The land that is coastal SC and its lowcountry was wild and inhabited by local Indian tribes, as it probably had been for thousands of years before, when Spanish ships began visiting the SC coast in 1536. These ships sailed from the “new world” Caribbean islands Columbus had discovered in 1492 on his Spanish-sponsored voyage of discovery. The Spanish, always looking for ways to expand trade with this newly discovered land, ruthlessly appropriated the natural ports for themselves and established makeshift forts along the coast. The French, never to be outdone by the Spanish, also established small encampments along the coast populated in part by French Protestants who wanted religious freedom and were willing to go to across the Atlantic to get it. French and Spanish place names still exist or, at least, Anglicized versions of the originals do and many local citizens still bear old French family names. Neither the French nor Spanish, though, could maintain a monopoly on this new territory.
In late 1669 or early 1670, English colonists, led by supporters of Charles II, arrived, chose the best of the natural harbors and began a settlement they named in honor of their king, Charles-town. The surrounding land itself was also named for Charles II using the Latin original of his name: Carolus--Carolina. Many of these English colonists had connections to upper class English society and received large grants of land (baronies) in Georgetown and other areas of South Carolina on which to establish plantations producing crops that would be shipped back to England and other European countries. In this way, the British Crown could receive something valuable (cotton, rice, indigo, etc.) by giving away what it felt was an abundance of unused land in the faraway “American” British colonies.
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