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South Carolina

South Carolina is a state in the southeastern 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. The state is named after King Charles I of England. As of 2000, the state's population is 4,012,012.

Several ships in the United States Navy have been named USS South Carolina in honor of this state.


History and government

On February 5, 1778 South Carolina became the first state to ratify the first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation.

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States in 1860, to form the Confederate States of America, precipitating the Civil War. The initial battle of this war happened at Fort Sumter, which stands on an island in Charleston harbor. Students from The Citadel fired the first shots of the war at Union troops in Fort Sumter.

See List of Governors of South Carolina, South Carolina Legislature


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2003, South Carolina's population was estimated at 4,147,152 people.

The racial makeup of the state is:

The 5 largest ancestry groups in South Carolina are African American (29.5%), American (13.9%), German (8.4%), English (8.4%), Irish (7.9%).

6.6% of South Carolina's population were reported as under 5, 25.2% under 18, and 12.1% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.4% of the population.


The religious affiliations of the citizens of South Carolina are:

  • Protestant ? 86%
  • Roman Catholic ? 6%
  • Other Christian ? 2%
  • Other Religions ? 1%
  • Non-Religious ? 3%

The three largest Protestant denominations in South Carolina are: Baptist (47% of the total state population), Methodist (16%), Presbyterian (4%).


See: List of South Carolina counties

South Carolina is bounded to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia, across the Savannah River, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. The capital and largest city is Columbia. Other important cities are Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg, Sumter, and Florence.

South 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. Its better drained areas make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy. Rising sea has drowned some of the coastline, creating 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 origin of which is uncertain, though a prominent theory is that they were created by a meteor shower. The bays all tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation.

Just west of the coastal plain is a thin strip of sand hills which are thought to be remnants of old coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken or the oceans were higher.

Gossypium hirsutum Mature cotton almost ready to pick
Gossypium hirsutum
Mature cotton almost ready to pick
Manning, South Carolina

Next comes the piedmont, which is the roots of an old mountain chain that has been almost entirely eroded away. It tends to be hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, except for a few pockets of good farm land. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed but found wanting 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 that uses this resource were the stimulus for several cities, including the capital, Columbia. The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, so this provided a trade route for the growing fall line mill towns.

The upper part of the Piedmont is also known as the mountain foothills. The Cherokee Parkway has established a very scenic route through this area.

Finally the last geographic province is the mountains, which is only a small part of northwestern South Carolina, but continues into North Carolina and Georgia, as part of the southern Appalachian chain. In these mountains is Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point at an elevation of 3560 feet. Also in the mountains are the tourist areas of Table Rock and Caesar's Head. The Chattooga River is a favorite whitewater rafting place and was the scene of the movie Deliverance.

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Last updated: 10-13-2005 15:24:35
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