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South Carolina currently has forty-six counties. Counties were established in the colonial period primarily for locating land grants, with most other governmental activities being centralized in Charleston. The growth of the backcountry led to the establishment of judicial districts throughout the colony, but low country areas continued to be identified primarily by their Anglican parish names. Following the Revolution, both district and county courts were established, but in 1800 most of the counties became districts. Finally, in 1868 all of the existing districts were renamed counties. New counties continued to be formed until the early part of the 20th century, with the most recent being Allendale in 1919. For maps and information on early counties and districts, see Maps Tracing the Formation of Counties in South Carolina.
For most of the state's history, county officers had very little power or authority. Counties were essentially governed by their state legislative delegations. This system ended in 1975 when the Home Rule Act was passed. Each county now has a choice of one of four types of government. In the council form of government all executive and legislative power rests in the elected county council, while the council-supervisor form provides for an elected council and an elected supervisor with specified powers and duties. In both the council-administrator and council-manager forms the administrator or manager is appointed by the council.
|Find a brief history of South Carolina Counties|
|Berkeley County||142,651||1,100||Moncks Corner||1882|
|Calhoun County||15,185||380||Saint Matthews||1908|
|Dorchester County||96,413||575||Saint George||1868|