Settled by the English in 1670, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. constitution in 1788. Its early economy was largely agricultural, benefitting from the area’s fertile soil, and plantation farmers relied on the slave trade for cheap labor to maximize their profits. By 1730, people of African descent made up two-thirds of the colony population. South Carolina became the first state to secede from the union in 1861 and was the site of the first shots of the Civil War–the shelling of the federally heldFort Sumter by Confederate troops on April 12, 1861. Today, the South Carolina coastline near Myrtle Beach has developed into one of the premier resort destinations on the East Coast and has over 100 golf courses. Famous South Carolinians include musicians James Brown, Chubby Checker, and Dizzy Gillespie, novelist Pat Conroy, boxer Joe Frazier, tennis champion Althea Gibson, politician Jesse Jackson and long-serving U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond.
The state has the fourth largest state-maintained system in the country, consisting of 11 Interstates, numbered highways, state highways, and secondary roads, totaling approximately 41,500 miles.
On secondary roads, South Carolina uses a numbering system to keep track of all non-interstate and primary highways that the South Carolina Department of Transportation maintains. Secondary roads are numbered by the number of the county followed by a unique number for the particular road.
There are seven significant airports in South Carolina, all of which act as regional airport hubs. The busiest by passenger volume is Charleston International Airport. Just across the border in North Carolina is Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the 30th busiest airport in the world, in terms of passengers.
Columbia Metropolitan Airport – Columbia
Charleston International Airport – North Charleston
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport – Greenville/Spartanburg
Florence Regional Airport – Florence
Myrtle Beach International Airport – Myrtle Beach
Hilton Head Airport – Hilton Head Island/Beaufort
Rock Hill/York County Airport – Rock Hill
At the start of the twenty-first century, the South Carolina State Ports Authority operated, without state appropriations, three ports in the state: Charleston, Georgetown, and Port Royal. The modern port of Charleston, a container port, is South Carolina’s busiest, handling trade with 140 nations.
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) operates oceanside and inland terminals throughout the state with facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown, and Greer. SCPA makes a $63.4 billion economic impact on South Carolina each year and creates 1 in 10 SC jobs, according to a study from the University of South Carolina. Port-supported jobs pay nearly 32% higher than the state’s average annual salary.
S.C. Ports continue to drive economic growth in South Carolina, serving as a key competitive advantage for the state and supporting the state’s thriving business community. Port operations account for 10% of the state’s economy and generate $1.1 billion in tax revenue annually for the state.