Posted by: Daniel Cisek, Deputy Press Attaché
State Capital: Columbia
Motto: Dum Spiro Spero – “While I breathe, I hope.”
Although I’m not from South Carolina, I’ve had the good fortune to visit this picturesque state, including the historic port city of Charleston. South Carolina is known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, parks and golf courses, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and as the setting for important events in U.S. history. Its nickname is the Palmetto State, in honor of its distinctive sabal palmetto palm trees that grow up to 20 meters high.
South Carolina is graced with a warm climate that makes for a pleasant visit during much of the year, especially along the Atlantic coast, although summer can be quite hot and December to February are rather cool. Golf is a particular passion for visitors and locals alike, with 368 golf courses in the state. Myrtle Beach is well known for its magnificent beaches, with golf, shopping, amusement parks, museums, and other entertainment activities. Hilton Head Island is famous for its 12-mile stretch of beautiful beaches. The island has some of the best golf and tennis facilities in the Southeast United States. There is also fishing, biking, boating, shopping, and horseback riding. Natural harmony has been preserved on the island – no buildings can be higher than the trees and no billboards are allowed.
South Carolina also boasts eight national parks and monuments, including Congaree National Park, which is home to the largest old-growth floodplain forest in North America. The trees are some of the tallest in the United States. The abundant wildlife includes barred owls, flying squirrels, and river otters. Other national parks and monuments include the Cowpens National Battlefield, Fort Sumter National Monument, Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ninety Six National Historic Site, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor. There are also dozens of beautiful state parks and recreation areas.
South Carolina contains a number of well-regarded universities and colleges. The leading institutions include Clemson University, the University of South Carolina in Columbia, Furman University in Greenville, and the College of Charleston, which was founded in 1770 and is recognized for its high standards of undergraduate education. There are dozens of other universities, colleges, and community colleges that provide opportunities for students with a wide range of interests and academic backgrounds.
Many well-known Americans were born in South Carolina, including President Andrew Jackson, jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, rock and roll pioneer Chubby Checker, soul and funk master James Brown, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, world champion boxer Joe Frazier, and the comedians Stephen Colbert and Chris Rock.
South Carolina was one of the original 13 English colonies that became the United States. It was named after King Charles I of England, who first awarded the land to settlers in 1629. The territory of Carolina split into the separate colonies of North and South Carolina in 1710. The state played an important role in the Revolutionary War against England, events that are commemorated in several of its national parks. South Carolina was a slave-holding state and strongly opposed efforts by abolitionists to end slavery or at least stop its spread into new territories in the west. After the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 on a platform of preventing the spread of slavery to new territories, South Carolina was the first state to declare its secession from the Union. The first shots of the American Civil War were fired in Charleston in April 1861, when local forces attacked Fort Sumter, which was controlled by federal troops. The fort is still preserved as a national historic site, and I can well remember my own visit there and feeling the weight of history in the air.