Colonial period of South Carolina
The history of the colonial period of South Carolina focuses on the English colonization that created one of the original Thirteen Colonies. Major settlement began after 1651 as the northern half of the British colony of Carolina attracted frontiersmen from Pennsylvania and Virginia, while the poor parts were populated by wealthy English planters who set up large plantations dependent on slave labor, for the cultivation of cotton, rice, and indigo. The Province of South Carolina was separated from the Province of North Carolina in 1712. Its capital city of Charleston became a major port for traffic on the Atlantic Ocean, and South Carolina developed indigo, rice and Sea Island cotton as commodity crop exports, making it one of the most prosperous of the colonies. A strong colonial government fought wars with the local Indians, and with Spanish imperial outposts in Florida, while fending the threat of pirates. Birth rates were high, food conditions were abundant, and these offset the disease environment of malaria to produce rapid population growth among whites. With the expansion of plantation agriculture, the colony imported numerous African slaves, who comprised a majority of the population by 1708. They were integral to its development.The colony developed a system of laws and self-government and a growing commitment to Republicanism, which patriots feared was threatened by the British Empire after 1765. At the same time, men with close commercial and political ties to Great Britain tended to be Loyalists when the revolution broke out. South Carolina joined the American Revolution in 1775, but was bitterly divided between Patriots and Loyalists. The British invaded in 1780 and captured most of the state, but were finally driven out.