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King Charles II granted the chartered Province of Carolina to eight of his loyal friends, known as the Lords Proprietors, on March 24, 1663. In 1670, Governor William Sayle arranged for several shiploads of settlers from Bermuda and Barbados. These settlers established what was then called Charles Town at Albemarle Point, on the west bank of the Ashley River, a few miles northwest of the present-day city center. Charles Town became English America's first comprehensively planned town. Its governance, settlement, and development was to follow a visionary plan known as the Grand Model prepared for the Lords Proprietors by John Locke. Because the Carolina's Fundamental Constitutions was never ratified, however, Charles Town was never incorporated during the colonial period. Instead, local ordinances were passed by the provincial government, with day-to-day administration handled by the wardens and vestries of St Philip's and St Michael's Anglican parishes.
At the time of English contact, the area was inhabited by the Cusabo natives. The settlers declared war on them in October 1671. The colonists initially allied with the Westo, a northern tribe that traded Indian slaves. The settlers abandoned their alliance with the Westo in 1679 and allied instead with the Cusabo.
The initial settlement quickly dwindled away and disappeared while another village—established by the settlers on Oyster Point at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers around 1672—thrived. This second settlement formally replaced the original Charles Town in 1680. (The original site is now commemorated as Charles Towne Landing.) The second location was more defensible and had access to a fine natural harbor. The new town had become the fifth largest in North America by 1690.
A smallpox outbreak erupted in 1698, followed by an earthquake in February 1699. The latter caused a fire that destroyed about a third of the town. During rebuilding, a yellow fever outbreak killed about 15% of the remaining inhabitants. Charles Town suffered between five and eight major yellow fever outbreaks over the first half of the 18th century.
It developed a reputation as one of the least healthy locations in the Thirteen Colonies for ethnic Europeans. Malaria was endemic. Although malaria did not have such high mortality as yellow fever, it caused much illness. It was a major health problem through most of the city's history before dying out in the 1950s after use of pesticides cut down on the mosquitoes that transmitted it.
Charles Town was fortified according to a plan developed in 1704 under Governor Nathaniel Johnson. Both Spain and France contested Britain's claims to the region. Various bands of Native Americans and independent pirates also raided it.
On September 5–6, 1713 (O.S.) a violent hurricane passed over Charles Town. The Circular Congregational Church manse was damaged during the storm, in which church records were lost. Much of Charles Town was flooded as "the Ashley and Cooper rivers became one." At least seventy people died in the disaster.
From the 1670s Charleston attracted pirates. The combination of a weak government and corruption made the city popular with pirates, who frequently visited and raided the city. Charles Town was besieged by the pirate Blackbeard for several days in May 1718. Blackbeard released his hostages and left in exchange for a chest of medicine from Governor Robert Johnson.
Around 1719, the town's name began to be generally written as Charlestown and, excepting those fronting the Cooper River, the old walls were largely removed over the next decade. Charlestown was a center for the inland colonization of South Carolina. It remained the southernmost point of the Southern colonies until the Province of Georgia was established in 1732. As noted, the first settlers primarily came from England, Europe, Barbados and Bermuda. The Barbadian and Bermudan planters brought African slaves with them who had been purchased in the islands.
Early immigrants to the city included Protestant French, Scottish, Irish, and Germans, as well as hundreds of Jews, predominately Sephardi from London, England and major cities of the Dutch Republic, where they had been given refuge. As late as 1830, Charleston's Jewish community was the largest and wealthiest in North America.
By 1708, the majority of the colony's population were black Africans. They had been brought to Charlestown on the Middle Passage, first as indentured "servants" and then as slaves. In the early 1700s Charleston's largest slave trader Joseph Wragg pioneered the American large-scale slave trade. Of the estimated 400,000 Africans transported to North America for sale as slaves, 40% are thought to have landed at Sullivan's Island off Charlestown. Free people of color also migrated from the West Indies, descendants of white planters and black consorts, and unions among the working classes.
In 1767 Gadsden's Wharf was constructed at the city port on the Cooper River; it ultimately extended 840 feet and was able to accommodate six ships at a time. Many slaves were sold from here. Devoted to plantation agriculture that depended on enslaved labor, South Carolina became a slave society: it had a black majority from the colonial period until after the Great Migration of the early 20th century, when many rural blacks moved to northern and midwestern industrial cities to escape Jim Crow.
At the foundation of the town, the principal items of commerce were pine timber and pitch for ships and tobacco. The early economy developed around the deerskin trade, in which colonists used alliances with the Cherokee and Creek peoples to secure the raw material.
At the same time, Indians took each other as captives and slaves in warfare. From 1680 to 1720, approximately 40,000 native men, women, and children were sold through the port, principally to the West Indies such as (Bermuda and the Bahamas), but also to Georgia and other Southern colonies. The Lowcountry planters did not keep Indian slaves, considering them too prone to escape or revolt. They used the proceeds of their sale to purchase black Africans as slaves for their own plantations. The slave raiding—and the European firearms it introduced—helped destabilize Spanish Florida and French Louisiana in the 1700s during the War of the Spanish Succession. But it also provoked the Yamasee War of the 1710s that nearly destroyed the colony. After that, South Carolina largely abandoned the Indian slave trade.
The area's unsuitability for tobacco prompted the Lowcountry planters to experiment with other cash crops. The profitability of growing rice led the planters to pay premiums for slaves from the "Rice Coast" who knew its cultivation; their descendants make up the ethnic Gullah who created their own culture and language in this area. Slaves imported from the Caribbean showed the planter George Lucas's daughter Eliza how to raise and use indigo for dyeing in 1747.
Throughout this period, the slaves were sold aboard the arriving ships or at ad hoc gatherings in town's taverns. Runaways and minor rebellions prompted the 1739 Security Act, which required all white men to carry weapons at all times (even to church on Sundays). Before it had fully taken effect, the Cato or Stono Rebellion broke out. The white community had recently been decimated by a malaria outbreak, and the rebels killed about 25 white people before being stopped by the colonial militia. As a result of their fears of rebellion, whites killed a total of 35 to 50 black people.
The planters attributed the violence to recently imported Africans and agreed to a 10-year moratorium on slave importation through Charlestown. They relied for labor upon the slave communities they already held. The 1740 Negro Act also tightened controls, requiring a ratio of one white for every ten blacks on any plantation (which was often not achieved), and banning slaves from assembling together, growing their own food, earning money, or learning to read. Drums were banned because Africans used them for signaling; slaves were allowed to use string and other instruments. When the moratorium expired and Charlestown reopened to the slave trade in 1750, the memory of the Stono Rebellion resulted in traders avoiding buying slaves from the Congo and Angola, whose populations had a reputation for independence.
By the mid-18th century, Charlestown was the hub of the Atlantic slave trade in the Southern colonies. Even with the decade-long moratorium, its customs processed around 40% of the African slaves brought to North America between 1700 and 1775, and about half up until the end of the African trade.
The plantations and the economy based on them made this the wealthiest city in the Thirteen Colonies and the largest in population south of Philadelphia. In 1770, the city had 11,000 inhabitants—half slaves—and was the 4th-largest port in the colonies, after Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
The elite began to use their wealth to encourage cultural and social development. America's first theater building was constructed here in 1736; it was later replaced by today's Dock Street Theater. St Michael's was erected in 1753. Benevolent societies were formed by the Huguenots, free people of color, Germans, and Jews. The Library Society was established in 1748 by well-born young men who wanted to share the financial cost to keep up with the scientific and philosophical issues of the day.
Delegates for the Continental Congress were elected in 1774, and South Carolina declared its independence from Britain on the steps of the Exchange. Slavery was again an important factor in the city's role during the Revolutionary War. The British attacked the town in force three times, assuming that the settlement had a large base of Loyalists who would rally to their cause once given some military support. The loyalty of the white southerners had largely been forfeited, however, by British legal cases (such as the 1772 Somersett case which marked the prohibition of slavery in England and Wales; a significant milestone in the Abolitionist struggle) and military tactics (such as Dunmore's Proclamation in 1775) that promised the emancipation of the planter's slaves; these efforts did, however, unsurprisingly win the allegiance of thousands of Black Loyalists.
The Battle of Sullivan's Island saw the British fail to capture a partially constructed palmetto palisade from Col. Moultrie's militia regiment on June 28, 1776. The Liberty Flag used by Moultrie's men formed the basis of the later South Carolina flag, and the victory's anniversary continues to be commemorated as Carolina Day.
Making the capture of Charlestown their chief priority, the British sent Gen. Henry Clinton, who began his siege of Charleston on April 1, 1780, with about 14,000 troops and 90 ships. Bombardment began on March 11, 1780. The rebels, led by Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, had about 5,500 men and inadequate fortifications to repel the forces against them. After the British cut his supply lines and lines of retreat at the battles of Monck's Corner and Lenud's Ferry, Lincoln's surrender on May 12, 1780 became the greatest American defeat of the war.
The British continued to hold Charlestown for over a year following their defeat at Yorktown in 1781, although they alienated local planters by refusing to restore full civil government. General Nathanael Greene had entered the state after Cornwallis's pyrrhic victory at Guilford Courthouse and kept the area under a kind of siege. General Alexander Leslie, commanding Charlestown, requested a truce in March 1782 to purchase food for his garrison and the town's inhabitants. Greene refused and formed a brigade under Mordecai Gist to counter British forays. Charlestown was finally evacuated by the British in December 1782. Gen. Greene presented the British leaders of the town with the Moultrie Flag.
Between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Charleston experienced an economic boom, at least for the top strata of society. The expansion of cotton as a cash crop in the South both led to huge wealth for a small segment of society and funded impressive architecture and culture but also escalated the importance of slaves and led to greater and greater restrictions on black Charlestonians.
Although Columbia had replaced it as the state capital in 1788, Charleston became even more prosperous as Eli Whitney's 1793 invention of the cotton gin sped the processing of the crop over 50 times. Britain's Industrial Revolution—initially built upon its textile industry—took up the extra production ravenously and cotton became Charleston's major export commodity in the 19th century. The Bank of South Carolina, the second-oldest building in the nation to be constructed as a bank, was established in 1798; branches of the First and Second Bank of the United States were also located in Charleston in 1800 and 1817.
Throughout the Antebellum Period, Charleston continued to be the only major American city with a majority-slave population. The city widespread use of slaves as workers was a frequent subject of writers and visitors: a merchant from Liverpool noted in 1834 that "almost all the working population are Negroes, all the servants, the carmen & porters, all the people who see at the stalls in Market, and most of the Journeymen in trades". American traders had been prohibited from equipping the Atlantic slave trade in 1794 and all importation of slaves was banned in 1808, but American ships long refused to permit British inspection, and smuggling remained common. Much more important was the domestic slave trade, which boomed as the Deep South was developed in new cotton plantations. As a result of the trade, there was a forced migration of more than one million slaves from the Upper South to the Lower South in the antebellum years. During the early 19th century, the first dedicated slave markets were founded in Charleston, mostly near Chalmers and State streets. Many domestic slavers used Charleston as a port in what was called the coastwise trade, traveling to such ports as Mobile and New Orleans.
Slave ownership was the primary marker of class and even the town's freedmen and free people of color typically kept slaves if they had the wealth to do so. Visitors commonly remarked on the sheer number of blacks in Charleston and their seeming freedom of movement, though in fact—mindful of the Stono Rebellion and the violent slave revolution that established Haiti—the whites closely regulated the behavior of both slaves and free people of color. Wages and hiring practices were fixed, identifying badges were sometimes required, and even work songs were sometimes censored. Punishment was handled out of sight by the city's workhouse, whose fees provided the municipal government with thousands a year. In 1820, a state law mandated that each act of manumission (freeing a slave) required legislative approval, effectively halting the practice.
The effects of slavery were pronounced on white society as well. The high cost of 19th-century slaves and their high rate of return combined to institute an oligarchic society controlled by about ninety interrelated families, where 4% of the free population controlled half of the wealth, and the lower half of the free population—unable to compete with owned or rented slaves—held no wealth at all. The white middle class was minimal: Charlestonians generally disparaged hard work as the lot of slaves. All the slaveholders taken together held 82% of the city's wealth and almost all non-slaveholders were poor.Olmsted considered their civic elections "entirely contests of money and personal influence" and the oligarchs dominated civic planning: the lack of public parks and amenities was noted, as was the abundance of private gardens in the wealthy's walled estates.
In the 1810s, the town's churches intensified their discrimination against their Black parishioners, culminating in Bethel Methodist's 1817 construction of a hearse house over its black burial ground. 4,376 Black Methodists joined Morris Brown in establishing Hampstead Church, the African Methodist Episcopal church now known as Mother Emanuel. State and city laws prohibited Black literacy, limited Black worship to daylight hours, and required a majority of any church's parishioners be white. In June 1818, 140 Black church members at Hampstead Church were arrested and eight of its leaders given fines and ten lashes; police raided the church again in 1820 and pressured it in 1821.
In 1822, members of the church, led by Denmark Vesey, a lay preacher and carpenter who had bought his freedom after winning a lottery, planned an uprising and escape to Haiti—initially for Bastille Day—that failed when one slave revealed the plot to his master. Over the next month, the city's intendant (mayor) James Hamilton Jr. organized a militia for regular patrols, initiated a secret and extrajudicial tribunal to investigate, and hanged 35 and exiled 35 or 37 slaves to Spanish Cuba for their involvement. Hamilton imposed more restrictions on both free and enslaved blacks: South Carolina required free black sailors to be imprisoned while their ships were in Charleston Harbor though international treaties eventually required the United States to quash the practice; free blacks were banned from returning to the state if they left for any reason; slaves were given a 9:15 pm curfew; the city razed Hampstead Church to the ground and erected a new arsenal. This structure later was the basis of the Citadel's first campus. The AME congregation built a new church but in 1834 the city banned it and all black worship services, following Nat Turner's 1831 rebellion in Virginia. The estimated 10% of slaves who came to America as Muslims never had a separate mosque. Slaveholders sometimes provided them with beef rations in place of pork in recognition of religious traditions.
In 1832, South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification, a procedure by which a state could, in effect, repeal a federal law; it was directed against the most recent tariff acts. Soon, federal soldiers were dispensed to Charleston's forts, and five United States Coast Guard cutters were detached to Charleston Harbor "to take possession of any vessel arriving from a foreign port, and defend her against any attempt to dispossess the Customs Officers of her custody until all the requirements of law have been complied with." This federal action became known as the Charleston incident. The state's politicians worked on a compromise law in Washington to gradually reduce the tariffs.
Charleston's embrace of classical architecture began after a devastating fire leveled much of the city. On April 27, 1838, Charleston suffered a catastrophic fire that burned more than 1000 buildings and caused about $3 million in damage at the time. The damaged buildings amounted to about one-fourth of all the businesses in the main part of the city. When the many homes and business were rebuilt or repaired, a great cultural awakening occurred. Previous to the fire, only a few homes were styled as Greek Revival; many residents decided to construct new buildings in that style after the conflagration. This tradition continued and made Charleston one of the foremost places to view Greek Revival architecture. The Gothic Revival also made a significant appearance in the construction of many churches after the fire that exhibited picturesque forms and reminders of devout European religion.
By 1840, the Market Hall and Sheds, where fresh meat and produce were brought daily, became a hub of commercial activity. The slave trade also depended on the port of Charleston, where ships could be unloaded and the slaves bought and sold. The legal importation of African slaves had ended in 1808, although smuggling was significant. However, the domestic trade was booming. More than one million slaves were transported from the Upper South to the Deep South in the antebellum years, as cotton plantations were widely developed through what became known as the Black Belt. Many slaves were transported in the coastwise slave trade, with slave ships stopping at ports such as Charleston.
Charleston played a major part in the Civil War. As a pivotal city, both the Union and Confederate Armies vied for power. The war ended mere months after the Union forces took control of Charleston. Not only did the Civil War end not long after Charleston's surrender, but the Civil War began there.
Following the election of Abraham Lincoln, the South Carolina General Assembly voted on December 20, 1860, to secede from the Union. South Carolina was the first state to secede. On December 27, Castle Pinckney was surrendered by its garrison to the state militia and, on January 9, 1861, Citadel cadets opened fire on the USS Star of the West as it entered Charleston Harbor.
The first full battle of the American Civil War occurred on April 12, 1861, when shore batteries under the command of General Beauregard opened fire on the US Army-held Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. After a 34-hour bombardment, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort.
On December 11, 1861, an enormous fire burned over 500 acres (200 ha) of the city.
Union control of the sea permitted the repeated bombardment of the city, causing vast damage. Although Admiral Du Pont's naval assault on the town's forts in April 1863 failed, the Union navy's blockade shut down most commercial traffic. Over the course of the war, some blockade runners got through but not a single one made it into or out of the Charleston Harbor between August 1863 and March 1864. The early submarine H.L. Hunley made a night attack on the USS Housatonic on February 17, 1864.
General Gillmore's land assault in July 1864 was unsuccessful but the fall of Columbia and advance of General William T. Sherman's army through the state prompted the Confederates to evacuate the town on February 17, 1865, burning the public buildings, cotton warehouses, and other sources of supply before their departure.Union troops moved into the city within the month. The War Department recovered what federal property remained and also confiscated the campus of the Citadel Military Academy and used it as a federal garrison for the next 17 years. The facilities were finally returned to the state and reopened as a military college in 1882 under the direction of Lawrence E. Marichak.
After the defeat of the Confederacy, federal forces remained in Charleston during Reconstruction. The war had shattered the city's prosperity, but the African-American population surged (from 17,000 in 1860 to over 27,000 in 1880) as freedmen moved from the countryside to the major city. Blacks quickly left the Southern Baptist Church and resumed open meetings of the African Methodist Episcopal and AME Zion churches. They purchased dogs, guns, liquor, and better clothes—all previously banned—and ceased yielding the sidewalks to whites. Despite the efforts of the state legislature to halt manumissions, Charleston had already had a large class of free people of color as well. At the onset of the war, the city had 3,785 free people of color, many of mixed race, making up about 18% of the city's black population and 8% of its total population. Many were educated and practiced skilled crafts; they quickly became leaders of South Carolina's Republican Party and its legislators. Men who had been free people of color before the war comprised 26% of those elected to state and federal office in South Carolina from 1868 to 1876.
By the late 1870s, industry was bringing the city and its inhabitants back to a renewed vitality; new jobs attracted new residents. As the city's commerce improved, residents worked to restore or create community institutions. In 1865, the Avery Normal Institute was established by the American Missionary Association as the first free secondary school for Charleston's African American population. Gen. Sherman lent his support to the conversion of the United States Arsenal into the Porter Military Academy, an educational facility for former soldiers and boys left orphaned or destitute by the war. Porter Military Academy later joined with Gaud School and is now a university-preparatory school, Porter-Gaud School.
In 1875, blacks made up 57% of the city's and 73% of the county's population. With leadership by members of the antebellum free black community, historian Melinda Meeks Hennessy described the community as "unique" in being able to defend themselves without provoking "massive white retaliation", as occurred in numerous other areas during Reconstruction. In the 1876 election cycle, two major riots between black Republicans and white Democrats occurred in the city, in September and the day after the election in November, as well as a violent incident in Cainhoy at an October joint discussion meeting.
Violent incidents occurred throughout the Piedmont of the state as white insurgents struggled to maintain white supremacy in the face of social changes after the war and granting of citizenship to freedmen by federal constitutional amendments. After former Confederates were allowed to vote again, election campaigns from 1872 on were marked by violent intimidation of blacks and Republicans by conservative Democratic paramilitary groups, known as the Red Shirts. Violent incidents took place in Charleston on King Street on September 6 and in nearby Cainhoy on October 15, both in association with political meetings before the 1876 election. The Cainhoy incident was the only one statewide in which more whites were killed than blacks. The Red Shirts were instrumental in suppressing the black Republican vote in some areas in 1876 and narrowly electing Wade Hampton as governor, and taking back control of the state legislature. Another riot occurred in Charleston the day after the election, when a prominent Republican leader was mistakenly reported killed.
In the early 20th century strong political machines emerged in the city reflecting economic, class, racial, and ethnic tensions. The factions nearly all opposed U.S. Senator Ben Tillman who repeatedly attacked and ridiculed the city in the name of upstate poor farmers. Well organized factions within the Democratic Party in Charleston gave the voters clear choices and played a large role in state politics.
On August 31, 1886, Charleston was nearly destroyed by an earthquake. The shock was estimated to have a moment magnitude of 7.0 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). It was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee to the northwest, as far west as New Orleans, as far south as Cuba, and as far east as Bermuda. It damaged 2,000 buildings in Charleston and caused $6 million worth of damage ($155 million in 2019 dollars), at a time when all the city's buildings were valued around $24 million ($620 million in 2019 dollars).
The Charleston race riot of 1919 took place on the night of Saturday, May 10, between members of the US Navy and the local black population. They attacked black individuals, businesses, and homes killing six and injuring dozens.
Charleston languished economically for several decades in the 20th century, though the large federal military presence in the region helped to shore up the city's economy. Charleston's tourism boom began in earnest following the publication of Albert Simons and Samuel Lapham's Architecture of Charleston in the 1920s.
The Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969, in which mostly black workers protested discrimination and low wages, was one of the last major events of the civil rights movement. It attracted Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, and other prominent figures to march with the local leader, Mary Moultrie.
Joseph P. Riley Jr. was elected mayor in the 1970s, and helped advance several cultural aspects of the city.
Between 1989 and 1996, Charleston saw two significant economic hits. First, the eye of Hurricane Hugo came ashore at Charleston Harbor in 1989, and though the worst damage was in nearby McClellanville, three-quarters of the homes in Charleston's historic district sustained damage of varying degrees. The hurricane caused over $2.8 billion in damage. The city was able to rebound fairly quickly after the hurricane and has grown in population, reaching an estimated 124,593 residents in 2009. Second, in 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) directed that Naval Base Charleston be closed. Pursuant to BRAC action, Naval Base Charleston was closed on April 1, 1996, although some activities remain under the cognizance of Naval Support Activity Charleston, now part of Joint Base Charleston.
After having been a majority-minority city for most of its history, in the late 20th century many whites began returning to the urban core of Charleston and the area gentrified with rising prices and rents. From 1980 to 2010, the peninsula's population shifted from two-thirds black to two-thirds white; in 2010 residents numbered 20,668 whites to 10,455 blacks. Many African Americans moved to the less-expensive suburbs in these decades.
On June 17, 2015, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and sat in on part of a Bible study before shooting and killing nine people, all African Americans. Senior pastor Clementa Pinckney, who also served as a state senator, was among those killed during the attack. The deceased also included congregation members Susie Jackson, 87; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; and Tywanza Sanders, 26. The attack garnered national attention, and sparked a debate on historical racism, Confederate symbolism in Southern states, and gun violence, in part based on Roof's online postings. A memorial service on the campus of the College of Charleston was attended by President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Jill Biden, and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
On June 17, 2018, the Charleston City Council apologized for its role in the slave trade and condemned its "inhumane" history. It also acknowledged wrongs committed against African Americans by slavery and Jim Crow laws.
In 2010, the racial makeup of Charleston was 70.2% White, 25.4% African American, 1.6% Asian, and 1.5% of two or more races; in addition, 2.9% of the population was Hispanic or Latino, of any race.
Given Charleston's high concentration of African Americans who spoke the Gullah language, a creole language that developed on the Sea Islands and in the Low Country, the local speech patterns were also influenced by this community. Today, Gullah is still spoken by many African American residents. However, rapid development since 1980, especially on the surrounding Sea Islands, has attracted residents from outside the area and led to a decline in Gullah's prominence.
The traditional educated Charleston accent has long been noted in the state and throughout the South. It is typically heard in wealthy white older people who trace their families back generations in the city. It has ingliding or monophthongal long mid-vowels, raises ay and aw in certain environments, and is nonrhotic. Sylvester Primer of the College of Charleston wrote about aspects of the local dialect in his late 19th-century works: "Charleston Provincialisms" (1887) and "The Huguenot Element in Charleston's Provincialisms", published in a German journal. He believed the accent was based on the English as it was spoken by the earliest settlers, therefore derived from Elizabethan England and preserved with modifications by Charleston speakers. The disappearing "Charleston accent" spoken mainly by older natives is still noted in the local pronunciation of the city's name. Many Charleston natives ignore the 'r' and elongate the first vowel, pronouncing the name as "Chalston".
Charleston is known as "The Holy City". Despite beliefs that the term dates to the city's earliest days and refers to its religiously tolerant culture, the term was coined in the 20th century, likely as a mockery of Charlestonians' self-satisfied attitude about their city. Regardless of the nickname's origination, residents have embraced the term and explained it in more flattering terms.
The Anglican church was dominant in the colonial era, and the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul is today the seat of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. Many French Huguenot refugees settled in Charleston in the early 18th century. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern United States and houses the oldest black congregation south of Baltimore, Maryland.
South Carolina has long allowed Jews to practice their faith without restriction. Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749 by Sephardic Jews from London, is the fourth-oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States and was an important site for the development of Reform Judaism. Brith Sholom Beth Israel is the oldest Orthodox synagogue in the South, founded by Sam Berlin and other Ashkenazi German and Central European Jews in the mid-19th century.
The city's oldest Roman Catholic parish, Saint Mary of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church, is the mother church of Roman Catholicism in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In 1820, Charleston was established as the see city of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, which at the time comprised the Carolinas and Georgia, and presently encompasses the state of South Carolina.
The Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, established in Charleston in 1801, is considered the mother council of the world by Scottish Rite Freemasons.
As a population and wealth center with colleges and cultural outlets, Charleston has produced many notable people in all fields. Among the most notable historical and contemporary figures are:
About South Carolina
South Carolina is the eastern U.S. states bordering the Atlantic Ocean, where the coastline has a stretch of low, sandy beaches along the Indian River and the federally designated Albemarle Island National Seashore. Southern coastal cities include Charleston, North Charleston, Orangeburg, Folly Beach, Hanahan, Rock Hill, Surfside, Aviso, Windham, and Dorchester. The state capital, Columbia, is also located in the coastal area. South Carolina's geography has made it the home of diverse cultural identities such as the barbecue-style cuisine of Charleston, the wooded mountain atmosphere of Aiken, and the cottonseed culture of Gastonia. Geographically, South Carolina is defined by its wide stretch of land along the Atlantic Ocean and its numerous seaside towns and cities.
Southern coastal cities like Charleston, North Charleston, Orangeburg, and Fishing Neck are synonymous with tourist attractions and culture. Known collectively as South Carolina, these cities have been named after prominent men in the state's history including Charleston doctor Benjamin Tillman, American Revolutionary leader Lieut. Gen. Winfield Scott Davis, and Army Gen. Sherman Alsley, who went to battle at the Alarm Bay at the entrance of what later became Cape Henry, located along the Indian River. A pair of hotels on the Topsail Island became the starting point of the first race for dogs in the United States. Today, Tillman's Gift Basket Company operates a gift basket business at the site. A visit to these sites would not be complete without taking a trip to Aiken, which is known for its world-class beaches. Among its most well-known beaches is Gold Coast, which became famous because of the multiple nightclubs it houses.
Another popular destination in Southern Carolina is Jacksonville, which is about an hour south of Charlotte on the east coast of the state. Here one can go to Atlantic Beach, which has a renowned surfboard shop. Located on Pee Dee Beach, Atlantic Beach features a lifeguard station, lifeguard stand, and picnic areas. Additionally, the neighboring Litchfield Island features a submarine tour and snorkeling. To make sure that one explores all of the beaches available in the area, one may want to consider a day trip on a Ferris wheel.
The Pee Dee Beach portion of South Carolina is known as the best barrier reef shoreline in the entire country. It offers turquoise blue waters, plenty of diving opportunities, as well as numerous public accesses to nearby reefs. A few attractions include the Pelican State Beach, Marine Research Institute, and Scripps Park. One may also find a number of sporting activities to participate in along the way, including kayaking, surfing, rafting, and jet skiing. A day at the beach is not complete without taking in one or more golfer shots.
Orangeburg is located just a short distance from the state capitol. It is here that one can indulge in a wide array of activities, most notably golf. Orangeburg Golf Digest is an annual magazine published by the South Carolina Golf Association. This magazine features articles written by golf professionals about everything related to golf in South Carolina. Additionally, it features stories and articles about various tournaments, including the SC Olympics, Noosa Grand Prix, and the Southern Classic.
One of the best ways to get close to home is to stay in a rental home. These homes are available across all different price ranges and can be found throughout the area. Finding one that is right for one's needs requires some research. Many of these rental homes are available on a nightly basis. Additionally, they can be found in any price range that one can imagine.
A number of people do not own homes in the area, but rather vacation homes. For these individuals, renting a vacation home can be just as nice a way to spend their vacation money. These homes are available both through online companies and on paper rental services throughout South Carolina. Vacation homes are located throughout the state. A potential renter can find one that suits their budget and will fit their particular needs.
South Carolina is known throughout the United States for its natural beauty. Millions of tourists visit the area each year. Home owners can benefit from this tourism by housing tourists. In addition, rental homes can help lower the cost of living in the area. Those looking for investment properties can find them in the South Carolina area.