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South Carolina Counties

South Carolina is made up of fourty-six counties. They range in size from 392 square miles (1,016 square kilometers) in the case of Calhoun County to 1,358 square miles (3,517 square kilometers) in the case of Charleston County. The least populous county is McCormick County, with only 9,958 residents, while the most populous county is Greenville County, with a population of 395,357, despite the state's most populous city, Columbia, being located in Richland County.

Beaufort County, South Carolina

Beaufort County Education, Geography, and History

Beaufort County, South Carolina Courthouse

Beaufort County is a county located in the state of South Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 162,233. Its county seat is Beaufort.

Beaufort County is included in the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Beaufort County Name

Both Beaufort County and its county seat of Beaufort were named for Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Beaufort County History

Both Beaufort County and its county seat of Beaufort were named for Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. The district was formed in 1769 from the parishes of Prince William, St. Luke, St. Helena, and St. Peter. It remained relatively unchanged in size until 1878, when a large portion was removed to form Hampton County. French explorers visited this area long before the English arrived. They established a fort in 1562, as did the Spanish in 1566; neither of these settlements survived, however. Beaufort, the second oldest town in South Carolina, was founded in 1710. In the years before the Civil War, rice and sea island cotton plantations brought great wealth to the region. Federal troops occupied Beaufort in December 1861, and the first school in the South for freed slaves was established during the Civil War at what is now Penn Center on St. Helena Island. The United States Marine Corps began training recruits at Parris Island in 1915, and later in the twentieth century Hilton Head Island and neighboring sea islands have become popular resort and retirement destinations. Some famous residents of Beaufort County are naturalists Alexander Garden (ca. 1730-1791) and Stephen Elliott (1771-1830); Robert Smalls (1839-1915), a former slave who became a United States Congressman; boxer Joe Frazier; and writer Pat Conroy.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 923 square miles (2,390 km2), of which, 587 square miles (1,520 km2) of it is land and 336 square miles (870 km2) of it (36.41%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Colleton County, South Carolina - north
  • Jasper County, South Carolina - west
  • Hampton County, South Carolina - northwest


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