History of Charleston Part One
History of Charleston Part Two
History of Charleston Part Three
History of Charleston Part Four
History of Charleston Part Five
A Closer Look At The History Of Charleston SC
The history of Charleston SC is a reflection of the history of the United States. It was one of the wealthiest and most important cities in America until the Civil War devastated the local economy. It would take some time to regain momentum afterwards, but once they did, they returned to being a prime example of a great American city.
The Beginning Of The History Of Charleston SC
In 1663, King Charles II handed the Carolina territory to eight of the Lords Proprietors. It would still take seven years after this before a settlement could be established. The first settlement in the area was Charles Town, which would eventually become the Charleston we are all familiar with.
It is in 1670 that the history of Charleston SC truly began. English colonists originating from the Somers Isles would establish the Charles Town community on behalf of the Lords Proprietors. Anthony Cooper, who led the proprietors, declared that Charles Town would become a great port town.
More and more settlers moved to Charles Town over the next decade. The town grew considerably with an influx of settlers from Virginia and England. At this time, Charleston was now the capital of Carolina. It was also the most southern town in the English settlement. It served as an important launching point for the further expansion of the colonies.
The importance and location of the town made it a prime target for many different enemies. France, Spain, Native Americans, and pirates alike all attacked the town on a regular basis. A wall was soon built around the settlement to help protect against attackers. Only two buildings remain in Charleston from these early days.
Charles Town would continue to expand and improve significantly over the following century before the American Revolution. It became the fourth largest port in the colonies. No city south of Philadelphia could match Charles Town regarding size or wealth. It was a massive and important trade center for the Atlantic.
Their primary sources of trade became rice, indigo, and cotton. The population soon reached a bustling 11,000 people with more than half of those people being slaves. Charles Town was clearly the capital of the south at the time.
The History Of Charleston SC During The Revolution
The history of Charleston SC would take on a new light as the American Revolution. Charleston was a key part of the revolution and a meeting place for many great leaders in the South. In 1774, Charleston sent representatives to the Exchange where they would declare their independence.
This caused Charleston to become a new target for Britain. British warships would shoot at Charleston church steeples. The people of the town decided to paint the steeples black so that they would be camouflaged during the night.
The king of Britain was certain that many loyalists still remained in Charleston. He believed that he could seize the city with the help of the loyalist. In 1776, he attacked the fortified city and attempted to take the town, but was defeated by William Moultrie leading the Continental Army.
The history of Charleston SC was no longer the history of Britain, it was entirely American and the citizens would fight to defend the town. To signify this change, Charles Town officially changed its name to Charleston in 1783.
Recovering From The Civil War
The history of Charleston SC took a turn for the worse during the American Civil War. It suffered severe damage from bombardments and fires. Much of the architecture was damaged or destroyed during these times. However, they were determined to recover once the war had ended.
New industries were required to help fuel the damaged economy. Instead of constructing new buildings, the government focused on rebuilding whatever existing structures could be salvaged. This is why there are still quite a few historical sites and buildings remaining in Charleston today.
The history of Charleston SC would go through many big changes through the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Charleston would again be damaged by hurricanes and earthquakes, but not even these natural disasters could stop the city from returning to its former glory.
Modern Day Charleston
Joe Riley was elected as mayor in 1975. He put into action a plan to restore and revitalize the existing communities and economy of Charleston. He helped the city invest a lot of time and money into restoring and preserving many historical sites. Hurricane Hugo would strike in 1989, but the preservation continued in its wake.
Charleston has come a long way from its days of relying on rice and indigo to survive. It's still one of the best ports in the country. The economy is now fueled mostly by tourism. Luxury hotels, condos, and many tourist attractions line the streets and beaches. Millions of people from around the world travel to South Carolina every year just to visit this thriving historical city.