General South-carolina Information
Capital: Columbia Largest City: Columbia
Demonym: South Carolinian Population: Ranked 24th in the US
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South Carolina overview

South Carolina stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge Mountains, containing 31,113 square miles. Fortieth in geographic area among the fifty states, it ranks twenty-sixth in population. The Palmetto State's more than four million citizens value its rich history, a legacy that is a prime factor in making tourism one of the state's largest industries.

Spaniards explored the South Carolina coast as early as 1514, and Hernando DeSoto met the Queen of Cofitachiqui in 1540 when he crossed the central part of the state. Spanish fears of French rivalry were heightened when Huguenots led by Jean Ribaut attempted to settle on what is now Parris Island near Beaufort in 1562. After Ribaut returned to France for reinforcements, the soldiers who were left behind revolted, built themselves a ship, and sailed for France the next year. The horrors of that voyage went beyond eating shoes to cannibalism before an English ship rescued the pitiful remainder of the French attempt to colonize here.

Rapid expansion of the textile industry in the 1890s began the state's recovery from a share-cropper economy, but the boll weevil gave the Great Depression a head start here in the 1920s. The state's poverty and racial practices caused many African Americans to seek opportunities in Northern cities; after 1920, South Carolina no longer had a black majority. The expansion of military bases during World War II and domestic and foreign investment in manufacturing in more recent decades have revitalized the state. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s ended legal segregation and discrimination and began the incorporation of the state's African Americans into the political and economic power structure of the state. South Carolina had not had a black state senator for a century when the civil rights leader I. DeQuincy Newman joined that body in 1983. In 1970 when South Carolina celebrated its Tricentennial, more than 80% of its residents had been born in the state. Inclusion in the "sun belt" has brought many newcomers since then, but the state's history still both shadows and illumines our daily lives.

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