South Carolina Facts



The state of South Carolina, located in the southeast, has a coast of subtropical beaches and marshes. Charleston's coastal area is characterized by pastel-colored houses, Old South plantations, and Fort Sumter where the Civil War began. In the north is the Grand Strand, a roughly 60-mile stretch of beachfront known for golf courses and Myrtle Beach as a vacation destination. Aerospace, agribusiness, automotive manufacturing, and tourism make up South Carolina's economy.

  • Capital City: Columbia
  • Largest City: Columbia
  • Nickname: The Palmetto State
  • Statehood: 1788; 8th state
  • Population (as of 2020): 5,124,712
  • Abbreviation: SC
  • State bird: Carolina wren
  • State flower: yellow jessamine
  • Total Size Of The State: 32,020 sq mi (82,932 km2)

  • South Carolina

    Historical Background

    The area now known as South Carolina may have been settled over 50,000 years ago. There have been Native American tribes here for thousands of years, such as the Cherokee, Creek, and Santee.

    An English settlement was established in the region in 1670. The territory was divided in 1710 into two colonies, North and South Carolina. In the following years, European settlers established plantations to grow rice and indigo. These plantations employed slaves from Africa.

    Soon after, South Carolina and the rest of the American colonies declared independence from England. As a result, the American Revolution began in 1775. More battles were fought in South Carolina than in any other colony during the war. The state was admitted to the Union in 1788.

    Before the Civil War began in 1861, South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union. In 1868, it was admitted back to the Union.

    Why Does It Have That Name?

  • King Charles I of England named the Carolinas after him.
  • South Carolina's nickname, Palmetto State, comes from the tree native to the state, the sabal palmetto. Because of their soft wood, these trees were used to build forts during the Revolutionary War.

  • Geographic Features and Landforms

  • South Carolina is roughly shaped like a triangle and borders North Carolina in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and Georgia in the south and west. There are three regions in the state.
  • South Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountain Province is located in the northwest corner of the state. Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in the state, is a forested peak.
  • Approximately a third of the state is covered by the Piedmont Province, which stretches southeastward from the mountains to the midlands. In the west, the hills are higher. The Sandhills, along its eastern edge, are covered with coarse sand that scientists believe was deposited by ancient oceans.
  • About two-thirds of the state is covered by the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which extends west from the ocean. It is mostly flat and has rivers and swamps. A sandy beach like Myrtle Beach can also be found on the coastline. Fertile hills can also be found inland. Forested Pine Barrens cover most of the central plain.

  • The Natural World

    Among the mammals that live here are wild pigs, bobcats, gray foxes, and river otters. Carolina chickadees and Carolina wrens are two of the state's avian species. Reptiles found in South Carolina include American alligators, corn snakes, and gopher tortoises. Also found in the state are amphibians like the eastern narrowmouth toad and the pine barrens tree frog.

    The palmetto may be South Carolina's most famous tree, however other trees such as loblolly pines, live oaks, and southern magnolias also grow here. In addition to the Carolina wild petunia, there is also the Carolina phlox, Carolina desert-thorn, Carolina silverbell, and Carolina geranium, all of which bear the state's name.

    Natural Resources

    More than 67 percent of South Carolina's land is forested, and forests are a major natural resource, especially loblolly pine. In addition to kaolin, mica, and vermiculite, South Carolina is one of the nation's top producers of these minerals.

    Some Fun Facts About South Carolina

  • The Sea Pines Shell Ring is a mysterious circle of 4,000-year-old shells found on Hilton Head Island. Native Americans may have ceremonially used it.
  • Visitors can explore naval ships at Patriots Point in Charleston Harbor, including the U.S.S. Yorktown aircraft carrier, a submarine, and a destroyer.
  • Among the famous people born in South Carolina are baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson, civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman, and musicians James Brown, Chubby Checker, and Dizzy Gillespie.