State: South Carolina – SC

Published on October 1st, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


The South Carolina state abbreviation is SC. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. This was the first of the 50 U.S. States to secede from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War.

Today we’ll take an in-depth look at the geography, climate, and history of this place. Before we dive into these things though, here are some key facts about SC:

  • Capital: Columbia
  • Total Area: 32,020 square miles (ranked 40th)
  • Population: 4,832,482 (ranked 24th)
  • Highest Point: Sassafras Mountain (3,560 ft)
  • Admitted to the Union: May 23, 1788 (8th)
  • Time Zone: Eastern UTC -5/-4
  • Nickname: The Palmetto State
  • Motto(s): Dum spiro spero (Latin for While I breathe I hope) and Animis opibusque parati (Latin for Prepared in Mind and Resources)
  • State Bird: Carolina wren, Wild turkey
  • Amphibian: Salamander
  • Butterfly: Eastern tiger swallowtail
  • Fish: Striped bass
  • Flower: South Carolina Yellow jessamine
  • Insect: Carolina Mantis
  • Mammal: Carolina Marsh Tacky, Boykin Spaniel, White-tailed deer
  • Reptile: Loggerhead Sea Turtle
  • Tree: Sabal palmetto
  • State Flag
  • Official Website: sc.gov

map of south Carolina in the United States

SC State Overview

After rice and indigo became major commodity crops, the area was established as a slave society. From 1708 on, a vast majority of the population was composed of slaves who had been born in Africa.

This was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation and the eigth to  ratify the U.S. Constitution on May 23, 1788. It was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20th, 1860. After the American Civil War it was readmitted to the Union on June 25th, 1868.

It is 40th most extensive and the 24th most populated U.S. state. The GDP as of 2013 was $183.6 billion with a growth rate of 3.13%. The capital and largest city is Columbia with a population of 133,358 in 2013.

The name “Carolina” dates back to October 30, 1629. It was on this date that King Charles I granted a patent to Sir Robert Heath for the lands south of 36 degrees and north of 31 degrees “under the name, in honor of that king, of Carolina.” Charles in Latin is Carolus. 

Map of South Carolina

Geographical Features and Climate

SC is divided into five areas, also known as physiographic provinces which roughly run parallel to the Atlantic coastline. In the southeastern part is the Atlantic Coastal Plain which is further divided into the Outer and Inner regions.

Running from north to south, the coast is divided into three areas: the Grand Strand, the Santee River Delta, and the Sea Islands. Further inland is the Sandhills which are ancient dunes left over from what used to be the coastline millions of years ago.

The Fall Line is the limit of navigable rivers. It runs along the boundary of the Sandhills and the Piedmont which is composed of rolling hills and clay soil. In the northwestern corner of the state is the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is the smallest geographical region in SC.

The coastline is made up of salt marshes and estuaries in addition to ports like Georgetown and Charleston. There are an unusually large number of Carolina bays which are oval and line up in a northwest or southeast orientation. The origin of them is unknown.

The Upstate region houses what is left of an ancient and eroded mountain chain. It is hilly with thin, stony clay soil and doesn’t have much land suitable for farming. The highest area in elevation is the Blue Ridge Mountains which continue into North Carolina and Georgia as part of the Appalachian Mountains.

There are twelve major lakes in SC which cover  683 square miles. Despite its location, earthquakes do occur in South Carolina. The most common ones occur along the central coastline. The Charleston area for example averages between ten and fifteen earthquakes each year.

The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was the largest quake to strike the Southeastern United States. It had a magnitude of 7.2 and killed 60 people, along with destroying a good portion of the city. The faults in this area are difficult to study because they are covered in thick sedimentation.

Many of  the faults are also within the plates instead of along plate boundaries. In terms of climate, SC is classified as a humid subtropical climate. Summers here are hot and humid with generally even temperatures.

Winters are not so simple, The coast enjoys more mild winters with temperatures as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Inland, the average overnight low is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall is not common in most parts of the state. In fact, the coast sometimes doesn’t get any at all.

Hurricanes are sometimes an issue here. During the peak season between June 1st and November 30th, hurricanes have been known to strike here. Hurricanes Hazel and Hugo were both Category 4 hurricanes to hit the state.

The History of South Carolina

As one of the thirteen original colonies, the first settlers in this area were part of the Hernando de Soto expedition. They brought with them diseases which decimated the local Indian population because they were not immune.

The first settlers to come to the Province of Carolina arrived at the port of Charleston in 1670. They consisted mostly of weathly planters and their slaves from the British Caribbean colony of Barbados. In 1719 it officially became a crown colony, at which point North Carolina was split off and made into a separate colony in 1729.

The Stamp Act Crisis of 1765 was when SC started revolting against British rule. In March 1776 it became independent and joined the United States. Major crops in the early decades were cotton, indigo, and tobacco.

The invention of the cotton gin in the 19th century enabled cotton to be far more profitable. The state seceded in 1860 after Abraham Lincoln vowed to prevent the expansion of slavery. It joined the Confederate States of American in February of 1861.

After the Civil War, the state’s economy was ruined and for the next century it was one of the poorest states. In the 1950’s, industry started to take hold in the area, bringing in new service industries and reviving the economy. Today the population still continues to grow.

Final Thoughts

Before you head onto another article, be sure to check out our list of South Carolina state facts. Feel free to leave a comment below with any information you’d like to add about this state. Thanks for reading!

printable-map-south-carolina



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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