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Historic Significance, Southern Charm, Charleston

History of Charleston, South Carolina

With stately homes, fragrant courtyard gardens, historic landmarks, exquisite art galleries & antique shops, fashion boutiques and world-class Charleston restaurants, the architectural gem that is historic Charleston has become universally regarded as one of the top travel destinations in the United States. Lonely Planet recently designated Charleston as one of the Top 10 cities to visit in the world! Get to know this wonderful seaport city during your Charleston Islands vacation.

Charleston not only boasts the United States’ oldest museum, dating to 1773, but it was also the model for the country’s first historic zoning ordinance. In addition to many landmarks, Charleston is filled with historic homes, gardens, churches, museums, libraries, theaters, plus the exciting harborfront Aquarium Wharf and Maritime Center!

View a map of the Historic Charleston Peninsula.

Charleston’s Accolades: Charleston, SC Awards List

  • Historic sites in CharlestonCharleston ranked as one of the Top 10 Cities to Visit in-the-world by Lonely Planet - 2010
  • Conde Nast Traveler readers ranked Charleston #2 top US travel destination
  • Charleston maintains No. 4 spot in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s World’s Best Poll – 2009
  • Charleston Area named in America’s “Top 10 Value Cities for Couples” by Travel Research Specialists, Shifflet & Associates. 2009
  • Charleston was named a Top Romantic Destination by HGTV, 2009
  • Charleston was ranked 7th in the Most Romantic Vacations and 14th for Best Culture & History Vacation in the US & Canada by in 2009.
  • Charleston was named One of the top Ten Places to Visit Before You Die – Andrew Harper, 2008.
  • National Geographic Adventure named Charleston one of the 50 next great adventure towns in which to live and play – 2008.
  • Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards readers’ survey ranks Charleston as the fourth best city in America – 2008.
  • Charlotte Parent Magazine recognizes Charleston as Best Weekend Getaway in the Family Favorites Reader’s Choice awards – 2008.
  • Parade Magazine names Charleston one of the five Best American Cities – 2008.
  • Southern Living names Charleston No. 1 Spring Vacation Destination – 2008.
  • Charleston is selected “Favorite City” and “Best Shopping by Southern Living Readers.

History of Charleston, South Carolina

In 1663, King Charles II of England (1630-1685) arranged for eight of his loyal friends, the Lords Proprietors, to be given Carolina territory. Anthony Ashley-Cooper chose the Charleston territory as a “great port towne” shortly after it was established by English settlers in 1670. It was founded as Charleston or Charles Towne after Charles II. The settlement became the capital of the Carolina territory and was moved southeast to its current location by 1680.Charleston’s expansion led to a plan for the settlement which reserved the land around the intersection of Meeting and Broad for a Civic Square which is known today as the Four Corners of the Law, referring to the buildings containing various arms of government and religion.

Historic sites in CharlestonAfter the protest to the Tea Act of 1773 in Charleston, the city became a main target for the British in the American Revolution due to the walls made from palm trees. Initially Charleston was able to hold off the attacks to Fort Moultrie from the British General Clinton. In 1780, Clinton returned with a larger force that outnumbered American General Benjamin Lincoln’s troop. Lincoln’s troop surrendered but many escaped and joined the militia groups led by Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” and Andrew Pickens. These militias were vital in regaining control of Charleston. After the British were defeated and left, the city changed its name to Charleston in 1783. With Charleston’s growth came more cultural and social opportunities for the community. Various ethnic groups created numerous societies.

Charleston flourished in the years following the American Revolution. The economy was dominated by plantations. Cotton plantations were important to the Charleston economy since cotton had become a major export after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Slave labor was a major part of the work force on the cotton fields as well as in the city of Charleston. The Charleston Market was founded in 1807 and became a center for the African-American community since many worked there. By 1840, the Market had become the area’s place of commerce with the selling of fresh meats and produce. The market is not where the slave trade took place. That is a common misconception. However the slave trade did rely on the port of Charleston.

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Johns Island, SC 29455
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