroelectric power generation and none are naturally occurring.[9] The following are the lakes listed by size.[10]


Earthquakes do occur in South Carolina. The greatest frequency is along the central coastline of the state, in the Charleston area. South Carolina averages 10 15 earthquakes a year below magnitude 3 (FEMA). The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was the largest quake to ever hit the Southeastern United States. This 7.2 magnitude earthquake killed 60 people and destroyed much of the city.[11] Faults in this region are difficult to study at the surface due to thick sedimentation on top of them. Many of the ancient faults are within plates rather than along plate boundaries.


Snow is somewhat rare for most of the state with the upstate receiving it more often. South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate (K ppen climate classification Cfa), although high elevation areas in the "Upstate" or "Upcountry" area have less subtropical characteristics than areas on the Atlantic coastline. In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging between in most of the state and overnight lows averaging on the coast and from inland. Winter temperatures are much less uniform in South Carolina. Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters with high temperatures approaching an average of and overnight lows in the 40s F (5 8  C). Inland, the average January overnight low is around in Columbia and temperatures well below freezing in the Upstate. While precipitation is abundant the entire year in almost the entire state, the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, while inland, March tends to be the wettest month and winter being the driest season, with November being the driest month. The highest recorded temperature is at Camden on June 28, 1954 and the lowest recorded temperature is at Caesars Head on January 21, 1985.

Snowfall in South Carolina is somewhat common in most of the state, while coastal areas receive less than an inch (2.5 cm) annually on average. It is not uncommon for areas along the coast (especially the southern coast) to receive no recordable snowfall in a given year. The interior receives a little more snow, although nowhere in the state averages more than of snow annually. The mountains of extreme northwestern South Carolina tend to have the most substantial snow accumulation. Freezing rain and ice tend to be more common than snow and even rain in many areas of the state. Road bridges in South Carolina are commonly marked, "Bridge ices before road."

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various South Carolina Cities In F
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Charleston 59/37 62/39 69/46 76/52 83/61 88/68 91/72 89/72 85/67 77/55 70/46 62/39
Columbia 57/35 60/36 67/44 76/51 83/60 89/68 92/72 90/71 85/65 76/52 67/43 60/36
Greenville 50/31 55/34 63/40 71/47 78/56 85/64 89/69 87/68 81/62 71/50 61/41 53/34

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various South Carolina Cities In C (rounded)
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Charleston 15/3 17/4 21/8 23/11 28/16 31/20 33/22 32/22 29/19 25/13 21/8 17/4
Columbia 13/1 16/2 19/7 24/11 28/16 32/20 33/22 32/22 29/18 24/11 19/6 14/2
Greenville 10/-1 13/1 17/4 22/8 26/13 30/18 32/21 31/20 27/17 22/10 16/5 12/1

Hurricanes and tropical cyclones

Category 4 Hurricane Hugo in 1989 The state is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones. This is an annual concern during hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30. The peak time of vulnerability for the southeast Atlantic coast is from early August to early October, during the Cape Verde hurricane season. Memorable hurricanes to hit South Carolina include Hazel (1954), a Category 4 hurricane, and Hugo (1989), a Category 5 hurricane. South Carolina averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year. This is less than some of the states further south, and it is slightly less vulnerable to tornadoes than the states which border on the Gulf of Mexico. Some notable tornadoes have struck South Carolina and the state averages around 14 tornadoes annually. Hail is common with many of the thunderstorms in the state as there is often a marked contrast in temperature of warmer ground conditions compared to the cold air aloft.[14]


Early years

Georgetown County]] The colony of Carolina was settled by English settlers, mostly from Barbados.[15] King Charles gave eight aristocrats a royal charter to settle Carolina (Carolina is Latin for "Charles land") because earlier they had helped him regain his throne. Parts of Carolina (mostly the coastal areas) were colonized earlier by Spain (see Fort Caroline), but battles between the Spanish and the Native Americans caused the Spanish people to retreat to Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and Central and South America. Carolina was settled to make profit from trade and also by selling land. John Locke, an English philosopher, wrote a constitution for the colony that covered topics such as land divisions and social rankings. In the early years, not many people bought land there, so the proprietors lowered the price on some portions.

Carolina did not develop as planned. It split into northern and southern Carolina, creating two different colonies. It separated because of political reasons as the settlers wanted political power. In 1719 settlers in southern Carolina seized control from its proprietors. Then, in 1729, Carolina became two royal colonies- North Carolina and South Carolina. Farmers from inland Virginia settled northern Carolina. They grew tobacco, and sold timber and tar, both categories of naval supplies needed by England. The northern Carolina coast lacked a good harbor, so many of the farmers used Virginia's ports to conduct their trade.

Southern Carolina prospered from the fertility of the Low Country and the harbors, such as that at Charles Town (later Charleston). Settlements spread, and trade in deerskin, lumber, and beef thrived. Rice cultivation was developed on a large scale with the help of skills and techniques of slaves imported from rice-growing regions of Africa. They created the large earthworks of dams and canals required to irrigate the rice fields. In addition, indigo became a commodity crop, also developed with the skills of African slaves. The cultivation and processing of indigo, a blue flowering plant, was developed here by a young English woman, Eliza Lucas, a planter's daughter who had come with her father, also a military officer, from the Caribbean. She took over managing the plantation when he was assigned elsewhere. Indigo became an important commodity crop for the dyeing of textiles. Slave labor was integral to the economic success of rice and indigo as commodity crops. In South Carolina, the number of slaves exceeded those of Anglo-European colonists by the time of the Revolution, a characteristic of the state through the American Civil War.

The American Revolution

On March 26, 1776, the colony set up its own provisional government under the leadership of South Carolina President John Rutledge. On February 5, 1778, South Carolina became the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, the initial governing document of the United States. However, in 1780, South Carolinian loyalists to the British crown helped British troops recapture South Carolina from the previously successful rebels. On January 17, 1781, the Battle of Cowpens won by the American forces, marked the beginning of the decline in British fortunes. In 1782 they decided to evacuate their troops by the end of the year. Thousands of Loyalists and slaves left with them.

The current United States Constitution was proposed for adoption by the States on September 17, 1787, and South Carolina was the 8th state to ratify it, on May 23, 1788.

The American Revolution caused a shock to slavery in the South. Many thousands of slaves fled to British authorities to obtain freedom; and many of those left with the British in the last days of the war. Others secured their freedom by escaping to perceived friendlier locations during the turmoil. Estimates are that 25,000 slaves (30% of those in South Carolina) fled, migrated or died during the disruption of the war.[16]

This historic home is at
This historic home is at "The Battery," a neighborhood/park area at the Downtown historic district of Charleston a well-known historical city in South Carolina. "The Battery" is also known as White Point Gardens.

The Federal Period

South Carolina politics between 1783 and 1795 were marred by rivalry between a Federalist elite supporting the central government in Philadelphia and a large proportion of common people. The latter were often members of 'Republican Societies', and they supported the Republican-Democrats, headed by Jefferson and Madison. This party wanted more democracy in the US, especially in South Carolina.

Most people supported the French Revolution (1789 1795), as the French had been allies and they were proud of their own revolution. Charleston was one of the most French-influenced cities in the USA. Leading South Carolina figures, such as governors Charles Pinckney and William Moultrie, backed with money and actions the French plans to further their political, strategic, and commercial goals in North America. This pro-French stance and attitude of South Carolina ended soon because of the XYZ Affair.


Millford Plantation (1839), one of the most remarkable Greek revival mansions in the U.S. Antebellum South Carolina did more to advance nullification and secession than any other Southern state. In 1832, a South Carolina state convention passed the Ordinance of Nullification, declaring the Federal tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional, null and not to be enforced in the state of South Carolina after February 1, 1833. This led to the Nullification Crisis, in which U.S. President Andrew Jackson received congressional authorization, through the Force Bill, to use whatever military force necessary to enforce Federal law in the state. This was the first U.S. legislation denying individual states the right to secede. As a result of Jackson's threat of force, the South Carolina state convention was re-convened and repealed the Ordinance of Nullification in March.

Anti-abolitionist feelings ran strong in South Carolina. In 1856, South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks entered the United States Senate chamber and, with a metal-tipped cane, beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. He drew blood and injured Sumner badly enough that the latter was unable to serve for several months. Brooks was retaliating for a speech Sumner had just given in which he attacked slavery and insulted South Carolinians. Brooks resigned his seat but received a hero's welcome on returning home.

The Civil War

On December 20, 1860, when it became clear that Abraham Lincoln would be the next president, South Carolina became the first state to declare its secession from the Union. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the American Civil War began. The Union Navy effectively blockaded Charleston and seized the Sea Islands. Planters had taken their families (and sometimes slaves) to points inland for refuge.

The Union Army set up an experiment in freedom for the ex-slaves, in which they started education and farmed land for themselves. South Carolina troops participated in major Confederate campaigns, but no major battles were fought inland. General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through the state in early 1865, destroying numerous plantations, and captured the state capital of Columbia on February 17. Fires began that night and by next morning, most of the central city was destroyed.

Coastal towns and cities often have hurricane-resistant Live oaks overarching the streets in historic neighborhoods, such as these on East Bay Street, Georgetown.
Coastal towns and cities often have hurricane-resistant Live oaks overarching the streets in historic neighborhoods, such as these on East Bay Street, Georgetown.


After the war, South Carolina was restored to the United States during Reconstruction. Under presidential Reconstruction (1865 66), freedmen (former slaves) were given limited rights. Under Radical reconstruction (1867 1877), a Republican coalition of freedmen, carpetbaggers and scalawags was in control, supported by Union Army forces. The withdrawal of Union soldiers as part of the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction. White Democrats used paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts to intimidate and terrorize black voters. They regained political control of the state under conservative white "Redeemers" and pro-business Bourbon Democrats.

Until the 1868 presidential election, South Carolina's legislature, not the voters, chose the state's electors for the presidential election. South Carolina was the last state to choose its electors in this manner. On October 19, 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant suspended habeas corpus in nine South Carolina counties under the authority of the Ku Klux Klan Act.[17] Led by Grant's Attorney General Amos T. Akerman, hundreds of Klansmen were arrested while 2000 Klansmen fled the state.[17] This was done in order to suppress Klan violence against African American and white voters in the South.[17]

Populist and Agrarian movements

The state became a hotbed of racial and economic tensions during the Populist and Agrarian movements of the 1890s. Passage of the new conservative constitution of 1895 meant that almost all blacks and many poor whites were effectively disfranchised by new requirements for poll taxes, residency and literacy tests. By 1896, only 5,500 black voters remained on the registration rolls.[18] The 1900 census demonstrated the extent of disfranchisement: African Americans comprised more than 58% of the state's population, but their total of 782,509 citizens was essentially without any political representation.[19]

"Pitchfork Ben Tillman", a Populist, controlled state politics from the 1890s to 1910 with a base among poor white farmers. During the constitutional convention in 1895, he supported another man's proposal that the state adopt a one-drop rule and prohibit marriage between whites and anyone with any known African ancestry. Some members of the convention realized that prominent white families could be affected. In terms similar to a debate in Virginia in 1853 on a similar proposal, George Dionysius Tillman said the following in opposition:

"If the law is made as it now stands respectable families in Aiken, Barnwell, Colleton, and Orangeburg will be denied the right to intermarry among people with whom they are now associated and identified. At least one hundred families would be affected to my knowledge. They have sent good soldiers to the Confederate Army, and are now landowners and taxpayers. Those men served creditably, and it would be unjust and disgraceful to embarrass them in this way. It is a scientific fact that there is not one full-blooded Caucasian on the floor of this convention. Every member has in him a certain mixture of colored blood. The pure-blooded white has needed and received a certain infusion of darker blood to give him readiness and purpose. It would be a cruel injustice and the source of endless litigation, of scandal, horror, feud, and bloodshed to undertake to annul or forbid marriage for a remote, perhaps obsolete trace of Negro blood. The doors would be open to scandal, malice and greed; to statements on the witness stand that the father or grandfather or grandmother had said that A or B had Negro blood in their veins. Any man who is half a man would be ready to blow up half the world with dynamite to prevent or avenge attacks upon the honor of his mother in the legitimacy or purity of the blood of his father."[20][21][22][23]
The state postponed such a one-drop law for years. Note: Virginia adopted a one-drop law in 1924.

Women's suffrage

South Carolina was one of several states that initially rejected the Nineteenth Amendment. The South Carolina legislature later ratified the amendment on July 1, 1969.

20th century and beyond

Early in the 20th century, South Carolina developed a thriving textile industry. The state also converted its agricultural base from cotton to more profitable crops, attracted large military bases, and created tourism industries. As the 21st century progresses, South Carolina attracts new business by having a 5% corporate income tax rate, no state property tax, no local income tax, no inventory tax, no sales tax on manufacturing equipment, industrial power or materials for finished products, no wholesale tax, no unitary tax on worldwide profits.[24]

Of extended controversy has been the state's display of the flags of the Confederate States of America, which was raised on the state capitol in 1962. The state capital is located directly next to the University of South Carolina campus, a move seen as a protest against the court-ordered desegregation of the schools.[25][26] A lawsuit calling for the flag to be removed was filed in 1994.[27] On July 1, 2000, South Carolina became the last state to remove the Confederate flag, placed there in 1962, during Democratic Governor Fritz Hollings term in office, from over its statehouse. The state Senate had approved a bill for its removal on April 12, 2000, by a margin of 36 to 7; the bill had specified that a Confederate flag be flown in front of the Capitol next to a monument honoring fallen Confederate soldiers. Debate was more heated in the state House of Representatives, which passed the bill on May 18, 2000, by a margin of only 66 to 43, after including a measure's ensuring that the Confederate flag by the monument be high.[28] The flag by the monument continues to fuel a cause for controversy, by the NAACP. The NAACP maintains an economic boycott of the state of South Carolina. The NCAA refuses to allow South Carolina to host NCAA athletic events whose locations are determined in advance. On July 6, 2009, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced a decision to move three future baseball tournaments out of South Carolina, citing concerns by the NAACP over the continuing state-sponsored display of the Confederate flag.[29]


Greenville skyline at twilight. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of South Carolina was 4,679,230 on July 1, 2011, a 1.16% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[30]

As of the 2010 census, the racial make up of the state is 66.2% White (64.1% non-Hispanic white), 27.9% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 1.7% from two or more races. 5.1% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).[31]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2009, South Carolina had an estimated population of 4,561,242, which is an increase of 57,962 from the prior year and an increase of 549,230, or 13.6%, since the year 2000. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 36,401 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 115,084 people. According to the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, South Carolina's foreign-born population grew faster than any other state between 2000 and 2005.[32][33]

An August 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 21% of South Carolina voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 69% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 48% of South Carolina voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 19% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 51% favoring no legal recognition and 2% not sure.[34]

Largest cities, 2010

In 2011, the US Census Bureau released 2010 population counts for South Carolina's cities with populations above 26,000.[35]


The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston Harbor.
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston Harbor.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, South Carolina's gross state product in current dollars was $97 billion in 1997, and $153 billion in 2007. Its per-capita real gross domestic product (GDP) in chained 2000 dollars was $26,772 in 1997, and $28,894 in 2007; that represents 85% of the $31,619 per-capita real GDP for the United States overall in 1997, and 76% of the $38,020 for the U.S. in 2007.

Major agricultural outputs of the state are: tobacco, poultry, cattle, dairy products, soybeans, hay, rice, and swine. Industrial outputs include: textile goods, chemical products, paper products, machinery, automobiles and automotive products and tourism.[36][37] According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2012, South Carolina has 1,852,700 nonfarm jobs of which 12% are in manufacturing, 11.5% are in leisure and hospitality, 19% are in trade, transportation and utilities, and 11.8% are in education and health services. The service sector accounts for 83.7% of the South Carolina economy.[38]

During the economic downturn in the Late 2000s Recession, South Carolina's Unemployment Rate peaked at 12.0% for November and December 2009. It is continuing a steady decline with an unemployment rate of 8.9% as of March 2012.[39]

Many large corporations have moved their locations to South Carolina. South Carolina is a no labor union state and many businesses utilize staffing agencies to temporarily fill positions. This labor force is appealing to companies because of lower wages and no responsibility of maintaining healthcare benefits for its temporary employees. Domtar, located in Rock Hill is the only Fortune 500 company headquartered in South Carolina.[40] The Fortune 1000 list includes SCANA, Sonoco Products, and ScanSource.

South Carolina also benefits from foreign investment. There are 1,950 foreign-owned firms operating in South Carolina employing almost 135,000 people.[41] Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) brought 1.06 billion dollars to the state economy in 2010.[42]

The Arts

South Carolina has many venues for visual and performing arts. The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Columbia Museum of Art, Spartanburg Art Museum, and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia among others provide access to visual arts to the state. There are also numerous historic sites and museums scattered throughout the state paying homage to many events and periods in the state s history from Native American inhabitation to the present day.

South Carolina also has performing art venues including the Peace Center in Greenville, the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia, the North Charleston Coliseum, and the Newberry Opera House, among others to bring local, national, and international talent to the stages of South Carolina.

There are also countless local festivals throughout the state highlighting many cultural traditions, historical events, and folklore.

According to the South Carolina Arts Commission, creative industries generate $9.2 billion annually and support over 78,000 jobs in the state.[43] A 2009 statewide poll by the University of South Carolina Institute for Public Service and Policy Research found that 67% of residents had participated in the arts in some form during the past year and on average citizens had participated in the arts 14 times in the previous year.


Major highways

Major interstate highways passing through include: I-20 which runs from Florence in the east through Columbia to the southwestern border near Aiken; I-26 which runs from Charleston in the southeast through Columbia to Spartanburg and the northern border in Spartanburg County; I-77 which runs from York County in the north to Columbia; I-85 which runs from Cherokee County in the north through Spartanburg and Greenville to the southwestern border in Oconee County; I-385 which runs from Greenville and intersects with I-26 near Clinton; and I-95 which runs from the northeastern border in Dillon County to Florence and on to the southern border in Jasper County.

In March 2008, "The American State Litter Scorecard," presented at the American Society for Public Administration conference, rated South Carolina a nationally "Worst" state for removing litter from public properties such as highways. The state has an extremely high fatality rate from litter/debris-related vehicle accidents, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.[44]



Amtrak operates four passenger routes in South Carolina: the Crescent, the Palmetto, the Silver Meteor, and the Silver Star. The Crescent route serves the Upstate cities, the Silver Star serves the Midlands cities, and the Palmetto and Silver Meteor routes serve the Lowcountry cities.

Station stops


South Carolina is served by many freight carriers, with CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway being the most common.

Major and regional airports

There are seven significant airports in South Carolina, all of which act as regional airport hubs. The busiest by passenger volume is Charleston International Airport.[45] Just across the border in North Carolina is Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the 30th busiest airport in the world, in terms of passengers.[46]

Government and politics

South Carolina's state government consists of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. Also relevant are the state constitution, law enforcement agencies, federal representation, state finances, and state taxes.

South Carolina has historically had a weak executive branch and a strong legislature. Before 1865, governors in South Carolina were appointed by the General Assembly, and held the title "President of State." The 1865 Constitution changed this process, requiring a popular election. In 1926 the governor's term was changed to four years, and in 1982 governors were allowed to run for a second term. In 1993 a limited cabinet was created, all of which must be popularly elected.


South Carolina is one of just three states that have not agreed to using competitive international math and language standards.[47]

South Carolina has 1,144 K-12 schools in 85 school districts with an enrollment of 712,244 as of fall 2009.[48][49] As of the 2008 2009 school year, South Carolina spent $9,450 per student which places it 31st in the country for per student spending.[50] In 2011, the average SAT score for South Carolina was 1360.[51]

Institutions of higher education

(In order of foundation date)

South Carolina hosts a diverse cohort of institutions of higher education, from large state-funded research universities to small colleges that cultivate a liberal arts, religious or military tradition.

Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, the College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher learning in South Carolina, the 13th oldest in the United States, and the first municipal college in the country. The College is in company with the Colonial Colleges as one the original and foundational institutions of higher education in the United States. Its founders include three signers of the United States Declaration of Independence and three signers of the United States Constitution. The College's historic campus, which is listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places, forms an integral part of Charleston's colonial-era urban center. As one of the leading institutions of higher education in its class in the Southeastern United States,[52] the College of Charleston is celebrated nationally for its focus on undergraduate education with strengths in Marine Biology, Classics, Art History and Historic Preservation. The Graduate School of the College of Charleston, offers a number of degree programs and coordinates support for its nationally recognized faculty research efforts. According to the Princeton Review, C of C is one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education and U.S. News & World Report regularly ranks C of C among the best masters level universities in the South. C of C presently enrolls approximately 10,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students.

The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational, research university located in Columbia. The University's campus covers over in the urban core less than one city block from the South Carolina State House. The University of South Carolina maintains an enrollment of over 27,000 students on the Columbia campus. The institution was founded in 1801 as South Carolina College in an effort to promote harmony between the Lowcountry and the Upstate. The College became a symbol of the South in the antebellum period as its graduates were on the forefront of secession from the Union. From the Civil War to World War II, the institution lacked a clear direction and was constantly reorganized to meet the needs of the political power in office. In 1957, the University expanded its reach through the University of South Carolina System.


Furman University is a private, coeducational, non-sectarian, liberal arts university in Greenville. Founded in 1826, Furman enrolls approximately 2,600 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Furman is the largest private institution in South Carolina. The university is primarily focused on undergraduate education (only two departments, education and chemistry, offer graduate degrees).

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina is a state-supported, comprehensive college located in Charleston. Founded in 1842, the college is best known for its undergraduate Corps of Cadets military program for men and women, which combines academics, physical challenges and military discipline. In addition to the cadet program, civilian programs are offered through The Citadel Graduate College with its evening certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs. The Citadel enrolls almost 2,000 undergraduate cadets in its residential military program and 1,200 civilian students in the evening programs.

Wofford College is a small liberal arts college located in Spartanburg. Wofford was founded in 1854 with a bequest of $100,000 from the Rev. Benjamin Wofford (1780 1850), a Methodist minister and Spartanburg native who sought to create a college for "literary, classical, and scientific education in my native district of Spartanburg." Wofford is one of the few four-year institutions in the southeastern United States founded before the American Civil War and still operating on its original campus.

Presbyterian College (PC) is a private liberal arts college founded in 1880 in Clinton. Presbyterian College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, and enrolls around 1300 undergraduate students. In 2007, Washington Monthly ranked PC as the No. 1 Liberal Arts College in the nation.[53]

Winthrop University, founded in 1886 as an all-female teaching school in Rock Hill, became a co-ed institution in 1974. Winthrop is now a public university that has an enrollment of just over 6,000 students. It is currently one of the fastest growing universities in the state, with several new academic and recreational buildings being added to the main campus in the past five years, as well as several more planned for the near future. The Richard W. Riley College of Education is still the school's most well-known area of study.

Clemson University, founded in 1889, is a public, coeducational, land-grant research university located in Clemson. Clemson The University currently enrolls more than 18,000 students from all 50 states and from more than 70 countries. Clemson is currently in the process of expanding, by adding the CU-ICAR, or the Center for Automotive Research, in partnership with BMW and Michelin. The facility will offer an M.S. and PhD in Automotive Engineering. Clemson is also the home to the South Carolina Botanical Garden.

South Carolina State University, founded in 1896, is a historically Black university located in Orangeburg. It is the only state-supported land grant institution in the state of South Carolina. SCSU has a current enrollment of nearly 5,000, and offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees. SCSU boasts the only Doctor of Education program in the state.

Charleston Southern University, founded in 1969, is a liberal arts university, and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Charleston Southern (CSU) is one of South Carolina s largest accredited, independent universities, enrolling approximately 3,200 students. CSU has been named to America s 100 Best College Buys, Military Friendly Schools, America s Best Christian Colleges, VA Yellow Ribbon Program and The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Situated on 300 acres, formerly the site of a rice and indigo plantation, Charleston Southern University is in the center of the Charleston metropolitan area. Charleston Southern's Vison is to be a Christian University nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.

Anderson University, founded in 1911, is a selective comprehensive university located in Anderson, offering bachelors and masters degrees in approximately 50 areas of study. Anderson University currently enrolls around 2,300 students.

Bob Jones University, founded in 1927, is a non-denominational University founded on fundamental Christian beliefs (e.g., inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, the creation of man by the direct act of God, the fall of man, the "young earth" and flood geology, and man's need for personal faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ). Originally based in Florida, after a move to Tennessee, the school finally settled in South Carolina.[54] With 4000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries the school is larger than Wofford, Furman and Presbyterian College. BJU also offers over 60 undergraduate majors and has over 70 graduate programs.[55]

Coastal Carolina University, founded in 1954, Coastal became an independent university in 1993. The University enrolls approximately 8,300 students on its 307-acre (1.24 km2) campus. Baccalaureate programs are offered in 51 major fields of study, along with graduate programs in education, business administration (MBA) and coastal marine and wetland studies.

Universities and colleges ranked by endowment

Conference Rank National Rank Institution Location Public or Private Endowment Funds Percentage Change YOY
1 129 Furman University Greenville, South Carolina Private $498,282,000 12.2%
2 145 University of South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina Public $414,002,000 5.8%
3 153 Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina Public $382,189,000 15.4%
4 253 Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, South Carolina Public $181,554,000 24.6%
5 259 The Citadel Charleston, South Carolina Public $179,289,000 7.5%
6 308 Wofford College Spartanburg, South Carolina Private $138,211,000 9.4%
7 442 Presbyterian College Clinton, South Carolina Private $69,892,000 12.0%
8 507 Converse College Spartanburg, South Carolina Private $57,586,000 11.8%
9 762 Spartanburg Methodist College Spartanburg, South Carolina Private $15,384,000 9.1%
10 782 Tri-County Technical College Pendleton, South Carolina Public $12,954,000 8.7%
11 847 Midlands Technical College Columbia, South Carolina Public $4,717,000 13.1%

Health care

For overall health care, South Carolina is ranked 33rd out of the 50 states, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a private health foundation working to improve the health care system.[57] The state s teen birth rate was 53 births per 1000 teens, compared to the average of 41.9 births for the US, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.[58] The state s infant mortality rate was 9.4 deaths per 1000 births compared to the US average of 6.9 deaths.[59] There were 2.6 physicians per 1000 people compared to the US average of 3.2 physicians.[60] There was $5114 spent on health expenses per capita in the state, compared to the US average of $5283.[61] There were 26 percent of children and 13 percent of elderly living in poverty in the state, compared to 23 percent and 13 percent, respectively, doing so in the US.[62] And, 34 percent of children were overweight or obese, compared to the US average of 32 percent.[63]


Although no professional franchises are actually based in South Carolina, the state is represented by North Carolina professional teams. However, the Carolina Panthers do have training facilities in this state. The state does have numerous minor league teams. College teams represent their particular South Carolina institution. South Carolina is also a top destination for golf and water sports.

Federal lands in South Carolina

Miscellaneous topics

Famous people from South Carolina

Some of the most influential individuals in American life are from South Carolina. Please see main article: List of people from South Carolina

Alcohol laws

The alcohol laws of South Carolina are part of the state's history. Voters endorsed prohibition in 1892 but instead were given the "Dispensary System" of state-owned liquor stores. Currently, certain counties may enforce time restrictions for beer and wine sales in stores, although there are no dry counties in South Carolina.

Indoor smoking laws

See Main article at: Indoor smoking laws of South Carolina

  • No statewide smoking ban. On March 31, 2008, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that cities, counties, and towns may enact smoking bans which are more stringent than state law.[64] As of May 2009, there are four South Carolina counties and 22 cities and towns with smoke-free laws. Please see main article linked above.

South Carolina singularities

  • Adjutant general: The head of the state's national guard, the adjutant general, is a statewide elected official.[65]
  • Driving Under the Influence: South Carolina is the only state in the nation with mandatory videotaping by the arresting officer of the DUI arrest and breath test.[66]
  • Fire Safety Regulations: South Carolina is the only state that allows fire officials to sidestep a federal regulation requiring that for every employee doing hazardous work inside a building, one must be outside.[67]
  • School Buses: South Carolina is the only state in the nation that owns and operates its own school bus fleet.[68][69]
  • Strokes: South Carolina has the highest rate of stroke deaths in the nation.[70]
  • Outdoor Sculpture: South Carolina is home to the world's largest collection of outdoor sculpture located at Brookgreen Gardens.[71]
  • Landscaped Gardens: South Carolina is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States, at Middleton Place near Charleston.[72]
  • First indigo planted, 1671 by Moses Lindo, a Portuguese Jew fleeing the Inquisition[73]
  • First time a Jew was elected to public office in America, 1774. Francis Salvador was elected to the General Assembly[73]

See also


Further reading

Textbooks and surveys
Scholarly secondary studies
  • Bass, Jack and Marilyn W. Thompson. Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond,. Longstreet Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56352-523-2.
  • Busick, Sean R. A Sober Desire for History: William Gilmore Simms as Historian., 2005. ISBN 1-57003-565-2.
  • Clarke, Erskine. Our Southern Zion: A History of Calvinism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1690 1990 (1996)ISBN 978-0-8173-0757-8.
  • Channing, Steven. Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina (1970)
  • Cohodas, Nadine. Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change,. Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 978-0-671-68935-3.
  • Coit, Margaret L. John C. Calhoun: American Portrait (1950)ISBN 9780872497757.
  • Crane, Verner W. The Southern Frontier, 1670 1732 (1956)ISBN 9780817350826.
  • Ford Jr., Lacy K. Origins of Southern Radicalism: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1800 1860 (1991) ISBN 978-0-19-506961-7.
  • Hindus, Michael S. Prison and Plantation: Crime, Justice, and Authority in Massachusetts and South Carolina, 1767 1878 (1980)ISBN 978-0807814178.
  • Johnson Jr., George Lloyd. The Frontier in the Colonial South: South Carolina Backcountry, 1736 1800 (1997)ISBN 978-0313301797.
  • Jordan, Jr., Frank E. The Primary State A History of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, 1876 1962, Columbia, SC, 1967
  • Keyserling, Harriet. Against the Tide: One Woman's Political Struggle. University of South Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN 978-1-57003-271-4.
  • Kantrowitz, Stephen. Ben Tillman & the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (2002)ISBN 978-0-8078-4839-5.
  • Lau, Peter F. Democracy Rising: South Carolina And the Fight for Black Equality Since 1865 (2006)ISBN 978-0813123936.
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States; (1974)ISBN 9780393054965.
  • Rogers, George C. Evolution of a Federalist: William Loughton Smith of Charleston (1758 1812) (1962)
  • Schultz Harold S. Nationalism and Sectionalism in South Carolina, 1852 1860 (1950)
  • Simon, Bryant. A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910 1948 (1998)ISBN 0-8078-4704-6.
  • Simkins, Francis Butler. The Tillman Movement in South Carolina (1926)
  • Simkins, Francis Butler. Pitchfork Ben Tillman: South Carolinian (1944)
  • Simkins, Francis Butler, and Robert Hilliard Woody. South Carolina during Reconstruction (1932).
  • Sinha, Manisha. The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (2000)
  • Smith, Warren B. White Servitude in Colonial South Carolina (1961)ISBN 9780872490789.
  • Tullos, Allen Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont (1989)ISBN 9780807842478.
  • Williamson Joel R. After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina during Reconstruction, 1861 1877 (1965)
  • Wood, Peter H. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 Through the Stono Rebellion (1996)ISBN 978-0393314823.
Local studies
  • Bass, Jack and Jack Nelson.The Orangeburg Massacre,. Mercer University Press, 1992.
  • Burton, Orville Vernon. In My Father's House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina (1985), social history
  • Carlton, David L. Mill and Town in South Carolina, 1880 1920 (1982)
  • Clarke, Erskine. Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic (2005)
  • Danielson, Michael N. Profits and Politics in Paradise: The Development of Hilton Head Island,. University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Doyle, Don H. New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860 1910 (1990)
  • Huff, Jr., Archie Vernon. Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont, University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Moore, John Hammond. Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740 1990, University of South Carolina Press, 1993.
  • Moredock, Will. Banana Republic: A Year in the Heart of Myrtle Beach,. Frontline Press, 2003.
  • Pease, William H. and Jane H. Pease. The Web of Progress: Private Values and Public Styles in Boston and Charleston, 1828 1843 (1985),
  • Robertson, Ben. Red Hills and Cotton,. USC Press (reprint), 1991.
  • Rose, Willie Lee. Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment (1964)
Political science
  • Carter, Luther F. and David Mann, eds. Government in the Palmetto State: Toward the 21st century,. University of South Carolina, 1993.ISBN 0-917069-01-3
  • Graham, Cole Blease and William V. Moore. South Carolina Politics and Government. Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8032-7043-7
  • Tyer, Charlie. ed. South Carolina Government: An Introduction,. USC Institute for Public Affairs, 2002. ISBN 0-917069-12-9
Primary documents
  • Salley, Alexander S. ed. Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650 1708 (1911) ISBN 0-7812-6298-4
  • Woodmason Charles. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution Edited by Richard J. Hooker. (1953), a missionary reports ISBN 0-8078-4035-1

External links

Related information

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