City Guide: Charleston, SC
5/2/2011
Although Charleston, SC, is in the spotlight now for its pivotal role in the start of the Civil War, its history stretches back far before the April 12, 1861, firing on Fort Sumter. From the early Charles Town settlement to the Civil War and beyond, use these tips and sources to shed light on your Charleston roots.
Although Charleston, SC, is in the spotlight now for its pivotal role in the start of the Civil War, its history stretches back far before the April 12, 1861, firing on Fort Sumter. Spanish explorers first visited the coastal plains of what would become South Carolina in 1521. After the Spanish departed in 1587, the English moved in. In 1670, they named a colony at Albemarle Point in honor of King Charles II -- Charles Town. From that early settlement to the Civil War and beyond, use these tips and sources to shed light on your Charleston roots.

Settling Up

The English began a series of efforts to attract settlers to the Carolina colony by renting land for a half-penny an acre and offering monetary incentives to those who imported healthy British servants. Lords proprietor representing the crown kept land records until 1719, when provincial secretaries took over land grants and began public registers for deeds. Carolina began to split shortly thereafter, and South Carolina became a crown colony in 1729.