South Carolina State Flag
South Carolina State Seal
South Carolina Location
Carolina is a state in the Southern region of the United
States. The Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies
that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. It was
the first state to secede from the Union to found the Confederate States
of America. The state is named after King Charles I of England. As of
2004, the state's population is 4,198,068.
Several ships in
the United States Navy have been named USS South Carolina in honor of
- % water
82,965 km² (40th)
- Total (2000)
51.45 /km² (21st)
78°0'30"W to 83°20'W
Carolina is bounded 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.
The capital and largest city is Columbia.
Other important cities are Charleston,
Carolina is composed of four geographic areas, whose boundaries
roughly parallel the northeast/southwest Atlantic coastline. The lower
part of the state is the Coastal Plain, which is nearly flat, composed
entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with
better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy.
The coastline contains many salt marshes and estuaries, as well as natural
ports such as Georgetown
An unusual feature of the coastal plain is a large number of Carolina
bays, the origins of which are uncertain, though one prominent theory
suggests that they were created by a meteor shower. The bays tend to
be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation.
Just west of the
coastal plain is the Sand Hills region, which is thought to contain
remnants of old coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken,
or the oceans were higher.
Piedmont area contains the roots of an ancient, eroded mountain chain.
It tends to be hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, and contains few
areas suitable for farming. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed, with
little success, and is now reforested. At the 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, and mills built to harness
this resource encouraged the growth of several cities, including the
The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing a trade
route for mill towns.
The upper part of
the Piedmont is also known as the Foothills. The Cherokee Parkway contains
a scenic driving route through this area.
Highest in elevation
is the Upcountry, 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 (elevation 3560 ft.) is located in this area. Also located
in the Upcountry is Table Rock State Park and Caesar's Head State Park.
The Chattooga River, located on the border between South
Carolina and Georgia,
is a favorite whitewater rafting destination.
The colony of Carolina
was settled by English settlers sent by the Lords Proprietors in 1670,
followed by French Huguenots. The Carolina upcountry was settled largely
by Scotch-Irish migrants from Pennsylvania
and Virginia. Carolina became
a royal colony in 1712. North
Carolina was split off in 1729. The state declared its independence
from Great Britain and set up its own government on March 15, 1776.
On February 5, 1778 South Carolina
became the first state to ratify the first constitution of the United
States, the Articles of Confederation.
Carolina seceded from the United
States on December 20, 1860. The rest of the Southern states seceded
in the following months; together, they organized themselves as the
Confederate States of America. President James Buchanan took little
action, preferring to let the newly elected President Abraham Lincoln
decide the matter. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling
Fort Sumter, which stands on an island in Charleston harbor, thus precipitating
the Civil War. Students from The Citadel were among those firing the
first shots of the war, though Edmund Ruffin is usually credited with
firing the first shot.
After the American
Civil War, South Carolina
was reincorporated back into the United
States during the Reconstruction period, although its secession
was never formally recognized by the federal government. The state continued
to be a political hotbed on the subjects of racism and segregation,
while at the same time continuing a strong agricultural economy.
In its recent past,
South Carolina has endured
other trials, like Hurricane Hugo which caused billions of dollars in
damage in 1989. However, it also has flourished with its tourist economy
and growing coastal shipping industry.
Law and Government
state government consists of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial
branches. The Governor, elected for a (once) renewable four-year term,
heads the Executive branch (some officers of which are elected). The
bicameral South Carolina General Assembly consists of the 46-member
Senate and the 124-member House of Representatives. The two bodies meet
in the South Carolina State House. The Judicial Branch consists of the
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Circuit Court, Family Court,
and other divisions.
The Family Court
deals with all matters of domestic and family relationships, as well
as generally maintaining exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving
minors under the age of seventeen, excepting traffic and game law violations.
Some criminal charges may come under Circuit Court jurisdiction.
The Circuit Court
is the general jurisdiction court for South
Carolina, comprised of the Civil Court, the Court of Common Pleas,
and the Court of General Sessions, which is the criminal court. The
court maintains limited appelate jurisdiction over the Probate Court,
Magistrate's Court, Municipal Court, and the Administrative Law Judge
Division. The state has sixteen judicial circuits, each with at least
one resident circuit judge.
The Court of Appeals
handles Circuit Court and Family Court appeals, excepting appeals that
are within the seven classes of exclusive Supreme Court jurisdiction.
The Court of Appeals is selected by the General Assembly for staggered,
six-year terms. The Court is comprised of a Chief Judge, and eight associate
judges, and may hear cases as the whole Court, or as three panels with
three judges each. The Court may preside in any state county.
The Supreme Court
is South Carolina's highest court. Comprised of the Chief Justice, and
four Associate Justices, Supreme Court judges are appointed to ten year
terms by the General Assembly. Terms are staggered, and there are no
limits on the number of terms a justice may serve.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2003,
South Carolina's population was estimated at 4,147,152 people.
racial makeup of the state is:
0.3% Native American
1.0% Mixed race
The five largest ancestry groups in South
Carolina are African American (29.5%), American (13.9%), German
(8.4%), English (8.4%), Irish (7.9%). It is probable that most
of those claiming American ancestry are descended from the early
Scots-Irish settlers of the upstate region.
For most of
its history, black slaves made up a large majority of South Carolina's
population (as much as 75%). African-Americans still dominate
most of the Lowcountry (especially the inland Lowcountry) and
much of the Piedmont; areas where cotton, rice, and indigo plantations
once dominated the landscape. Whites, primarily of American and
British ancestry, live in much of the upstate and in certain urban
and suburban areas.
6.6% of South
Carolina's population were reported as under 5, 25.2% under 18,
and 12.1% were 65 or older.
up approximately 51.4% of the population.
Carolina, like most other Southern states, is overwhelmingly
Protestant Christian, and has a significantly lower percentage
of non-religious people than the national average. The religious
affiliations of the people of South
Carolina are as follows:
Protestant – 84%
Baptist – 45%
Methodist – 15%
Presbyterian – 5%
Other Protestant – 19%
Roman Catholic – 7%
Other Christian – 1%
Other Religions – 1%
Non-Religious – 7%
Famous People from South
- Shelton Benjamin
(1976—) Born and raised in Orangeburg,
SC, Shelton Benjamin is an American professional wrestler and
former amateur wrestler now working for World Wrestling Entertainment
(WWE)'s RAW brand.
- John C. Calhoun
(1782–1850) Born near Abbeville, SC,
John Caldwell Calhoun was an American statesman and political philosopher.
From 1811 until his death, Calhoun served in the federal government
successively as congressman, secretary of war, vice president, senator,
secretary of state and again as senator. He has been declared one
of the five greatest senators of all time.
- Wilson Casey
(1954—) Born in Woodruff, SC of
Spartanburg County. Trivia Guinness World Record Holder. Nationally
Syndicated Newspaper Trivia Columnist. Appeared as contestant on NBC's
- Stephen Colbert
has been a correspondent for Comedy Central's The Daily Show for several
years. In 2005 he became host of The Colbert Report on the same network.
A native of Charleston, he attended
Porter Gaud Academy.
- Kevin Garnett
The famous "go-to" main man (nicknamed "The Big Ticket")
for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the (NBA) National Basketball Asociation
was born and raised in Greenville County (Mauldin),
- Leeza Gibbons
of Entertainment Tonight and other Hollywood news shows grew up in
Irmo, SC, near the capital of Columbia.
- Andrew Jackson(1767-1845)
Born near Lancaster, Jackson was the
hero of the Battle of New Orleans and seventh President of the United
States 1829 to 1837
- Jesse Jackson
Famous political figure that followed in the footsteps of the famous
Atlantan Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is originally from Greenville,
- Dr. Ronald McNair
(1950–1986) Born in Lake City, SC,
Dr. Ronald McNair, was one of the seven astronauts to die when the
Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off from Kennedy
Space Center in Florida on January 28, 1986.
- Melanie Thornton
(1967–2001 Plane Crash) R&B/Pop/Dance Singer (former La
Bouche), born in Charleston, died near
Bassersdorf (Zurich), (Switzerland).
- Strom Thurmond
(1902–2003) Born in Edgefield, SC,
in 1902. He was South Carolina governor from 1947–1951, and
in 1954 became the first and only United States Senator to be elected
by a write-in vote. In 1997, Sen. Thurmond became the oldest and longest
serving member of the U.S. Senate. In January 2003, at age 100, Thurmond
retired from public service after his eighth term. He returned to
his hometown of Edgefield, where he passed
away on Thursday, June 26, 2003.
- Aaron Tippin
grew up in Greenville, SC and started
singing as a way to pass time while plowing on his family’s
farm. He is now a country music star with several country hits to
- Vanna White
Wheel of Fortune game show hostess since 1982, hails from North
Myrtle Beach, SC.
- Bass, Jack.
Porgy Comes Home: South Carolina After 300 Years,. Sandlapper, 1970.
- Bass, Jack and
Jack Nelson.The Orangeburg Massacre,. Mercer University Press, 1992.
- Bass, Jack and
Marilyn W. Thompson. Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom
Thurmond,. Longstreet Press, 1998.
- Carter, Luther
F. and David Mann, eds. Government in the Palmetto State: Toward the
21st Century,. University of South Carolina, 1993.
- Cohodas, Nadine.
Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change,. Simon & Schuster,
- Danielson, Michael
N. Profits and Politics in Paradise: The Development of Hilton Head
Island,. University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
- Edgar, Walter.
South Carolina: A History, , USC Press, 1998.
- Graham, Cole
Blease and William V. Moore. South Carolina Politics and Government.
Politics and Governments of the American States, Univ. of Nebraska
- Hollings, Ernest
F. The Case Against Hunger: The Need for a National Policy,. Cowles
Book Co., 1970.
- Jordan, Jr.,
Frank E. The Primary State - A History of the Democratic Party in
South Carolina, 1876-1962, Columbia, SC, 1967
Harriet. Against the Tide: One Woman's Political Struggle. University
of South Carolina Press, 1998. Foreward by Richard W. Riley.
- Moredock, Will.
Banana Republic: A Year in the Heart of Myrtle Beach,. Frontline Press,
- Robertson, Ben.
Red Hills and Cotton,. USC Press (reprint), 1991.
- Rogers Jr. by
George C. and C. James Taylor. A South Carolina Chronology, 1497-1992,
2nd Ed.,. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC, 1994.
- Tyer, Charlie.
ed. South Carolina Government: An Introduction,. USC Institute for
Public Affairs, 2002.
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