32 Important Facts About South Carolina

South Carolina is the 23rd most populous and the 40th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is in the Southeastern United States and the easternmost of the Deep South. The state attained statehood on May 23, 1788, becoming the 8th State to join the union. Its two bordering states are Georgia and North Carolina. See the complete list of the 50 states and their borders here. South Carolina (nicknamed: Palmetto State) has 46 counties. The state’s capital is Columbia. The abbreviation for South Carolina is SC. With these facts about South Carolina, let us learn about its history, geography, economy, people, culture, and more.

1. The state was named after the King Charles I and King Charles II of England.

2. The nickname of the state “Palmetto State” originates from the fact that during the Revolutionary War, colonists at Fort Moultrie, a small fort built from palmetto trees, defeated a British fleet near Charleston in 1776.

3. Peachoid is a giant water tank in Gaffney built to honor the state’s fine peach crops. The water tower can hold one million U.S. gallons of water. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks for travelers along I-85 between Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

4. South Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches and availability of ample fishing opportunities. This attracts millions of tourists to the state.

South Carolina State on the map
South Carolina (in red) on the map with neighboring states.

5. The wood stork is the only true stork that regularly occurs in the U.S.A. In flooded, shallow wetlands, it can fish by holding its beak open and snaps up the fish that swim by. It is about 33-44 inches in height and has a wingspan of 59-65 inches. The life span of the wood stork is about 11 years and 8 months in the wild.[2]

6. South Carolina fought 137 battles during the Revolutionary War. The last of these battles happened on November 14, 1782 on Johns Island.[3] 

7. South Carolina is usually divided into two broad regions. The Up Country and the Low Country.

8. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Carolina is second to California in overall peach production.[4]

9. Myrtle Beach in South Carolina has some 50 golf courses and as a result, it is called the “miniature golf capital of the world.” According to some estimate, the beach draws some 15 million tourists every year. In 2007, the Guinness World Record for the tallest sand castle was awarded to Myrtle Beach. Today, the tallest sandcastle is 17.65 m (57 ft 11 in) tall, and was made by Skulptura Projects GmbH (Germany), in Binz, Germany, on 5 June 2019.[5,6,7]

10. The Columbia City Hall in Columbia is the second oldest government building in the capital city. It was built in 1870. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[8]

11. Johnston calls itself the “Peach Capital of the world.”

12. There is an island called “Monkey Island” on the state. The island is said to be home to more than 3,000 monkeys. Some say that the monkeys on the island are being used for research purposes.[9]

13. Poinsett Bridge is the oldest bridge in South Carolina. The bridge was built in 1820 and it is no longer in use. However, the structure stands intact to this day.[18] 

14. A tree in SC called the Angel Oak expected to be between 400 and 500 years old. The 65-foot-tree has survived hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. The tree measures 28 feet in circumference and covers an area of 17,000 square feet with its shade. According to some sources, the age of the tree is believed to be more than 1,500 years.[10]

15. Althea Gibson became the first African American to play and win Wimbledon. She won the women’s singles and doubles at Wimbledon in 1957, and won the U.S. Open in 1958.[11]

16. Sturgis motorcycle rally is the world’s largest motorcycle rally. It started in 1938 and was suspended only during the World War II due to gas shortages. Motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the globe come together at the event. In 2018, an estimated 500,000 people participated in the rally.[12]

17. The first tea farm in the U.S. was created in 1890 near Summerville.

18. South Carolina’s state reptile, the loggerhead turtle can live for fifty years in the wild and it can weigh up to 400 pounds.[13,14]

19. The first shot of the Civil War was fired on Fort Sumter in 1861.[15]

20. Two of the most important battles in the history of the United States were fought in South Carolina – the Battle of King’s Mountains and the Civil War.   

21. South Carolina is one of the original thirteen colonies.

South Carolina on the map

22. The geographical shape of the state resembles an inverted vertical triangle. From east to west, the state stretch some 460 km while between north and south it measures 360 km.

23. The state’s capital Columbia, located at its center, is its largest city. The capital was named after Christopher Columbus, the legendary explorer.

24. Before South Carolina was known as the Peach State, it was the Iodine State. The Iodine State was emblazoned on their license plates earlier before the adoption of the Peach State as the states nickname.

25. At 1,200 acres, the world’s largest Gingko farm is in Sumter.[16]

26. The state does not have any professional sports team.

27. Fort Jackson, the largest United States Army installation for Basic Combat Training is in Columbia, South Carolina.

28. Charles Town, the site of the first European settlement was renamed to Charleston in 1783.

29. The Palmetto tree is the official state tree of South Carolina.

30. Textile manufacturing and tourism are two main industries of the state.

31. Anderson nicknamed “The Electric City” is the place where the first successful long-distance transmission of electricity in the south occurred.

32. South Carolina has one of the lowest percentage of women serving in state legislature. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state has only 15.9% of women in the legislature. At 13.8%, Mississippi has the lowest percentage of all the states.[17]

South Carolina – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationSC
State CapitalColumbia
Largest CityCharleston
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 32,020 sq miles; Land Only: 30,110 sq miles
Population
5,024,369
(Estimate July 1, 2017 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodMay 23, 1788
State rank by population23rd
State rank by date of formation8th
State rank by area40th
Number of Counties46
DemonymSouth Carolinian
Bordering StatesGeorgia, North Carolina
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointSassafras Mountain
3,560 ft (1,085 m)
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean
Sea level
Mean elevation350 feet above sea level
Length 260 miles (420 km)
Width200 miles (320 km)
GovernorHenry McMaster (R)
Lieutenant GovernorPamela Evette (R)
Electoral Votes9
State MottoDum spiro spero Animis opibusque parati (While I breathe, I hope Ready in soul and resource)
State NicknamePalmetto State
% Water6
Nobel Prize WinnersCharles H. Townes (Physics, 1964)
Joseph L. Goldstein (Physiology or Medicine, 1985)
Robert F. Furchgott (Physiology or Medicine, 1998)
Famous peopleHarry Carson (Pro Football player)
Jim Rice (Baseball player)
Katrina McClain (Basketball player)
Jessica Stroup (Actress)
Lee Brice (Singer)
U.S. President Born in South Carolina1. Andrew Jackson.
State Flag

Flag of South Carolina

State seal

Seal of South Carolina.svg

State coat of arms

South Carolina state coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg

State quarter

South Carolina quarter

ReptileLoggerhead Sea Turtle

A loggerhead sea turtle in an aquarium tank swims overhead.  The underside is visible.

AnimalWhite-tailed Deer

White-tailed deer.jpg

State FossilColumbian Mammoth

Columbian Mammoth
State fishStriped Bass

Morone saxatilis SI2.jpg

State BirdCarolina Wren

Carolina Wren1.jpg

GemstoneAmethyst

Amethyst. Magaliesburg, South Africa.jpg

State FlowerYellow Jessamine

Twins
State TreeSabal Palmetto

Spalmetto2.JPG

Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
AmphibianSpotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
State DogBoykin Spaniel

Jeepers (Boykin Spaniel)
State SpiderCarolina Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis).JPG

State ShellLettered Olive

Oliva sayana 02.JPG

Game birdWild Turkey

Gall-dindi.jpg

State fruitPeach

Illustration Prunus persica0.jpg

State heritage work animalMule

Juancito.jpg

State InsectCarolina Mantid

Stagmomantis carolina Kaldari 05 cropped.jpg

State marine mammalBottlenose dolphin

Tursiops truncatus 01.jpg

State GrassSorghastrum nutans

Sorghastrum nutans Tennessee.jpg

Longitude78° 32′ W to 83° 21′ W
Latitude32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Websitewww.sc.gov
Area Codes803, 843, 864
Table last updatedJune 8, 2020