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South Carolina

Capital: Columbia

State abbreviation/Postal code: S.C./SC

Governor: Nikki Haley, R (to Jan. 2015)

Lieut. Governor: Ken Ard, R (to Jan. 2015)

Senators: Lindsey Graham, R (to Jan. 2015); Tim Scott, R (to Jan. 2017)

U.S. Representatives: 7

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Secy. of State: Mark Hammond, R (to Jan. 2015)

Treasurer: Curtis Loftis, R (to Jan. 2015)

Atty. General: Michael Wilson, R (to Jan. 2015)

Entered Union (rank): May 23, 1788 (8)

Present constitution adopted: 1895

Mottoes: Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources) and Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope)

State symbols:

flower Carolina yellow jessamine (1924)
tree palmetto tree (1939)
bird Carolina wren (1948)
song “Carolina” (1911)

Nickname: Palmetto State

Origin of name: In honor of Charles I of England

10 largest cities (2010 est.): Columbia, 129,272; Charleston , 120,083; North Charleston, 97,471; Rock Hill, 66,154; ; Greenville, 58,409; Sumter, 40,524; Florence 37,056, Spartanburg, 37,013; Goose Creek, 35,938; Aiken, 29,524

Land area: 30,109 sq mi. (77,982 sq km)

Geographic center: In Richland Co., 13 mi. SE of Columbia

Number of counties: 46

Largest county by population and area: Greenville, 451,225 (2010); Horry, 1,134 sq mi.

State forests: 4

State parks: 47 (80,000+ ac.)

Residents: South Carolinian

2011 resident population est.: 4,679,230

2010 resident census population (rank): 4,625,364 (24). Male: 2,250,101 (48.6%); Female: 2,375,263 (51.4%). White: 3,060,000 (66.2%); Black: 1,290,684 (27.9%); American Indian: 19,524 (0.4%); Asian: 59,051 (1.3%); Other race: 113,464 (2.5%); Two or more races: 79,935 (1.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 235,682 (5.1%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 36.7; 65 and over: 5.9; median age: 37.9.

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office

Following exploration of the coast in 1521 by Francisco de Gordillo, the Spanish tried unsuccessfully to establish a colony near present-day Georgetown in 1526, and the French also failed to colonize Parris Island near Fort Royal in 1562. The first English settlement was made in 1670 at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River, but poor conditions drove the settlers to the site of Charleston (originally called Charles Town).

South Carolina, officially separated from North Carolina in 1729, was the scene of extensive military action during the Revolution and again during the Civil War. The Civil War began in 1861 as South Carolina troops fired on federal Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the state was the first to secede from the Union.

Once primarily agricultural, South Carolina today has many large textile and other mills that produce several times the output of its farms in cash value. Charleston makes asbestos, wood, pulp, steel products, chemicals, machinery, and apparel.

Farms have become fewer but larger in recent years. South Carolina ranks second in peach production after California. Other top agricultural commodities include broilers (31.5% of total state farm receipts), turkeys, greenhouse products, cattle and calves, and corn. One of only two commercial tea plantations in America is 20 mi south of Charleston on Wadmalaw Island.

Points of interest include Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, and aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor; the Middleton, Magnolia, and Cypress Gardens in Charleston; Cowpens National Battlefield; the Hilton Head resorts; and the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia.

See more on South Carolina:
Encyclopedia: South Carolina
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
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