South Carolina is known worldwide for its famous beach called Myrtle Beach. However, there’s more to the state than our famous beaches.
Here are ten interesting facts about South Carolina.
1. Palm Trees
South Carolina is known as the Palmetto State. The word “palmetto” means “little palm tree.” It comes from the Spanish word “palmito” a diminutive of the word “palma” which is a palm tree.
2. Unique Cuisine
South Carolina has very unique cuisine, with strong African influences. The low country boil originated in the Low Country area of the state. The dish, also known as Beaufort’s Stew, consists of boiled shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes. It’s customary to dump it all on a table covered with newspaper or a brown bag paper. Then, everyone eats with their hands. No utensils needed!
Barbecue in South Carolina is also one-of-a-kind. The state is famous for the whole-hog barbecue, and you can find many barbecue spots across the state. Read more about Southern cooking, including its unique New Year’s meal!
Myrtle Beach, a major tourist destination, has beautiful wide beaches. But the sunsets are also out of this world!
4. Politics on the Move
Columbia is currently the state capital. But, Columbia was not always the home of the State House. That honor once belonged to the city of Charleston. The current State House is made of brick and covered with stucco. It’s home to the Governor’s office, as well as the House and Senate chambers. Tours are available free of cost.
5. Flora and Fauna
The state is also home to the Riverbanks Zoo located in Columbia. It’s much more than a 170-acre zoo. It’s also the location of an aquarium and a lovely botanical garden.
The state also has its very own monkey island! The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources established the Rhesus monkey colony in 1979. But the official name of the island is Morgan Island. No, humans can’t visit the island.
7. Really Old Trees
The Angel Oak, which is the oldest tree in the country, is located in South Carolina. Its limbs sprawl across more than 187 feet, and it stands at a height of 66.5 feet.
South Carolina is the largest producer of peaches in the country, besting even its neighboring state of Georgia. Have fun reading about how this friendly competition spilled over onto Twitter recently!
9. Gullah Culture
South Carolina retains the strong presence of the Gullah people. They are the descendants of enslaved Africans of various ethnic groups. You can read more about their culture, heritage, and traditions here.
10. Troubled Past
You can’t discuss South Carolina without addressing its troubled past, in particular the painful history of slavery, whose repercussions are still being felt. South Carolina struggles with how this history is presented through its many historical sites. Many, for example, are questioning how former plantations are used to romanticize the South during slavery, in effect “whitewashing” the painful truth of enslavement. Others denounce the use of former plantations as “pinterest-worthy” event venues, detached from their history.
The Boone Hall Plantation – cited in the previous article – is one such plantation, located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It’s one of America’s oldest working plantations and a sad reminder of our country’s history of slavery. It’s important to talk to children about this painful history, and a visit to a historical site can bring that haunting history to life. Go here for tips on visiting a plantation with children, including how to prepare them ahead of time.