South Carolina, state in the southeastern United States; bordered by North Carolina to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, and Georgia to the southwest.
Land and climate
South Carolina has 3 main land regions. The Blue Ridge, a narrow region in the state's northwestern corner, is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which extend into the state. The Piedmont covers most of northwestern South Carolina. This region's rolling land slopes from high in the northwest to low in the southeast, making for swift-flowing rivers and streams. The Atlantic Coastal Plain, in the southeastern two-thirds of the state, has long, sandy beaches in the north; southward, it becomes increasingly swampy, with salt marshes, pine barrens, bays, and tidal rivers. South Carolina has many large rivers, the main ones being the Santee, Pee Dee, and Savannah. There are many rapids and waterfalls, but no large natural lakes. Forests cover nearly two-thirds of the state. South Carolina has a warm climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Principal cities are Columbia, Charleston, and North Charleston.
South Carolina's economy is led by manufacturing, followed by various service industries, including tourism. Chief manufactured goods are textiles, chemicals, machinery, and apparel. Agriculture and mining account for minor shares of the economy. Chief farm products are tobacco, soybeans, corn, cotton, and peaches; chief livestock products are eggs, milk, and beef cattle. Chief mining products are granite, limestone, crushed stone, and cement.
South Carolina's present constitution was adopted in 1895. The governor serves a 4-year term. The state's legislature, called the General Assembly, consists of 46 senators serving 4-year terms and 124 representatives serving 2-year terms. In the U.S. Congress, South Carolina is represented by 2 senators and 6 representatives.
Many Native American tribes were living in the area when the first Europeans—Spanish explorers—arrived in 1521. In 1670 the first permanent non-native settlement was established near present-day Charleston by English colonists. In 1719 the settlers revolted against the colony's proprietors; the province became a royal colony in 1729. South Carolina was one of the 13 British colonies that broke from Britain and fought the American Revolution; in 1788 it became the eighth state. In 1861 South Carolina—a strong proponent of states' rights, free trade, and slavery—became the first state to secede from the Union; the war's first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. Much of the state was damaged during the Civil War. During Reconstruction, federal troops occupied the state, which suffered agricultural depression and political corruption. South Carolina was readmitted to the Union in 1868. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, industrial growth aided recovery. The widespread unemployment of the Great Depression (1930s) was alleviated by World War II, and industry expanded in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1960s and 1970s, the state's black majority, disenfranchised during Reconstruction, began voting in larger numbers, and integration, which met strong resistance at first, began taking hold. Today South Carolina seeks new industries as its key tobacco industry faces growing opposition to smoking.