The Spanish tried to settle South Carolina in 1566 by building Fort San Felipe on Parris Island, south of modern day Beaufort. Indian attacks forced abandonment but they returned the following year. The Spanish left in 1587 to concentrate their resources on the defence of St Augustine in Florida after Sir Francis Drake’s 1586 destruction of the city. King Charles II of England gave Carolina to eight of his noblemen, the Lords Proprietors, who brought in their first settlers in 1670, many from Barbados. Further settlement brought in religious minorities to counter the threat from the Catholic Spanish and French colonies to the south. Plantations sprang up and by 1708 the majority of non-indigenous residents were African slaves. In 1788 South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the US Constitution and in 1860 it was the first state to secede from the Union at the start of the Civil War.
H L Hunley replica, Charleston Museum
The American Civil War saw submarines deployed by both sides. The Confederates used the H L Hunley to try to break a Union blockade of southern ports. She had a crew of eight, a hand cranked propellor and her weapon was a torpedo on the end of a long pole. In 1864 off Charleston harbour the Hunley rammed the USS Housatonic and then backed off leaving behind the torpedo, which was detonated via a rope. The Housatonic was the first warship to be sunk by a submarine. The Hunley surfaced to signal success to the land forces before diving again. She did not return from that dive. The wreck was located in 1995 just outside the harbour and was raised in 2000. The Hunley is now being preserved, but in March 2010 we were able to view a replica outside the Charleston Museum.
Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island was named in 1663 by British Captain William Hilton, who modestly named it after himself. The island played a major role in the Civil War as the base for the Union blockade of southern ports. A bridge connected the island to the mainland in 1956 and this triggered the development of Hilton Head into a resort island. It is now home to numerous gated resorts calling themselves plantations even though they grow no crops. Hilton Head abounds with facilities for golf, tennis, boating and fishing. Harbour Town (note the British spelling) has a marina, condominiums, restaurants, shops and a modern lighthouse built to provide a view rather than to guide ships. Click Tab 2 to see Harbour Town from the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse.
Hunting Island Lighthouse and Keepers House foundations
Hunting Island got its name as a result of its abundant deer, waterfowl and racoon which were hunted by local people. It was also once a popular place for pirates have a rest and maintain their ships before returning to their marauding ways. Long before Harbour Town built its fake one, lighthouses played a key role in keeping shipping safe along the coast of South Carolina. Only one of such lighthouse is open to the public, the one on Hunting Island. The original lighthouse was lit in 1859 but survived only two years before it was blown up by retreating Confederate soldiers. A replacement was planned immediately after the Civil War but was not completed until 1875. By 1889 coastal erosion forced a decision to relocated the lighthouse, so it was dismantled and re-erected further inland. In 1933 the lighthouse was replaced by an offshore buoy and five years later the island became a State Park. The former Keepers House accidentally burned down when it was being used by workers setting up the State Park.
'Joggling Board' in yard of Charleston House
The Joggling Board is Charleston’s answer to the rocking chair in the porch. Legend has it that it originated in Scotland and one was sent over in the early 19th century to help a lady suffering from rheumatism to get some exercise. They caught on and were soon to be found in virtually every yard or piazza, as covered porches are known in Charleston. Although much less common nowadays, joggling boards are still manufactured.
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