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South Carolina (Template:IPAc-en) is a state in the United States that borders Georgia to the south and North Carolina to the north. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution.

The colony was originally named in honor of King Charles I, as Carolus is Latin for Charles.

South Carolina was the first state to vote to secede from the Union and was the founding state of the Confederate States of America.

According to an estimate by the United States Census Bureau, the state's population in 2009 was 4,561,242 and ranked 24th among the U.S. states. South Carolina contains 46 counties and its capital is Columbia.


File:SC cityandtown Map.png

Map of South Carolina cities and towns

South Carolina is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.

South Carolina is composed of thirty-six geographic areas, whose boundaries roughly parallel the northeast/southwest Atlantic coastline. In the Southeast part of the state is the Coastal Zone, with the lowest elevations, which is divided into three separate areas, the Grand Strand, the Santee River Delta, and the Barrier Islands. To the Northwest (inland) are the Coastal Plains, often divided into the Outer and Inner Coastal Plains, also known as the Lowcountry. Further inland, and higher in elevation are the Sandhills, which used to be South Carolina's fall line. Inland from the Sandhills is the Piedmont, which is hilly, and contains many major cities. The region with the highest elevation, in the Northwest of the state, is the Blue Ridge Region, a mountainous area which is the smallest region.

The state's coastline contains 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 origins of which are uncertain. One prominent theory suggests that they were created by a meteor shower. The bays tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation.

The terrain is flat and the soil is composed entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy.

Palmetto State
State Symbols
State Capital: Columbia
State Mottos: Dum spiro spero
(While I breathe, I hope)
and Animis opibusque parati
(Prepared in Mind and Resources)
State Slogan: Smiling Faces Beautiful Places
State Songs: "Carolina" and
"South Carolina On My Mind"
State Tree: Sabal palmetto
State Flower: South Carolina Yellow jessamine
State Bird: Carolina Wren
State Wild Game Bird: Wild Turkey
State Heritage Horse: Carolina Marsh Tacky
State Dog: Boykin Spaniel[1]
State Animal: White-tailed deer
State Reptile: Loggerhead Sea Turtle
State Amphibian: Salamander
State Fish: Striped bass
State Insect: Carolina Mantis
State Butterfly: Eastern tiger swallowtail
State Fruit: Peach[2]
State Beverage: Milk[3]
State Hospitality
State Gemstone: Amethyst
State Stone: Blue granite
State Popular Music: Beach music
State Dance: Shag
State Snack: Boiled peanuts[5]
State Craft: Sweetgrass Basket weaving
State Quarter File:South Carolina quarter, reverse side, 2000.jpg

Just west of the coastal plain is the Sandhills region, also known as the Midlands. This region of the state is thought to contain remnants of old coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken or the oceans were higher.

The Piedmont (Upstate) region contains the roots of an ancient, eroded mountain chain. It is generally hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, and contains few areas suitable for farming. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed, with little success. It is now reforested. At the southeastern 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. Mills built to harness this resource encouraged the growth of several cities, including the capital, Columbia. The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing a trade route for mill towns.

The northwestern part of the Piedmont is also known as the Foothills. The Cherokee Parkway is a scenic driving route through this area. This is where Table Rock State Park is located.

Highest in elevation is the Blue Ridge Region, containing an escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which continue into North Carolina and Georgia, as part of the southern Appalachian chain. Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point at 3,560 feet (1,085 m) is located in this area.[6] Also located in this area is Caesars Head State Park. The Chattooga River, located on the border between South Carolina and Georgia, is a favorite whitewater rafting destination.

Earthquakes do occur in South Carolina. The greatest frequency is along the central coastline of the state, in the Charleston area. South Carolina averages 10–15 earthquakes a year below magnitude 3 (FEMA). The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was the largest quake to ever hit the Southeastern United States. This 7.2 magnitude earthquake killed 60 people and destroyed much of the city.[7]. Faults in this region are difficult to study at the surface due to thick sedimentation on top of them. Many of the ancient faults are within plates rather than along plate boundaries.


File:Lake Moultrie.jpg

Lake Moultrie

South Carolina has several major lakes covering over 683 square miles, or 437,672 acres (1,770 km2). The following are the lakes listed by size.[8]

  • Lake Marion 110,000 acres (450 km2)
  • Lake Strom Thurmond 71,100 acres (290 km2)
  • Lake Moultrie 60,000 acres (240 km2)
  • Lake Hartwell 56,000 acres (230 km2)
  • Lake Murray 50,000 acres (200 km2)
  • Russell Lake 26,650 acres (110 km2)
  • Lake Keowee 18,372 acres (70 km2)
  • Lake Wylie 13,400 acres (50 km2)
  • Lake Wateree 13,250 acres (50 km2)
  • Lake Greenwood 11,400 acres (50 km2)
  • Lake Jocassee 7,500 acres (30 km2)


South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), although high elevation areas in the "Upstate" or "Upcountry" area have less subtropical characteristics than areas on the Atlantic coastline. In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging between Template:Convert/F in most of the state and overnight lows averaging Template:Convert/F on the coast and from Template:Convert/F inland. Winter temperatures are much less uniform in South Carolina. Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters with high temperatures approaching an average of Template:Convert/°F and overnight lows in the 40s°F (5-8 °C). Inland, the average January overnight low is around Template:Convert/°F in Columbia and just below freezing in the Upstate. While precipitation is abundant the entire year in almost the entire state, the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, while inland March tends to be the wettest month.

Snowfall in South Carolina is not common, with coastal areas receiving less than an inch (2.5 cm) annually on average. It is not uncommon for areas on the coast (especially the southern coast) to receive no recordable snowfall in a given year. The interior receives a little more snow, although nowhere in the state averages more than 6 inches (15.24 cm) of snow annually. The mountains of extreme Northwestern South Carolina tend to have the most substantial snow accumulation. Freezing rain tends to be a more common occurrence than snow in many areas. The many bridges in South Carolina are commonly marked: Bridge freezes over before road does.

The state is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones. This is an annual concern during hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30. The peak time of vulnerability for the southeast Atlantic coast is from early August to early October, during the Cape Verde hurricane season. Two memorable Category 4 hurricanes to hit South Carolina were Hazel (1954) and Hugo (1989). South Carolina averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year. This is less than some of the states further south, and it is slightly less vulnerable to tornadoes than the states which border on the Gulf of Mexico. Still, some notable tornadoes have struck South Carolina and the state averages around 14 tornadoes annually. Hail is quite common with many of the thunderstorms in the state as there is often a marked contrast in temperature of warmer ground conditions compared to the cold air aloft.[9]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various South Carolina Cities In °Fahrenheit
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Charleston 59/37 62/39 69/46 76/52 83/61 88/68 91/72 89/72 85/67 77/55 70/46 62/39
Columbia 55/34 60/36 67/44 76/51 83/60 89/68 92/72 90/71 85/65 76/52 67/43 58/36
Greenville 50/31 55/34 63/40 71/47 78/56 85/64 89/69 87/68 81/62 71/50 61/41 53/34

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various South Carolina Cities In °Celsius (rounded)
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Charleston 15/3 17/4 21/8 23/11 28/16 31/20 33/22 32/22 29/19 25/13 21/8 17/4
Columbia 13/1 16/2 19/7 24/11 28/16 32/20 33/22 32/22 29/18 24/11 19/6 14/2
Greenville 10/-1 13/1 17/4 22/8 26/13 30/18 32/21 31/20 27/17 22/10 16/5 12/1


Early years[]

File:Arcadia Plantation 1893 Georgetown County.jpg

Arcadia Plantation, circa 1893, Georgetown County

The colony of Carolina was settled by English settlers, mostly from Barbados, sent by the Lords Proprietors in 1670, followed by French Huguenots. The original Carolina proprietors were aware of the threat posed by the French and Spanish colonies to the south, whose Roman Catholic monarchies were enemies of England and English Protestant values. They needed to act swiftly to attract settlers. Therefore, they were one of the first colonies to grant liberty of religious practice to attract settlers who were Baptists, Quakers, Huguenots and Presbyterians.[12]

Jewish immigration was specifically encouraged in the Fundamental Constitutions, since Jews were seen as reliable citizens. The Jewish immigrants were fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, which was also carried out in the Spanish colonies in the New World.[13] During the colonial period, Africans were the largest group, with a minority transported as indentured servants and the majority transported in the Middle Passage to be slaves. They constituted a majority of the colony's population throughout the period. The Carolina upcountry was settled largely by Scots-Irish migrants from Pennsylvania and Virginia, who followed the Great Wagon Road into the South.

From 1670–1717, English and British traders spurred the economy in South Carolina by conducting a booming trade in Indian slaves. The slave trade affected the entire southeast region. They bought or traded for slaves from American Indian tribes south of the Tennessee and east of the Mississippi rivers. Indians competed for European trade goods, including cloth and guns.[14]

File:Mansfield Plantation driveway Georgetown County.jpg

Driveway, Mansfield Plantation, Georgetown County.

Historian Alan Gallay estimates that Carolinians exported 24,000-51,000 Indian slaves during this period.[14] Oppressed by the slave trade, an alliance among the tribes developed, and they attacked the settlers in the Province of South Carolina in the Yamasee War (1715–1717). Its casualty rate was among the highest of the Indian Wars; for more than a year, the Indians seriously threatened the continued existence of the colony.

Many settlers were dissatisfied with the Proprietors who governed the colony. As a result, Carolina was split, and South Carolina became a royal colony in 1719. The emerging planter class had been using revenues from the sale of Indian slaves to finance the purchase of enslaved Africans; after the Yamasee War, South Carolina colonists turned to using exclusively African slaves for labor for their new commodity crops of rice and indigo. The Africans provided critical technical knowledge and skills for the cultivation and processing of both crops.[14]

The American Revolution[]

On March 15, 1776, the colony declared its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government, the first colony to do so [15]. To win South Carolina's support for the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson removed all material from the document that condemned slavery. On February 5, 1778, South Carolina became the first state to ratify the American Constitution as an entity — the Articles of Confederation. However, in 1780, South Carolinian loyalists to the British crown helped British troops recapture South Carolina from the previously successful rebels. On the date of January 17, 1781, the Battle of Cowpens would take place for the reconquest of South Carolina by the United States.

The current United States Constitution was proposed for adoption by the States on September 17, 1787, and South Carolina was the 8th state to ratify it, on May 23, 1788.

The American Revolution caused a shock to slavery in the South. Tens of thousands of slaves fought with the British to obtain freedom, and thousands left with them in the last days of the war; others secured their freedom by escaping in the turmoil. Estimates are that 25,000 slaves (30% of those in South Carolina) fled, migrated or died during the disruption of the war.[16]


This historic home is at "The Battery," a neighborhood/park area at the Downtown Historic District of Charleston - a well-known historical city in South Carolina. "The Battery" is also known as White Point Gardens.

The Federal Period[]

South Carolina politics between 1783 and 1795 were marred by rivalry between a Federalist elite supporting the central government in Philadelphia and a large proportion of common people. The latter were often members of 'Republican Societies', and they supported the Republican-Democrats, headed by Jefferson and Madison. This party wanted more democracy in the US, especially in South Carolina.

Most people supported the French Revolution (1789–1795), as the French had been allies and they were proud of their own revolution. Charleston was the most French-influenced city in the USA (New Orleans). Leading South Carolina figures, such as governors Charles Pinckney and William Moultrie, backed with money and actions the French plans to further their political, strategic, and commercial goals in North America. This pro-French stance and attitude of South Carolina ended soon because of the XYZ Affair.


Antebellum, South Carolina did more to advance nullification and secession than any other Southern state. In 1832, a South Carolina state convention passed the Ordinance of Nullification, declaring the Federal tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional, null and not to be enforced in the state of South Carolina after February 1, 1833. This led to the Nullification Crisis, in which U. S. President Andrew Jackson received congressional authorization, through the Force Bill, to use whatever military force necessary to enforce Federal law in the state. This was the first U. S. legislation denying individual states the right to secede. As a result of Jackson's threat of force, the South Carolina state convention was re-convened and repealed the Ordinance of Nullification in March.

Anti-abolitionist feelings ran strong in South Carolina. In 1856, South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks entered the United States Senate chamber and, with a metal-tipped cane, beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. He drew blood and injured Sumner badly enough that the latter was unable to serve for several months. Brooks was retaliating for a speech Sumner had just given in which he attacked slavery and insulted South Carolinians. Brooks resigned his seat but received a hero's welcome on returning home.

The Civil War[]

On December 20, 1860, when it became clear that Lincoln would be the next president, South Carolina became the first state to declare its secession from the Union. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the American Civil War began. The Union Navy effectively blockaded Charleston and seized the Sea Islands. Planters had taken their families (and sometimes slaves) to points inland for refuge.

The Union Army set up an experiment in freedom for the ex-slaves, in which they started education and farmed land for themselves. South Carolina troops participated in major Confederate campaigns, but no major battles were fought inland. General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through the state in early 1865, destroying numerous plantations, and captured the state capital of Columbia on February 17. Fires began that night and by next morning, most of the central city was destroyed.

File:East bay street 2222.JPG

Coastal towns and cities often have hurricane-resistant Live oaks overarching the streets in historic neighborhoods, such as these on East Bay Street, Georgetown.


After the war, South Carolina was restored to the United States during Reconstruction. Under presidential Reconstruction (1865–66), freedmen (former slaves) were given limited rights. Under Radical reconstruction (1867–1877), a Republican coalition of freedmen, carpetbaggers and scalawags was in control, supported by Union Army forces. The withdrawal of Union soldiers as part of the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction. White Democrats used paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts to intimidate and terrorize black voters. They regained political control of the state under conservative white "Redeemers" and pro-business Bourbon Democrats.

Until the 1868 presidential election, South Carolina's legislature, not the voters, chose the state's electors for the presidential election. South Carolina was the last state to choose its electors in this manner.

Populist and Agrarian movements[]

The state became a hotbed of racial and economic tensions during the Populist and Agrarian movements of the 1890s. Passage of the new conservative constitution of 1895 meant that almost all blacks and many poor whites were effectively disfranchised by new requirements for poll taxes, residency and literacy tests. By 1896, only 5,500 black voters remained on the registration rolls.[17] The 1900 census demonstrated the extent of disfranchisement: African Americans comprised more than 58% of the state's population, but their total of 782,509 citizens was essentially without any political representation.[18] "Pitchfork Ben Tillman" controlled state politics from the 1890s to 1910 with a base among poor white farmers.

Women's Suffrage[]

Although the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified nationally in 1919, South Carolina did not ratify it until July 1, 1969. It did not certify the ratification until August 22, 1973.[citation needed] Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana ratified the Amendment in 1970 and 1971; only Mississippi implemented it later than South Carolina, not ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment until 1984.

20th century and beyond[]

Early in the 20th century, South Carolina developed a thriving textile industry. The state also converted its agricultural base from cotton to more profitable crops, attracted large military bases, and created tourism industries.

Like most states in the South, South Carolina continues to struggle with desegregation. The integration of Clemson University is an example of a state institution's ability to achieve "integration with dignity".[19] Of extended controversy has been the State's display of the Flags of the Confederate States of America. On July 1, 2000, South Carolina became the last state to remove the Confederate Flag from over its statehouse (it had originally been placed there in 1962). The state Senate had approved a bill for its removal on April 12, 2000 by a margin of 36 to 7; the bill had specified that a Confederate flag be flown in front of the Capitol next to a monument honoring fallen Confederate soldiers. Debate was more heated in the state House of Representatives, which passed the bill on May 18, 2000 by a margin of only 66 to 43, after including a measure's ensuring that the Confederate flag by the monument be 30 feet high.[20] The flag by the monument continues to cause controversy. The NAACP maintains an economic boycott of the state of South Carolina. The NCAA refuses to allow South Carolina to host NCAA athletic events whose locations are determined in advance.[21] On July 6, 2009, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced a decision to move three future baseball tournaments out of South Carolina, citing concerns by the NAACP over the continuing state-sponsored display of the Confederate flag.[22]



File:South Carolina population map.png

South Carolina population density map.

South Carolina's center of population is Template:Unit length north of the State House in the city of Columbia.[23]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2009, South Carolina had an estimated population of 4,561,242, which is an increase of 57,962 from the prior year and an increase of 549,230, or 13.6%, since the year 2000. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 36,401 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 115,084 people. Based on the 2000 Census South Carolina was ranked 21st in population density with just over 133 persons per sq. mi.[citation needed]

According to the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, South Carolina's foreign-born population grew faster than any other state between 2000 and 2005.[24] The Consortium reports that the number of Hispanics in South Carolina is greatly undercounted by census enumerators and may be more than 400,000.[24][25]

Template:US Demographics The five largest ancestry groups in South Carolina are African American (29.5%), American (13.9%), English (8.4%), German (8.4%) and Irish (7.9%). For most of South Carolina's history, African slaves, and then their descendants, made up a majority of the state's population. Whites became a majority in the early 20th century, when tens of thousands of blacks moved north in the Great Migration. Most of the African-American population lives in the Lowcountry (especially the inland Lowcountry) and the Midlands - areas where cotton, rice, and indigo plantations once dominated the landscape. 6.6% of South Carolina's population were reported as under 5 years old, 25.2% under 18, and 12.1% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.4% of the population in 2000.

Most populous counties[]

South Carolina Office of Research & Statistics (Projection) Census Bureau(Estimates)

County Seat 2007 Population 2010 Projection
Greenville Greenville 428,243 431,630
Richland Columbia 357,734 354,380
Charleston Charleston 339,973 345,140
Spartanburg Spartanburg 275,534 300,500
Horry Conway 249,925 251,390
Lexington Lexington 243,270 254,920
York York 208,827 233,568

Cities and Towns[]

Largest Cities (estimates)[]

  • Columbia - 127,000
  • Charleston - 112,000
  • North Charleston - 101,000
  • Rock Hill - 68,000
  • Mount Pleasant - 65,000
  • Greenville - 61,000
  • Summerville - 50,000
  • Sumter - 43,000
  • Goose Creek - 40,000
  • Spartanburg - 40,000

  • Hilton Head Island - 33,000
  • Myrtle Beach-33,000
  • Florence - 31,000
  • James Island - 29,000
  • Aiken - 29,000
  • Anderson - 26,000
  • Greer - 26,000
  • Greenwood - 22,000
  • Easley - 18,000
  • North Augusta - 17,000

Largest City Areas[]

South Carolina's metro areas are actually much larger than their central city population counts suggest. South Carolina law makes it difficult for municipalities to annex unincorporated areas into the city limits, so city proper populations look smaller than the actual size of the area. For example, Spartanburg and Myrtle Beach each have municipal populations less than 50,000 persons, but their metro areas (MSA's) are over 200,000. Anderson's municipal population is smaller than Sumter's, but the Anderson area is actually much larger. The Sumter area population is under 100,000, but Anderson's is over 120,000, while Anderson County's population is nearing 200,000.

Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville all have urbanized area populations between 350,000-500,000, while their metro area (MSA) populations are all over 600,000. The Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson consolidated statistical area population consists of approximately 1.2 million people.


South Carolina, like most other Southern states, has a Protestant Christian majority, and a lower percentage of non-religious people than the national average. The religious affiliations of the people of South Carolina are as follows:

  • Christian: 92%
    • Protestant: 84%
      • Southern Baptist: 45%
      • Methodist: 15%
      • Presbyterian: 5%
      • Other Protestant: 19%
    • Roman Catholic: 7%
    • Other Christian: 1%
  • Other Religions: 1%
  • Non-Religious: 7%

Sephardic Jews have lived in the state for more than 300 years,[26][27][28] especially in and around Charleston.[29] Until about 1830, South Carolina had the largest population of Jews in North America. Many of South Carolina's Jews have assimilated into Christian society, shrinking Judaism down to less than 1% of the total religious makeup. In addition, Roman Catholicism is growing in South Carolina due to immigration from the North.


File:Arthur Ravenel Bridge (from water).jpg

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston Harbor.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, South Carolina's gross state product in current dollars was $97 billion in 1997, and $153 billion in 2007. Its per-capita real gross domestic product (GDP) in chained 2000 dollars was $26,772 in 1997, and $28,894 in 2007; that represents 85% of the $31,619 per-capita real GDP for the United States overall in 1997, and 76% of the $38,020 for the U.S. in 2007.[30]

Major agricultural outputs of the state are: tobacco, poultry, cattle, dairy products, soybeans, rice and hogs. Industrial outputs include: textile goods, chemical products, paper products, machinery, automobiles and automotive products and tourism.

The state was especially hard hit by the 2008 economic crisis. As of January 2010, the states unemployment rate is 12.6%.[31]


Major highways[]

Major interstate highways passing through the state include: I-20 which runs from Florence in the east through Columbia to the southwestern border near Aiken; I-26 which runs from Charleston in the southeast through Columbia to Spartanburg and the northern border in Spartanburg County; I-77 which runs from York County in the north to Columbia; I-85 which runs from Cherokee County in the north through Spartanburg and Greenville to the southwestern border in Oconee County; I-385 which runs from Greenville and intersects with I-26 near Clinton; and I-95 which runs from the northeastern border in Dillon County to Florence and on to the southern border in Jasper County.

In March 2008, "The American State Litter Scorecard," presented at the American Society for Public Administration conference, rated South Carolina a nationally "Worst" state for removing litter from public properties such as highways. The state has an extremely high fatality rate from litter/debris-related vehicle accidents, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.[32]



Amtrak operates four passenger routes in South Carolina: the Crescent, the Palmetto, the Silver Meteor, and the Silver Star. The Crescent route serves the Upstate cities, the Silver Star serves the Midlands cities, and the Palmetto and Silver Meteor routes serve the Lowcountry cities.

Station Stops[]

Station Connections
Camden Template:Rail color box
Charleston Template:Rail color boxTemplate:Rail color box
Columbia Template:Rail color box
Clemson Template:Rail color box
Denmark Template:Rail color box
Dillon Template:Rail color box
Florence Template:Rail color boxTemplate:Rail color box
Greenville Template:Rail color box
Kingstree Template:Rail color boxTemplate:Rail color box
Spartanburg Template:Rail color box
Yemassee Template:Rail color boxTemplate:Rail color box


South Carolina is served by many freight carriers, but the most common carriers are CSX Transportation (CSXT) and The Norfolk Southern Railway (NS).

Major and regional airports[]

There are seven significant airports in South Carolina, all of which act at regional airport hubs. The busiest by passenger volume is Charleston International Airport.[33] Just across the border in North Carolina is Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the 30th busiest airport in the world, in terms of passengers.[34]

  • Columbia Metropolitan Airport - Columbia
  • Charleston International Airport - Charleston
  • Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport - Greenville/Spartanburg
  • Florence Regional Airport - Florence
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport - Myrtle Beach
  • Hilton Head Airport - Hilton Head Island/Beaufort
  • Rock Hill/York County Airport - Rock Hill

Government and politics[]


South Carolina State House

South Carolina's state government consists of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.

South Carolina has historically had a weak executive branch and a strong legislature. Before 1865, governors in South Carolina were appointed by the General Assembly, and held the title "President of State." The 1865 Constitution changed this process, requiring a popular election. In 1926 the governor's term was changed to four years, and in 1982 governors were allowed to run for a second term. In 1993 a limited cabinet was created, all of which must be popularly elected.

Executive branch[]

The South Carolina Constitution provides for separate election of nine executive officers, which is very large compared to most states:

  • Governor of South Carolina
  • Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
  • South Carolina Attorney General
  • South Carolina Adjutant General
  • South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture
  • South Carolina Comptroller General
  • Secretary of State of South Carolina
  • South Carolina State Treasurer
  • South Carolina Superintendent of Education

The governor of South Carolina is the chief executive of the state. The governor is elected for a four-year term and may serve up to two consecutive terms. The current governor is Republican Mark Sanford. Sanford was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

Each officer is elected at the same time as the Governor. The separately elected positions allow for the possibility of multiple parties to be represented in the executive branch. The Governor's Cabinet also contains several appointed positions. In most cases, persons who fill cabinet-level positions are recommended by the governor and appointed by the Senate.[35]

Legislative branch[]

The South Carolina General Assembly is the state legislature. It is bicameral, consisting of a 124-member South Carolina House of Representatives and a 46-member South Carolina Senate. Representatives serve two-year terms and Senators serve four-year terms. The two houses meet in the South Carolina State House.

Judicial branch[]

The Family Court deals with all matters of domestic and family relationships, as well as generally maintaining exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving minors under the age of seventeen, excepting traffic and game law violations. Some criminal charges may come under Circuit Court jurisdiction.

The South Carolina Circuit Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction court for South Carolina. It consists of a civil division (the Court of Common Pleas) and a criminal division (the Court of General Sessions). It is also a superior court, having limited appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the lower Probate Court, Magistrate's Court, and Municipal Court, and appeals from the Administrative Law Judge Division, which hears matters relating to state administrative and regulatory agencies. South Carolina's 46 counties are divided into 16 judicial circuits, and there are currently 46 judges. Circuit court judges are elected by the General Assembly to staggered six-year terms.

The South Carolina Court of Appeals is the state intermediate appellate court. It hears all Circuit Court and Family Court appeals, excepting appeals that are within the seven classes of exclusive Supreme Court jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals is selected by the General Assembly to staggered six-year terms. The court comprises a chief judge, and eight associate judges, and may hear cases as the whole court, or as three panels with three judges each. The court may preside in any county.

The South Carolina Supreme Court is the state supreme court. The Chief Justice and four Associate Justices are elected to staggered ten-year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms a justice may serve, but there is a mandatory retirement age of 72. The overwhelming majority of vacancies on the Court occur when Justices reach this age, not through the refusal of the General Assembly to elect a sitting Justice to another term.

South Carolina Constitution[]

South Carolina has had seven constitutions:

  • 1776 - SC's first constitution
  • 1778 - Disestablished the Anglican Church, created a popularly elected upper house
  • 1790 - Expanded upcountry representation, further established General Assembly control over all aspects of government
  • 1861 - Confederate constitution
  • 1865 - Required to be readmitted to the Union, abolished property owning qualifications to vote, created popularly elected governor and granted veto power
  • 1868 - Only constitution to be ratified by popular vote, provided for public education, abolished property ownership as a qualification for office holding, created counties, race abolished as limit on male suffrage
  • 1895 - established attempts to disenfranchise black voters such as the option for poll taxes, literacy tests, etc.

Since 1895, there have been many calls for a new Constitution, one that is not based on the politics of a post-Civil War population. The most recent call for reformation was by Governor Mark Sanford in his 2008 State of the State speech. Several hundred amendments have been made to the 1895 Constitution (in 1966 there were 330 amendments). Amendments have been created to comply with Federal acts, and for many other issues. The most recent was in 1988. The volume of amendments makes South Carolina's Constitution one of the longest in the nation.[36]

Law enforcement agencies[]

  • South Carolina Department of Public Safety
    • South Carolina Highway Patrol Division
    • South Carolina State Transport Police Division
    • South Carolina Bureau of Protective Services
  • South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy
  • South Carolina Department of Corrections
  • SC Department of Corrections Training Academy
  • SC Department of Corrections Tactical Teams (Rapid Response Team-S.O.R.T.-Sitcon)
  • SC Department of Juvenile Justice
  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services
  • South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
    • Homeland Security
  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
    • South Carolina Climatology Department

Federal representation[]

Like most Southern states, South Carolina consistently voted Democratic in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century as a part of the Democrats' Solid South. The Republican Party became competitive in the 1960 presidential election when Richard Nixon lost the state to John F. Kennedy by just two percentage points. In 1964, Barry Goldwater became the first Republican to win the state since Reconstruction. Since then, South Carolina has voted for a Republican in every presidential election from 1964 to 2008, with the exception of 1976 when Jimmy Carter, from neighboring Georgia, won the state over Gerald Ford. John McCain won the state in 2008 with 54% of the statewide vote over Barack Obama. Republicans now hold the governor's office and eight of nine statewide offices, control both houses of legislature, and include both U.S. Senators, and four of six members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Every presidential election year, the South Carolina primary is the first such primary in the South and holds importance to both the Republicans and the Democrats. The primary is important to the Republicans because it is a conservative testing ground, and it holds importance to the Democrats because of the large proportion of African-Americans that vote in that primary. From 1980 to 2008 the winner in the Republican primary has gone on to become the party nominee.

US Senate[]

In the 110th United States Congress, the South Carolina delegation to the U.S. Senate are:

  • Lindsey Graham (R)
  • Jim DeMint (R)

US House of Representatives[]

South Carolina currently has six representatives in Congress:

  • District 1 - Henry E. Brown, Jr. (R)
  • District 2 - Joe Wilson (R)
  • District 3 - J. Gresham Barrett (R)
  • District 4 - Bob Inglis (R)
  • District 5 - John M. Spratt, Jr. (D)
  • District 6 - James Clyburn (D)

A district map is found here.


Even though the state does not allow casino gambling, it did allow the operation of video poker machines throughout the state with approximately $2 billion dollars per year deposited into the state's coffers. However, at midnight on July 1, 2000, a law took effect which outlawed the operation, ownership and possession of video poker machines in the state with machines required to be shut off at that time and removed from within the state's borders by July 8 or owners of such machines would face criminal prosecution.[37][38]


The state's personal income tax has a maximum marginal tax rate of 7 percent on taxable income of $13,351 and above.[39]

State sales tax revenues are used exclusively for education. There is a general state sales tax rate of 6%, and some items have different rates; e.g., the tax is 3% on unprepared food items and 7% on sleeping accommodation rentals. Individuals 85 or older get a one-percent exclusion from the general sales tax.[40] Counties may impose an additional 1% local option sales tax and other local sales taxes,[41] and local governments may impose a local accommodations tax of up to 3%.[40]

South Carolina imposes a casual excise tax of 5% on the fair market value of all motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats, motors and airplanes transferred between individuals. The maximum casual excise tax is $300.[41]

Property tax is administered and collected by local governments with assistance from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Both real and personal property are subject to tax. Approximately two-thirds of county-levied property taxes are used for the support of public education. Municipalities levy a tax on property situated within the limits of the municipality for services provided by the municipality. The tax is paid by individuals, corporations and partnerships owning property within the state. Intangible personal property is exempt from taxation. There is no inheritance tax.[42]


South Carolina is one of just three states that have not agreed to using competitive international math and language standards.[43]

Institutions of higher education[]

(In order of foundation date)

South Carolina hosts a diverse cohort of institutions of higher education, from large state-funded research universities to small colleges that cultivate a liberal arts, religious or military tradition.

Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, the College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher learning in South Carolina, the 13th oldest in the United States, and the first municipal college in the country. The College is in company with the Colonial Colleges as one the original and foundational institutions of higher education in the United States. Its founders include three signers of the United States Declaration of Independence and three signers of the United States Constitution. The College's historic campus, which is listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places, forms an integral part of Charleston's colonial-era urban center. As one of the leading institutions of higher education in its class in the Southeastern United States,[44] the College of Charleston is celebrated nationally for its focus on undergraduate education with strengths in Marine Biology, Classics, Art History and Historic Preservation. The Graduate School of the College of Charleston, offers a number of degree programs and coordinates support for its nationally recognized faculty research efforts. According to the Princeton Review, C of C is one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education and U.S. News and World Report regularly ranks C of C among the best masters level universities in the South. C of C presently enrolls approximately 10,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students.

The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational, research university located in Columbia. The University's campus covers over 359 acres (1.5 km2) in the urban core less than one city block from the South Carolina State House. The University of South Carolina maintains an enrollment of over 27,000 students on the Columbia campus. The institution was founded in 1801 as South Carolina College in an effort to promote harmony between the Lowcountry and the Upstate. The College became a symbol of the South in the antebellum period as its graduates were on the forefront of secession from the Union. From the Civil War to World War II, the institution lacked a clear direction and was constantly reorganized to meet the needs of the political power in office. In 1957, the University expanded its reach through the University of South Carolina System.

Furman University is a private, coeducational, non-sectarian, liberal arts university in Greenville. Founded in 1826, Furman enrolls approximately 2,600 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Furman is the largest private institution in South Carolina. The university is primarily focused on undergraduate education (only two departments, education and chemistry, offer graduate degrees).

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, is a state-supported, comprehensive college located in Charleston. Founded in 1842, the college is best known for its undergraduate Corps of Cadets military program for men and women, which combines academics, physical challenges and military discipline. In addition to the cadet program, civilian programs are offered through the Citadel's College of Graduate and Professional Studies with its evening undergraduate and graduate programs. The Citadel enrolls almost 2,000 undergraduate cadets in its residential military program and 1,200 civilian students in the evening programs.

Wofford College is a small liberal arts college located in Spartanburg. Wofford was founded in 1854 with a bequest of $100,000 from the Rev. Benjamin Wofford (1780–1850), a Methodist minister and Spartanburg native who sought to create a college for "literary, classical, and scientific education in my native district of Spartanburg." Wofford is one of the few four-year institutions in the southeastern United States founded before the American Civil War and still operating on its original campus.

Presbyterian College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1880 in Clinton. Presbyterian College, is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, and enrolls around 1300 undergraduate students. In 2007, Washington Monthly ranked PC as the #1 Liberal Arts College in the nation.[45]

Winthrop University, founded in 1886 as an all-female teaching school, it became a co-ed institution in 1974. Winthrop is now a public university that has an enrollment of just over 6,000 students. It is currently one of the fastest growing universities in the state, with several new academic and recreational buildings being added to the main campus in the past 5 years, as well as several more planned for the near future. The Richard W. Riley College of Education is still the school's most well known area of study.

Clemson University, founded in 1889, is a public, coeducational, land-grant research university located in Clemson. Clemson The University currently enrolls more than 17,000 students from all 50 states and from more than 70 countries. Clemson is currently in the process of expanding, by adding the CU-ICAR, or the Center for Automotive Research, in partnership with BMW and Michelin. The facility will offer an M.S. and Ph. D in Automotive Engineering. Clemson is also the home to the South Carolina Botanical Garden.

South Carolina State University, founded in 1896, is a historically Black university located in Orangeburg. It is the only state-supported land grant institution in the state of South Carolina. SCSU has a current enrollment of nearly 5,000, and offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees. SCSU boasts the only Doctor of Education program in the state.

Anderson University, founded in 1911, is a selective comprehensive university located in Anderson, offering bachelors and masters degrees in approximately 50 areas of study. Anderson University currently enrolls around 2,300 students.

Bob Jones University, founded in 1927, is a non-denominational University founded on fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Originally based in Florida, after a move to Tennessee, the school finally settled in South Carolina.[46] With 5000 students, the school is larger than Wofford, Furman and Presbyterian College. BJU also offers over 115 undergraduate majors and has over 70 graduate programs.[47]

Health care[]

For overall health care, South Carolina is ranked 33rd out of the 50 states, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a private health foundation working to improve the health care system.[48] The state’s teen birth rate was 53 births per 1000 teens, compared to the average of 41.9 births for the US, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.[49] The state’s infant mortality rate was 9.4 deaths per 1000 births compared to the US average of 6.9 deaths.[50] There were 2.6 physicians per 1000 people compared to the US average of 3.2 physicians.[51] There was $5114 spent on health expenses per capita in the state, compared to the US average of $5283.[52] There were 26 percent of children and 13 percent of elderly living in poverty in the state, compared to 23 percent and 13 percent, respectively, doing so in the US.[53] And, 34 percent of children were overweight or obese, compared to the US average of 32 percent.[54]



A game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia


A game at Memorial Stadium (Death Valley) in Clemson

South Carolina has no major professional franchise of the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, or MLB located in the state; however the NFL's Carolina Panthers (based in Charlotte, North Carolina), and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes (based in Raleigh, North Carolina) represent both North and South Carolina. In addition, the Panthers played their first season in Clemson, and maintain training facilities at Wofford College in Spartanburg. There are numerous minor league teams that are either based in the state, or play much of their schedule within its borders. The Charlotte Knights, an AAA minor league baseball team, play at a stadium in Fort Mill, South Carolina, just across the border from Charlotte. Another minor league franchise is the USL Division 1 Soccer team, the Charleston Battery. The team plays in the soccer-specific Blackbaud Stadium, located on Daniel Island in Charleston. Currently, only Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston still boast any other level (in each case single-A) of professional baseball. Curiously enough, for a state where natural ice is a rarity, professional ice hockey has been popular in a number of areas of the state since the 1990s. Though 4 teams competed at one time in South Carolina, the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) currently oversees operations of only two franchises, one, the Columbia Inferno, the other, the South Carolina Stingrays (who play in Charleston). According to the league, however, Myrtle Beach is slated to receive a franchise when their new arena is completed in 2008/9. In 2010 the ECHL announced that Greenville would have a new hockey franchise, the team will play in the BI-LO center.

College sports in particular are very big in South Carolina. Clemson University's Tigers and the University of South Carolina's Gamecocks regularly draw more than 80,000 spectators at the schools' home football games. Smaller universities located in South Carolina also have very competitive sports programs, including The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Francis Marion, Furman, Anderson University, North Greenville University, Presbyterian College, Lander University, SC State, Southern Wesleyan University, Spartanburg Methodist College, USC Upstate, Winthrop, Wofford.


A race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington

NASCAR racing was born in the South, and South Carolina has in the past hosted some very important NASCAR races, at the Darlington Raceway. Darlington Raceway still has the one NASCAR race weekend, usually Mother's Day weekend. All four of NASCAR's series come to Darlington including Whelen, Camping World Trucks, Nationwide Cars, and Sprint Cup cars.

South Carolina is a popular golf destination. With nearly one hundred golf courses, the Grand Strand region has more public golf courses per capita than any other place in the country.[55] Some have hosted PGA and LGPA events in the past, but most have been designed for the casual golfer. Hilton Head Island & Kiawah Island have several very nice golf courses and host professional events every year. The upstate of South Carolina also has many nice golf courses, most of the nicer courses are private including the Cliff's courses and Cross Creek Plantation (the Cliff's courses host the annual BMW PRO/AM that brings many celebrities and professionals to South Carolina. Cross Creek Plantation located in Seneca, also private hosted a PGA Qualifier in the 90's). In 2007, "The Ocean Course" On Kiawah Island was ranked #1 in Golf Digest Magazine's "America's 50 Toughest Golf Courses"[56] and #38 on their "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses".[57]

Watersports are also an extremely popular activity in South Carolina. With a large coast line, South Carolina has many different beach activities such as surfing, boogie boarding, deep sea fishing, and shrimping. The Pee Dee region of the state offers exceptional fishing. Some of the largest catfish ever caught were caught in the Santee Lakes. The Upstate of South Carolina also offers outstanding water activities. The Midlands region also offers water-based recreation revolving around Lakes Marion and Murray and such rivers as the Congaree, Saluda, Broad, and Edisto.

While there are no race tracks with betting in South Carolina there is significant horse training activity, particularly in Aiken and Camden, which hold steeplechase races.

Professional bass fishing tournaments are also found in South Carolina. Lake Hartwell, Lake Wylie, and Lake Murray both host Bassmaster Classic tournaments.

National Park Service areas[]

  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site at Mt. Pleasant
  • Congaree National Park in Hopkins
  • Cowpens National Battlefield near Chesnee
  • Fort Moultrie National Monument at Sullivan's Island
  • Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor
  • Kings Mountain National Military Park at Blacksburg
  • Ninety Six National Historic Site in Ninety Six
  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Miscellaneous topics[]

Famous people from South Carolina[]

Some of the most influential individuals in American life from South Carolina include:


  • Rudolf Anderson, Jr. (1927–1962), born in Greenville, U.S. Air Force major and U-2 pilot shot down during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was awarded the first Air Force Cross, posthumously.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune (born July 10, 1875 in Maysville, South Carolina, died May 18, 1955), African American educator and civil rights leader.
  • James Butler Bonham (born February 20, 1807 in Saluda, South Carolina, died March 6, 1836), 19th century American lawyer and soldier, defender at the Alamo.
  • James Brown (born May 4, 1933 in Barnwell, died December 25, 2006), "Godfather of Soul", legendary singer and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • David du Bose Gaillard, (1859–1913) U.S. Army engineer instrumental in the construction of the Panama Canal, born in Manning.
  • Althea Gibson (1927–2003), first black female player to win the Wimbledon singles tennis title, born in Silver.
  • Dizzy Gillespie (1917–1993), John Birks 'Dizzy' Gillespie, considered by some to be the greatest jazz trumpeter of all time, was born in Cheraw.
  • Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746–1809) Signer of the Declaration of Independence, born In St. Luke's Parish.
  • Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), President of the United States, born near Lancaster but emigrated to Tennessee as an adult. He was the hero of the Battle of New Orleans and 7th President, from 1829 to 1837.
  • 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson (1887–1951), considered one of the most outstanding hitters in the history of baseball, his career .356 batting average is the third highest in history, after Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby; born in Brandon Mills.
  • Eartha Kitt (1927–2008), from North, South Carolina, American actress, singer, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her role as Catwoman in the 1960s TV series Batman.
  • Thomas Lynch, Jr. (born August 4, 1749 in South Carolina, died 1779) Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Barton MacLane (1902–1969) born in Columbia, SC. Actor in The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • Arthur Middleton (1742–1787) born in Charleston, signer of the Declaration of Independence, later Governor (1810–1812), Representative (1815–1819) and Minister to Russia (1820–1830).
  • Bill Pinkney (1925–2007) born in Dalzell, was a pitcher in the Negro League, served in World War II, but remembered most for singing role in The Drifters, influencing many artists in blues and soul music.
  • Melvin Purvis (1903–1960), born in Timmonsville, FBI agent responsible for ending the criminal careers of Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger; died in Florence, South Carolina.
  • Edward Rutledge (1749–1800), youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence, later governor of South Carolina.
  • William Barret Travis (1809–1836), born in Saluda County, lawyer and soldier, at age 26 a lieutenant colonel in the Texian Army, defender at the Battle of the Alamo.
  • John Steadman (actor) (1909–1993), born in Lexington, South Carolina, radio personality and actor. "Pop" in The Longest Yard.
  • William C. Westmoreland, (March 26, 1914–July 18, 2005) born in Spartanburg County, commanded American military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak from 1964 to 1968 and served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972.


  • Aziz Ansari (born February 23, 1983) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known as one of the stars of the critically acclaimed sketch comedy series Human Giant on MTV, for which he is also a writer and executive producer. Ansari now appears in a new NBC series, Parks and Recreation, from producers of The Office. Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Indian Tamil parents.
  • Ben Bernanke (1953- ), the current chairman of the US Federal Reserve, grew up in Template:City-state.
  • Chubby Checker, singer, born Ernest Evans in Spring Gulley, on October 3, 1941.
  • Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central since 2005; previously correspondent for Comedy Central's The Daily Show. A native of Charleston, he attended Porter Gaud School. Colbert also ran as a favorite son candidate for the 2008 presidential election in his native South Carolina.
  • Danny!, recording artist for Definitive Jux Records, grew up in Columbia and graduated Richland Northeast High School in 2001.
  • John Edwards, former N.C. Senator & 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, born in Seneca in 1953.
  • Joe Frazier, 1964 Olympic heavyweight champion and the world heavyweight champ 1970-73; fought Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title three times. He is most remembered for the fight at Madison Square Garden in March 1971, where he defeated Ali to become the undisputed heavyweight champ. Frazier was born in Beaufort on January 12, 1944.
  • Josh Turner, is an American country music singer and songwriter born on November 20, 1977 who is from Hannah, South Carolina. He has a quite a few #1 singles.
  • Jesse Jackson, famous political and social figure, originally from Greenville, South Carolina, born on October 8, 1941.
  • Jasper Johns, considered one of the greatest post-World War II American artists, was raised in Allendale and attended the University of South Carolina before moving to New York City.
  • Andie MacDowell (born April 21, 1958) is an American model and actress, from Gaffney, winner of two Golden Globe Awards.
  • Kary Mullis (1944-), 1993 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, grew up Columbia and graduated from high school there.
  • Will Patton (1954-) born in Charleston, SC. Actor
  • Robert Remus (born August 27, 1948) professional wrestler (aka, Sgt.Slaughter)
  • Darius Rucker, born in Charleston, SC, frontman for popular rock band Hootie and the Blowfish. He is now a country music act with several No. 1 singles.
  • Jim Rice, baseball Hall of Famer, hails from Anderson.
  • Shawnee Smith, actress and musician. Well known for her roles as Amanda Young in Saw I-VI and Linda in the TV series Becker. Also the other half of the country-rock band Smith & Pyle alongside fellow actress Missi Pyle. Born in Orangeburg, SC on July 3, 1970.
  • Chad Wolf, lead singer and songwriter of popular American-Swedish band Carolina Liar
  • Thomas Gibson, actor, Dharma and Greg (Golden Globe Nominee), Viva Rock Vegas, Chicago Hope, Criminal Minds, born July 3, 1962, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Alcohol laws[]

Prohibition was a major issue in the state's history. Voters endorsed prohibition in 1892 but instead were given the "Dispensary System" of state-owned liquor stores, They soon became symbols of political corruption controlled by Ben Tillman's machine and were shut down in 1907. Today, the retail sale of liquor statewide is permitted from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday — Saturday, and Sunday sales are banned by state law. However, counties and/or cities may hold referendums to allow Sunday sales of beer and wine only. Seven counties currently allow Sunday beer and wine sales; Richland, Lexington, Georgetown, Charleston, Beaufort, Horry, and York. Cities and towns that have passed laws allowing Sunday beer and wine sales include Columbia, Spartanburg, Greenville, Aiken, Rock Hill, Summerville, Santee, Daniel Island and Tega Cay.

While there are no dry counties in South Carolina, and retail liquor sales are uniform statewide, certain counties may enforce time restrictions for beer and wine sales in stores (e.g., no sales after 2 a.m. in Pickens County) while others do not (in-store beer and wine sales are allowed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Charleston). Columbia, the state's capital, largest city, and the home of the University of South Carolina, takes one of the more relaxed stances on alcohol sales in bars compared to other cities in the state. Many bars, especially those catering to younger crowds in the busy Five Points district, serve alcohol until sunrise, and it is not unheard of for bars and clubs to serve alcohol until 7 or 8 a.m., although the legality of this practice is questionable. In Greenville city limits, it is illegal to serve alcohol after 2 a.m. at bars and restaurants unless the establishment continues to serve food. There are a few bars that take advantage of this loophole.

Before 2006, South Carolina was infamous amongst tourists and residents alike for being the last state in the nation to require cocktails and liquor drinks to be mixed using minibottles, like those found on airplanes, instead of from free-pour bottles. The original logic behind this law was twofold: it made alcohol taxation simpler and allowed bar patrons to receive a standardized amount of alcohol in each drink. However, minibottles contain 1.75 oz (52 ml) of alcohol, approximately 30% more than the typical 1.2 oz (35 ml) found in free-pour drinks, with the obvious result of overly strong cocktails and inebriated bar customers. The law was changed in 2006 to allow both free-pour and minibottles in bars, and the vast majority of bars quickly eschewed minibottles in favor of free-pour.[58]

Indoor smoking laws[]

  • No statewide smoking ban. On March 31, 2008, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that cities, counties, and towns may enact smoking bans which are more stringent than state law.[59]

As of May 2009, there are four South Carolina counties and 22 cities and towns with smoke-free laws:

  • Aiken County, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars within unincorporated areas of Aiken County. June 2007.
  • Aiken, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars in city. July 2008[60]
  • Beaufort County, banned in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, within unincorporated areas of Beaufort County. January 10, 2007.[61]
  • Beaufort, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars. May 2008.[62]
  • Bluffton, banned in all workplaces including restaurants and bars. January 10, 2007.[63]
  • Camden, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars. 2008.[64]
  • Clemson, July 1, 2008, banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants[65]
  • Columbia, October 1, 2008, smoke-free in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.[66]
  • Easley, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars, January 2009[67]
  • Edisto Beach, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars, March 2009[68]
  • Greenville, January 1, 2007, banned in all workplaces, restaurants, and bars.
  • Hilton Head Island, Indoor smoking ban in restaurants, bars, and public places will take effect May 1, 2007.[69]
  • Isle of Palms, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars, January 2009[70]
  • Lexington, South Carolina, smoke-free workplace law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars in town of Lexington, October 2008.[71]
  • Liberty, South Carolina, smoke-free law with exemption for bars, October 2006[72]
  • Mount Pleasant, September 1, 2007, banned in all restaurants, bars, workplaces, and private clubs.
  • North Augusta, South Carolina, smoke-free law for all workplaces including restaurants and bars, 2008.[73]
  • Pickens, smoke-free workplace law including restaurants and bars, May 2009.
  • Richland County, smoke free workplace law including restaurants and bars, October 2008.
  • Rock Hill, smoke-free workplace law including restaurants and bars, May 2009.
  • Sullivan's Island, effective July 20, 2006, a ban on smoking in workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Upheld by the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas on December 20, 2006.[74]
  • Sumter, effective mid-April, 2009, a ban on smoking in workplaces, including restaurants and bars.[75]
  • Surfside Beach, smoke-free workplace law including restaurants and bars. Ordinance also covers beach and walk-ups to beach. November 2008[76]
  • Walterboro, smoke-free workplace law including restaurants and bars, May 2008.
  • York County, smoke-free workplace law including restaurants and bars, May 2009.

South Carolina singularities[]

  • Adjutant general: The head of the state's national guard, the adjutant general, is a statewide elected official.[77]
  • Driving Under the Influence: South Carolina is the only state in the nation with mandatory videotaping by the arresting officer of the DUI arrest and breath test.[78]
  • Fire Safety Regulations: South Carolina is the only state that allows fire officials to sidestep a federal regulation requiring that for every employee doing hazardous work inside a building, one must be outside.[79]
  • School Buses: South Carolina is the only state in the nation that owns and operates its own school bus fleet.[80][81]
  • Strokes: South Carolina has the highest rate of stroke deaths in the nation.[82]
  • Black Water River: With the Edisto River, South Carolina has the longest completely undammed /unleveed blackwater river in North America.[citation needed]
  • Outdoor Sculpture: South Carolina is home to the world's largest collection of outdoor sculpture located at Brookgreen Gardens.[83]
  • Landscaped Gardens: South Carolina is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States, at Middleton Place near Charleston.[84]

South Carolina firsts[]

  • First town to use electricity; - Anderson, The Electric City
  • First European settlement in South Carolina in 1526 near Georgetown settled by Spanish explorer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon named San Miguel de Gualdape
  • First permanent English settlement in South Carolina established at Albemarle Point in Charleston in 1670
  • First indigo planted, 1671 by Moses Lindo, a Portuguese Jew fleeing the Inquisition[85]
  • First free library established — Charleston, 1698
  • First mutual fire insurance company — Friendly Society for the Mutual Insurance of Houses against Fire, 1735
  • First opera performed in America — Charleston, February 18, 1735
  • First building to be used solely as a theatre — Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, constructed in 1736
  • First slave insurrection — Stono area near Charleston, 1739
  • First Jewish synagogue in South Carolina (Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim) - Charleston, 1750
  • First cotton exported to England, 1764
  • First Black Baptist Church established, Silver Bluff, 1773
  • The Charleston Chamber of Commerce was the first city Chamber of Commerce in this country - 1773
  • First public museum — Charleston Museum, organized January 12, 1773
  • First business publication — South Carolina Price Current in Charleston, 1774
  • First time a Jew was elected to public office in America, 1774. Francis Salvador was elected to the General Assembly[85]
  • The first time a British flag was taken down and replaced by an American flag was in Charleston in 1775
  • First independent government formed among American colonies, March 1776
  • Golf was first played in the city limits of Charleston. The South Carolina Golf Club was formed in 1786 - this was the first golf club.
  • First Roman Catholic Church - St. Mary's August 24, 1789, Charleston
  • First cotton mill built — James Island, 1789
  • First tea planted — Middleton Barony, 1802
  • First Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston, Most Rev. John England - 1820, Charleston
  • First fireproof building built — Charleston, 1822
  • First steam locomotive built in the United States to be used for regular railroad service - "Best Friend of Charleston," 1830.
  • First municipal college — College of Charleston, opened April 1, 1838
  • First Roman Catholic cathedral in South Carolina Cathedral of Saint John and Saint Finbar - Charleston, April 1845
  • First state to secede from the Union, December 20, 1860.
  • First shot fired in Civil War on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, April 12, 1861.
  • First Medal of Honor awarded to a Black recipient — W. H. Carney (Army), July 18, 1863.
  • The first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship was the H.L. Hunley used by the Confederates on February 17, 1864 in Charleston Harbor against the U.S.S. Housatonic.
  • First Black Associate Justice of a state supreme court — J. J. Wright, February 2, 1870
  • The first state intercollegiate football game took place on December 14, 1889 with Wofford defeating Furman
  • First commercial tea farm — Summerville, 1890
  • First black woman to practice medicine in the state was Dr. Matilda Arabelle Evans in 1897
  • First textile school established in a college — Clemson, 1899
  • The first car was manufactured in Rock Hill by John Gary Anderson in January 1916
  • First woman lawyer in South Carolina — Miss James M. Perry of Greenville was admitted to practice on May 4, 1918
  • First national historic preservation ordinance passed by Charleston city council on October 13, 1931
  • First television station WCSC broadcast from Charleston June 13, 1953
  • First U.S. Senator elected by a write-in vote — Strom Thurmond, November 2, 1954
  • First State to have a Nuclear Bomb dropped By the US Air Force — Due East of Florence — Nuclear part was unarmed- 1958
  • First nuclear power plant dedicated at Parr Shoals on October 24, 1963
  • First Spoleto Festival held in Charleston May 1977
  • First black federal judge in South Carolina's history — Matthew J. Perry — appointed September 22, 1979
  • First governor Richard Riley elected November 6, 1984 to serve two consecutive four-year terms
  • Jean Toal — the first woman elected to state supreme court in 1988 and later elected chief justice in 2000

Sister states[]

  • Queensland, Australia
  • Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
  • Bergamo, Italy

See also[]

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[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=]] United States portal
[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=]] South Carolina portal


  1. "S.C. Code of Laws Title 1 Chapter 1 General Provisions". Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  2. South Carolina, State of (1984). "S.C. Code of Laws, SECTION 1-1-680. Official State fruit.". Retrieved 2007-07-15 
  3. South Carolina, State of (1984). "S.C. Code of Laws, SECTION 1-1-690. Official State beverage.". Retrieved 2007-07-15 
  4. South Carolina, State of (1995). "S.C. Code of Laws, SECTION 1-1-692. Official State hospitality beverage.". Retrieved 2007-07-15 
  5. South Carolina, State of (2006). "S.C. Code of Laws, SECTION 1-1-682. Official state snack food.". Retrieved 2007-07-15 
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named usgs
  7. (Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568–1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.)
  8. "South Carolina SC - Lakes". 
  9. NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved on October 24, 2006.
  12. Patricia U. Bonomi, “Under the Cope of Heaven. Religion, Society and Politics in Colonial America”, Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 32
  13. Patricia U. Bonomi, “Under the Cope of Heaven. Religion, Society and Politics in Colonial America”, Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 32
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Joseph Hall, "The Great Indian Slave Caper", review of Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002,, vol. 3, no. 1, October 2002, accessed 4 Nov 2009
  15. Meine, F. (1952). South Carolina. The American People’s Encyclopedia (Vol. 17, pp. 967-968). Chicago: The Spencer Press
  16. Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619–1877, New York: Hill and Wang, 1994, p.73
  17. Richard H. Pildes, "Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon", Constitutional Commentary, Vol.17, 2000, p.12, accessed March 10, 2008
  18. Historical Census Browser, 1900 US Census, University of Virginia, accessed March 15, 2008
  19. "Integration with Dignity" (PDF). 
  20. Brunner, Borgna (2000-06-30). "South Carolina's Confederate Flag Comes Down". Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  22. Associated Press (2009-07-06). "ACC moves 3 future baseball tourneys". Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  23. "Population and Population Centers by State: 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "The Economic and Social Implications of the Growing Latino Population in South Carolina," A Study for the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs prepared by The Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, University of South Carolina, August 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
  25. ""Mexican Immigrants: The New Face of the South Carolina Labor Force," Moore School of Business, Division of Research, IMBA Globilization Project, University of South Carolina, March 2006.
  30. Gross Domestic Product by State, June 5, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  31.; Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  32. S. Spacek, The American State Litter Scorecard, 2008
  33. "". 
  34. "". 
  36. The South Carolina Encyclopedia, Walter Edgar, University of South Carolina Press
  37. "Video Poker Outlawed In South Carolina". 
  38. Statement by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division regarding the change of Video Poker Machine Laws (In PDF Format)
  39. South Carolina Personal income tax,, February 4, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Sales and Use Tax Seminar Manual 2007, South Carolina Department of Revenue, January 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  41. 41.0 41.1 A General Guide To South Carolina Sales and Use Tax, South Carolina Department of Revenue, October 12, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  42. South Carolina Inheritance and estate taxes,, February 4, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  43. Hunt, Albert R. (23 August 2009). "A $5 billion bet on better education". New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
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  48. Commonwealth Fund, State Scorecard
  49. Kaiser State Health Facts, 2006
  50. US Census, US National Center for Health Statistics, 2005
  51. Kaiser State Health Facts, based on Amer. Medical Association data, 2008
  52. Kaiser State Health Facts, based on Center for Medicare and Medicaid Statistics, 2007
  53. Kaiser State Health Facts, 2008–2008
  54. Kaiser State Health Facts, based on Nat Survey of Children’s Health, 2009
  55. "Myrtle Beach Golf". 
  56. " - America's 50 Toughest Golf Courses". 
  57. " - America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses". 
  58. "S.C. operators stand ready to toast new free-pour law",
  59. Foothills Brewing Concern, Inc. v. City of Greenville, Case No. 26467 (S.C. slip op. filed March 31, 2008)
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  65. "Clemson smoking ban becomes law: Local News: Anderson Independent-Mail". 
  77. "Restructuring proposal threatens checks and balances". 
  78. "South Carolina DUI LAW". 
  79. "Officials Investigate South Carolina Fire Tragedy. AP". 
  80. Parents Pummeled by South Carolina Legislators. School Reform News. The Heartland Institute.
  81. A review of SC School Bus Operations. South Carolina Legislative Audit Council. October 2001.
  82. "SC Department of Health and Environmental Control". 
  83. "Brookgreen Gardens". 
  84. "Middleton Place". 
  85. 85.0 85.1 "A "portion of the People"", Nell Porter Brown, Harvard Magazine, January-February, 2003

Further reading[]

Textbooks and surveys[]

  • Bass, Jack. Porgy Comes Home: South Carolina After 300 Years,. Sandlapper, 1970. OCLC 724061Template:Listed Invalid ISBN
  • Coker, P. C., III. Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670–1865: An Illustrated History. Charleston, S.C.: Coker-Craft, 1987. 314 pp.
  • Edgar, Walter. South Carolina: A History, University of South Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN 1-57003-255-6
  • Edgar, Walter, ed. The South Carolina Encyclopedia, University of South Carolina Press, 2006. ISBN 1-57003-598-2
  • George C. Rogers Jr. and C. James Taylor. A South Carolina Chronology, 1497–1992, 2nd Ed.,. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC, 1994. ISBN 0-87249-971-5
  • Wallace, David Duncan. South Carolina: A Short History, 1520–1948 (1951) ISBN 0-87249-079-3
  • WPA. South Carolina: A Guide to the Palmetto State (1941) ASIN B000HM05WE
  • Wright, Louis B. South Carolina: A Bicentennial History' (1977) ISBN 0-393-05560-4

Scholarly secondary studies[]

  • Bass, Jack and Marilyn W. Thompson. Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond,. Longstreet Press, 1998.
  • Busick, Sean R. A Sober Desire for History: William Gilmore Simms as Historian., 2005. ISBN 1-57003-565-2.
  • Clarke, Erskine. Our Southern Zion: A History of Calvinism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1690–1990 (1996)
  • Channing, Steven. Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina (1970)
  • Cohodas, Nadine. Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change,. Simon & Schuster, 1993.
  • Coit, Margaret L. John C. Calhoun: American Portrait (1950)
  • Crane, Verner W. The Southern Frontier, 1670–1732 (1956)
  • Ford Jr., Lacy K. Origins of Southern Radicalism: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1800–1860 (1991)
  • Hindus, Michael S. Prison and Plantation: Crime, Justice, and Authority in Massachusetts and South Carolina, 1767–1878 (1980)
  • Johnson Jr., George Lloyd. The Frontier in the Colonial South: South Carolina Backcountry, 1736–1800 (1997)
  • Jordan, Jr., Frank E. The Primary State - A History of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, 1876–1962, Columbia, SC, 1967
  • Keyserling, Harriet. Against the Tide: One Woman's Political Struggle. University of South Carolina Press, 1998.
  • Kantrowitz, Stephen. Ben Tillman & the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (2002)
  • Lau, Peter F. Democracy Rising: South Carolina And the Fight for Black Equality Since 1865 (2006)
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States; (1974)
  • Rogers, George C. Evolution of a Federalist: William Loughton Smith of Charleston (1758–1812) (1962)
  • Schultz Harold S. Nationalism and Sectionalism in South Carolina, 1852–1860 (1950)
  • Simon, Bryant. A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910–1948 (1998)
  • Simkins, Francis Butler. The Tillman Movement in South Carolina (1926)
  • Simkins, Francis Butler. Pitchfork Ben Tillman: South Carolinian (1944)
  • Simkins, Francis Butler, and Robert Hilliard Woody. South Carolina during Reconstruction (1932).
  • Sinha, Manisha. The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (2000)
  • Smith, Warren B. White Servitude in Colonial South Carolina (1961)
  • Tullos, Allen Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont (1989)
  • Williamson Joel R. After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina during Reconstruction, 1861–1877 (1965)
  • Wood, Peter H. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 Through the Stono Rebellion (1996)

Local studies[]

  • Bass, Jack and Jack Nelson.The Orangeburg Massacre,. Mercer University Press, 1992.
  • Burton, Orville Vernon. In My Father's House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina (1985), social history
  • Carlton, David L. Mill and Town in South Carolina, 1880–1920 (1982)
  • Clarke, Erskine. Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic (2005)
  • Danielson, Michael N. Profits and Politics in Paradise: The Development of Hilton Head Island,. University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Doyle, Don H. New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860–1910 (1990)
  • Huff, Jr., Archie Vernon. Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont, University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Moore, John Hammond. Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740–1990, University of South Carolina Press, 1993.
  • Moredock, Will. Banana Republic: A Year in the Heart of Myrtle Beach,. Frontline Press, 2003.
  • Pease, William H. and Jane H. Pease. The Web of Progress: Private Values and Public Styles in Boston and Charleston, 1828–1843 (1985),
  • Robertson, Ben. Red Hills and Cotton,. USC Press (reprint), 1991.
  • Rose, Willie Lee. Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment (1964)

Political science[]

  • Carter, Luther F. and David Mann, eds. Government in the Palmetto State: Toward the 21st century,. University of South Carolina, 1993.ISBN 0-917069-01-3
  • Graham, Cole Blease and William V. Moore. South Carolina Politics and Government. Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8032-7043-7
  • Tyer, Charlie. ed. South Carolina Government: An Introduction,. USC Institute for Public Affairs, 2002. ISBN 0-917069-12-9

Primary documents[]

  • Salley, Alexander S. ed. Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650–1708 (1911) ISBN 0-7812-6298-4
  • Woodmason Charles. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution Edited by Richard J. Hooker. (1953), a missionary reports ISBN 0-8078-4035-1

External links[]


Related information[]

Template:Geographic Location


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