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South Carolina (SC) Fast Facts
Location and Geography: South Carolina is located on the southeastern coast of the United States, sandwiched between North Carolina and the state of Georgia. It is considered to be a part of the Deep South region of the U.S. both culturally and geographically.
Counties and Regions: South Carolina’s 46 counties can be generally said to be a part of one of the Upstate (northwestern), the Midlands (central), or the Lowcountry (coastal) regions. The geographical areas of South Carolina could probably be boiled down to the following:
- Blue Ridge Mountains
- Charleston Metropolitan Area
- Coastal South Carolina
- Columbia Metropolitan Area
- Rock Hill Metropolitan Area
- Sea Islands
Population: South Carolina is home to roughly 4.6 million people, and like much of the American South is seeing an influx of regent migrants. Its population is denser closer to the cities of the coast.
Major Cities: South Carolina’s capital is also its largest city, Columbia. It presides over the biggest metropolitan area in the state, containing over 767,000 people. The state’s next-largest city, Charleston, has nearly 660,000 people living in its metropolitan area and is of great historical and cultural importance.
Story Behind the Name: Like North Carolina, South Carolina was originally part of an English colony known as the Province of Carolina. It was named after King Charles I, whose Latin name is “Carolus.”
History and Colonization: Present-day South Carolina was first explored by Europeans in the sixteenth century. Spanish explorers came to the area and set up a few colonies, but these tended to be poorly supported by the Spanish government and lived harsh existences. European diseases took a heavy toll on the local Native American population, but they managed to fight off and mostly expel the Spaniards by the seventeenth century. However, English people began arriving in full force in the 1670s, and their colonization efforts were altogether more successful.
The original English colony, the Province of Carolina, split into northern and southern parts even before the American Revolution (South Carolina and North Carolina were two of the Thirteen Original Colonies). The two areas had different cultures and different economic interests, and developed naturally into separate societies. The agricultural richness of South Carolina’s soil made it extremely attractive to plantation growers,
The importance of slavery in South Carolina’s economy led to increasing tensions with the northern states, especially over the issues of representation and whether slavery would be allowed in new territories in the West. In the 1860s, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and was the primary founder of the Confederacy. At the close of the Civil War, however, the state’s economy and infrastructure were devastated from the fighting, and poverty and political corruption became the norm.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s proved to be transformative in South Carolina, as segregation and the effects of racism were particularly strong in the state. At the same time, the agriculture industry that had been the backbone of South Carolina’s culture and economy was undergoing rapid changes. Over the decades, this has led to a switch to manufacturing and technology jobs in South Carolina, in addition to the development of a strong tourist industry centered around the natural beauty of its coast.