10,000 – 8,000 BCE The first Native Americans cross into the New World from Siberia 12,000 to 10,000 years ago. The first permanent settlements appear around 1000 BCE At least 29 distinct groups of Native Americans live in South Carolina prior to European arrival. These include the Catawba, Chicora, Santee, and Cherokee. Many of the tribes that once lived in South Carolina are now extinct due to European diseases and conflicts with settlers.
Settled by the English in 1670, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. constitution in 1788. By 1730, people of African descent made up two thirds of the colony's 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 held Fort Sumter by Confederate troops on April 12, 1861.
1500-1600: Early Carolina Expeditions and Settlements
1521 - June 24 - First recorded Spanish expedition reaches the Carolina coast, probably near Winyah Bay.
1524 - First French ship scouts the Carolina coast.
1526 - August - First Spanish attempt at a settlement, San Miguel de Gualdape, probably near Winyah Bay. Colony fails within a year, and only 150 of 500 settlers live to return home.
1540 - Hernando DeSoto may have reached Carolina Lowcountry on a trek north from Florida.
1562 - First French attempt at a settlement made by Jean Ribaut on Parris Island. Built a fort named Charlesfort. Settlement fails within a year. Similar French attempts to settle in Florida bring about bloody Spanish massacre and equally bloody French reprisal.
1565 - St. Augustine founded.
1566 - Spain decides to build coastal forts to discourage French settlements. First of these, Fort San Felipe later rebuilt as Fort San Marco), is built near the ruins of Charlesfort.
1585 - First attempted British settlement on Roanoke Island founded by Sir Walter Raleigh. It is destroyed by Native Americans and survivors are rescued by Sir Francis Drake.
1600-1670: The Seeds of Carolina
1604 - Founding of the first settlement at Jamestown, VA.
1620 - Plymouth Colony founded.
1623 - First charter for Carolina Colony granted to Sir Robert Heath by King Charles I. Charter would never be used.
1633 - Middle Plantation in Virginia founded, later to become Colonial Williamsburg.
1640 - Boston founded.
1649 - King Charles I is tried by a court of Puritans, convicted of treason, and beheaded. Oliver Cromwell comes to power.
1650 - First settlements near Albemarle Sound, in what today is North Carolina, by frontiersmen from Virginia.
1660 - Cromwell dies and his son, Richard, is too weak to take power. The Prince of Wales, Charles II, assumes the throne.
1663 - Charles II, as repayment for their political support against the forces of Cromwell, grants eight ex-generals, the Lords Proprietors, title to Carolina. Charter is later amended to include the Albemarle Sound settlements.
1666 - Capt. Robert Sanford explores and names the Ashley River. On June 23 takes formal possession of Carolina for England and the Proprietors.
1669 - July 21 - The Fundamental Constitution of Carolina, written by the philosopher John Locke, serving as secretary to Ashley-Cooper, is approved by the Lords Proprietors. Its guarantee of religious freedom, in language similar to Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, will have a profound and lasting influence on the development of Charleston's social fabric, leading to the immigration of such diverse groups as French Hugenots and Sephardic Jews.
1670-1720: The Proprietors' Fortress
1672 - Charles Town is reported to consist of 30 houses and some 200-300 settlers
1680 - April 30 - The Richmond arrives carrying the first large group of French Huguenots.
1685 - October - Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, which had guaranteed the rights of Huguenots in France. This revocation accelerates the emmigration of French Huguenots to Charleston.
1690 - Charles Town is officially moved to current site on the peninsula. Population is estimated at 1,200, making it the fifth largest city in North America.
1693 - "Liberty of Conscience" substantiated, reaffirming the right of locals to worship as they please.
1698 - October 8 - Increasing importation of African slaves prompts a law providing cash incentive for bringing white servants into Carolina.
1704 - First known map of the Walled City: the Crisp Map of 1704
1706 - September 2 - Joint French and Spanish attack upon Charles Town during Queen Anne's War is repulsed when Colonial forces capture French vessel and crew.
1710 - Powder Magazine at 79 Cumberland St. and Pink House Tavern at 17 Chalmers St. built about this time.
1713 - September 5 - Hurricane of 1713 strikes the city.
1715 - Yemassee Indian War lasts two years in Carolina
1717 - City begins to remove fortifications to allow for expansion.
1718 - Blackbeard the Pirate sails into Charles Town Harbor with four ships; takes hostages for ransom. Also in this year, the pirate Stede Bonnet is hanged at White Point.
1719 - Failure of Lords Proprietors to protect colonists from various threats results in a Revolutionary Assembly. Citizens petition the King to take over the reins of government
1720-1773: Crown Colony
1721 - South Carolina becomes a royal colony. General Sir Francis Nicholson made Governor.
1729 - July 25 - King George buys out the Lords Proprietors, finalizing South Carolina's transformation into a Royal Colony.
1733 - January 13 -James Oglethorpe and the first settlers for Georgia arrive in Charles Town Harbor on the Anne. Savannah is founded soon after.
1734 - February 2 - After the death of its first editor, The South Carolina Gazette resumes publication under Lewis Timothy, who is backed by Ben Franklin.
1735 - February 18 - The first public presentation of an opera in the colonies is performed at Broad and Church.
1739 - September 9 - Some 40 blacks and 21 whites are killed during a slave revolt along the Stono River.
1742 - Charles Town's population estimated to be 6,800.
1745 - Lots laid out for Ansonborough neighborhood.
1747 - April 18 - City leaders sign a treaty with Choctaw Indians establishing trade in return for their attacking French settlements.
1748 - December 28 - A group of citizens form the Charleston Library Society, a subscription library still in existance.
1751 - June 14 - City is divided into two parishes: St. Michael's south of Broad, and St. Philip's north of Broad.
1752 - September - Great Hurricane of 1752 devastates the city, killing nearly a hundred.
1761 - February 1 - First services are held at St. Michael's Church, the oldest surviving church building in the city.
1767 - The Old Exchange Building is built on the ruins of Half-Moon Battery, the site of the former Court of Guard.
1773 - January 12 - A committee of The Library Society establishes the Charleston Museum - the oldest in the country.
1774-1782: Revolution and the Siege of Charles Town
1777 - February 13 - The new state government stipulates that each male citizen shall denounce the King and pledge loyalty to the state.
1778 - January 15 - A major fire destroyes many buildings on Broad, Elliott, and Tradd Sts. British loyalists are suspected of arson.
1779 - November-December - Unable to win a decisive battle in the northern states, the British prepare a massive combined sea and land expedition against Charles Town, under the command of Vice Admiral Arbuthnot, General Sir Henry Clinton, and Lord Cornwallis.
1779 - December - General Washington orders 1,400 Continentals to join the forces of General Benjamin Lincoln defending Charles Town.
1782 - December 14 - Defeated British Army marches out of city, ending the occupation.
1783-1860: Antebellum Charleston
1783 - August 13 - This date marks the incorporation of the city, and the official adoption of the name Charleston.
1785 - March 19 - Assembly grants charter for the College of Charleston.
1791 - May 2 - President George Washington arrives in Charleston for a week's visit. His itinerary includes lodging at the Daniel Heyward House 87 Church St. -, a reception at the Old Exchange, and a social evening at McCrady's Longroom 153 East Bay -.
1799 - December 21 - The Charleston Water Works, the city's first public utility, is established to bring water from Goose Creek.
1804 - September 7 - Hurricane of 1804.
1818 - Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, arrives in Charleston to begin a printing business.
1820 - Charleston's population estimated to be 23,300.
1828-29 - A young Army recruit named Edgar Allan Poe is stationed at Ft. Moultrie on Sullivans Island for a year. Later sets his first published story, The Gold Bug, on Sullivan's Island, incorporating coastal Carolina pirate lore.
1830 - December 25 - The first steam locomotive in America to pull passengers in regular service, The Best Friend, begins its route between Charleston and Hamburg SC.
1831 - October16 - John James Audubon arrives in Charleston to work on his Birds of America.
1838 - January 30 - Osceola, Chief of the Seminoles, dies during imprisonment at Ft. Moultrie.
1838 - Fire destroys much of Ansonborough.
1843 - March 20 - The Citadel opens for its first class of cadets.
1851 - Renowned scientist Dr. Louis Agassiz comes to Charleston to teach at the Medical College of South Carolina and establishes a seaside laboratory on Sullivan's Island to study the flora and fauna of the Atlantic Ocean.
1860-1865: From Sumter to Sherman
1864 - The Confederate submarine CSS H. L. Hunley rams the Housatonic; the first submarine to sink a vessel in war.
1870-Present: Modern Era Begins
1886 - August 31 - The Lowcountry is struck by an estimated 7.5 earthquake, resulting in 83 deaths and $6 million in damage.
1900 - Charleston's population estimated to be 55,807.
1901 - The South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition, a forerunner of the World's Fair, attracts 700,000 people from around the nation to Hampton Park.
1920 - Susan Pringle Frost and others form the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, later to be renamed the Preservation Society of Charleston, marking the formal beginning of organized historic preservation.
1931 - The City of Charleston adopts a Planning and Zoning Ordinance establishing the "Old and Historic District," protecting some 400 residential properties in a 23-block area south of Broad Street.
1934 - Composer George Gershwin arrives in Charleston to research and write Porgy and Bess, the first American opera, including its famous song "Summertime."
1935 - Founding of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
1947 - The Historic Charleston Foundation is established to oversee a revolving fund with which to purchase threatened historic properties, restore them, and sell them with protective covenants.
1951 - Charleston Judge J. Watis Waring dissents from a Federal District Court decision upholding the "separate but equal" doctrine in Briggs v. Elliott.
1954 - May - The U. S. Supreme Court accepts Judge Waring's dissent in Briggs v. Elliott as the basis for their unanimous opinion overturning the "separate but equal" doctrine in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka.
1957 - Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti comes to Charleston at the instigation of Countess Alicia Paolozzi who owns a home in the city, and begins negotiations to make Charleston the American site of Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds, later called the Spoleto Festival.
1963 - September - Charleston's Rivers High School becomes the first racially integrated high school in South Carolina.
1966 - Following the destruction of the landmark Charleston Hotel, the Historic District is tripled in size to include Ansonborough, Harleston Village, and other areas between Broad and Calhoun streets.
1977 - May - The first Spoleto Festival USA is held, and Charleston is designated the permanent American home for this "Festival of Two Worlds."
1982 - May - The construction of Charleston Place, a hotel-shopping-convention center, sets off a building and rehabilitation boom in the downtown business district.
1989 - September 21 - Hurricane Hugo, a powerful category 4 hurricane with winds of 131-155 mph slams into the city with a 12-17 foot wall of water rolling over Ft. Sumter around midnight. The barrier islands are inundated as an estimated 80% of homes on Sullivan's Island and Folly Island are badly damaged or destroyed . Many homes in the Historic District sustain 10 to 24 inches of flooding. While about three quarters of the 3,500 significant structures suffer some damage, only twenty-five historically important buildings are severely damaged. Total losses are estimated at $2.8 billion.
1995 - May - Author Clive Cussler announces that his team of divers has discovered the wreck of the Confederate Submarine H. L. Hunley in the waters off Sullivan's Island. To read about the latest efforts to study and recover the CSS Hunley, you can visit two pages: one maintained by the Subwar Network provides a good overview, and the other, maintained by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology provides periodic updates.
2000 - South Carolina removed last Confederate flag flying above U S Statehouse
2002 - 100 year old Sen. Strom Thurmond retires
2004 - Hurricane Gaston caused major flooding; damaged structures
2007 - Nine fire fighters killed in furniture warehouse fire in Charleston
2009 - Atlantic Coast Conference moved three future baseball tournaments out of state due to concerns from NAACP over state-sponsored display of Confederate flag
2010 - Legislation introduced mandating gold and silver to replace federal currency in the state
2011 - State's immigration laws challenged by 16 nations from Latin America and Caribbean
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