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South Carolina

South Carolina: Palmetto State

CAPITAL: Columbia
JOINED UNION: May 23, 1788
STATE BIRD: Carolina Wren
STATE FLOWER: Carolina Jessamine
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named in honor of England's King Charles I
1992 POPULATION: 3,603,227
LAND AREA: 30,111 square miles
ECONOMY: Textiles, tourism, chemicals, clothes, agriculture
HISTORY: Home to Indian tribes like the Pedee, South Carolina was explored by the French and Spanish in the 1500s, but never settled. In 1670, the English made the state's first settlement on the Ashley River and moved themselves to Charleston in 1680. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and saw much fighting during the Civil War, beginning with Fort Sumter in 1861. Today, South Carolina's coastal beaches are home to luxurious resorts like Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach.

Cotton -- The Fabric Of Slavery 1793


While abundant water sources gave New England the power needed to run textile mills as early as 1790, it was the South that provided the land and, through slavery, the cheap labor to make cotton the region's top source of income. For this reason the plant was called "King Cotton" and ruled the Southern economy, even after the Civil War.

In 1793, northerner Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin on a South Carolina plantation. The gin quickly and cheaply removed seeds from cotton. Previously, cotton had just been planted near the coast, the only place where cotton with easily-removable seeds could grow. Now, cotton could be grown inland as well, expanding the need for slaves to work the crops.

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