The Barbados Connection

Barbados

Barbados

You’re probably asking yourself what the island of Barbados has to do with South Carolina. If you’ll continue to read, you will see that Barbados had a great deal to do with how South Carolina developed through the early years.

Barbados was settled by the English in 1627 and become an exceptionally wealthy, sugar controlled economy by the time of South Carolina’s settlement in 1670. Sir John Colleton, who probably led the effort to gain the Carolina charter for eight English noblemen. Anthony Ashley Cooper, later the first earl of Shaftesbury and the leading proprietor in the settling of South Carolina owned a plantation in Barbados was also a leader in helping gain a Carolina charter.

South Carolina’s beginnings are closely linked to the British West Indian colony of Barbados that it has been called a “Colony of a Colony.” South Carolina resemble the West Indies more than any other of the English mainland colonies.

Originally the Lords Proprietors wanted to inhabit their colony with settlers from Barbados and other colonies rather than from England. In 1663 a group of “Barbadian Explorers” attempted to establish a settlement at Cape Fear but four years the Barbadian settlement at Cape Fear was abandoned. In 1669 an expedition from England picked up some Barbadians and made its way to Carolina where they began to settle in the Charleston area. A great deal of the shipping from England during the early years came via Barbados, and a considerable number of Barbadians, both white and black, immigrated to the Carolina lowcountry.

Barbados has a total of 166 square miles of land, and by 1670 a majority of it was tied up in sugar “factories.” While the migration of freemen, indentured servants, and slaves from Barbados was huge only in South Carolina’s early years, the ties between the colonies remained strong. Provisions and barrel poles were among South Carolina’s earliest profitable enterprises and remained a substantial portion of exports even after large rice plantations enriched by slave labor came to dominate the colony after the 1690s

Proprietary South Carolina’s powerful Goose Creek political faction contained Barbadians. Their efforts to circumvent the proprietors’ prohibitions against selling Native Americans into slavery and dealing with pirates plagued the colony’s owners for years. Sir John Yeamans, who abandoned the earlier failed Barbadian settlement at Cape Fear and arranged the murder of his paramour’s husband so that he could marry her, while serving as South Carolina’s third governor from 1672 to 1674, he infuriated Lord Shaftesbury by making profits selling to Barbados provisions that were desperately needed in Carolina. Proprietary South Carolina had two other Barbadian governors: James Colleton, a brother of the man who then held the Colleton family share in the enterprise; and Robert Gibbes, who bribed his way into the governor’s office in 1710.

The Ashley River Story

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The Ashley River

Compared to other river the Ashley River is comparatively small but is unparalleled in the Southeast, if not the nation, for its history, its diversity of environments, and its location in a major city. Emerging from the Wassamassaw and Cypress Swamps in Berkeley and Dorchester Counties, it only flows around sixty miles before joining the Cooper River in Charleston harbor.  

Even though the river is short in length, the river moves through three separate types of riverine ecosystems: a blackwater stream, a freshwater tidal river, and a saltwater tidal river, each creating extensive and different types of wetlands. These assorted ecosystems and their transitional zones generate an abundant of different plants representing the natural history of the lower coastal plain of the state. Since the Native Americans first settled in the area, this diverse river region has provided people with plush and accessible resources.

The Ashley River played a significant role in the history of South Carolina. The colony’s first English settlement was established along its banks at Albemarle Point in 1670. Originally named the Kiawah River after the region’s Native Americans, the river was renamed in honor of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, one of the original Lords Proprietors. Ten years later the settlement relocated to the peninsula downstream, where the Ashley joins the Cooper River to form a harbor into the Atlantic Ocean. This connection enabled Charleston to become a major colonial seaport, even though it did not connect the seaport with an interior navigable waterway. This situation helped isolated the lowcountry from the upstate of South Carolina and pushed settlements into the upstate by immigrants from North Carolina and Virginia rather than from Charleston.

The Ashley River may have had limitations, but the Ashley did provide as an important route of for transportation and commerce in the area. It served the area of Dorchester which had a major trading post that was settled in 1697 about twenty miles upstream from Charleston. Along the river’s span were well-known plantations, such as Middleton Place, Magnolia, and Drayton Hall. Vessels ranging from canoes to rice barges and schooners linked these places and were operated by Europeans and African Americans, both enslaved and free.

During the postbellum era, phosphate was mined extensively from lands on both sides of the Ashley River, and docks for barges lined the river. Because of the Ashley River’s historical significance and natural beauty, the Ashley was named a National Historic District in 1994 and a State Scenic River in 1999.

The Ashley River has continued to be an essential resource for Charleston, its wealth of historic sites and scenic beauty combine to make the Ashley River a substantially sought-after place to live. It also brings an unparalleled resource for tourism and outdoor recreation all along the Ashley River.  

Colony of South Carolina

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

History of South Carolina Colony.

The Spanish and French vied over the rights to the coast of South Carolina in the 1500’s. In 1562, French soldiers unsuccessfully attempted to start a settlement on Parris Island off the coast of South Carolina. In 1566, the Spanish built the colony of Santa Elena near the site of the original French settlement. Santa Elena was abandoned in 1576 after being attacked by Indians. Although the settlement was rebuilt, the Spanish concentrated their forces in Florida after British pirate Sir Francis Drake destroyed St. Augustine. The British would be the next to colonize the area.

South Carolina, part of the original Province of Carolina, was founded in 1663 when King Charles II gave the land to eight noble men known as the Lords Proprietors. At the time, the province included both North Carolina and South Carolina. North and South Carolina separated royal colonies in 1729.

In 1670, the first permanent English settlement in South Carolina was established at Albemarle Point in present day Charleston, as time passed Albemarle Point disappeared. Many of the original settlers came from the Caribbean island of Barbados, including the new governor, William Sayle. A year before, in 1669, prospective Carolina settlers including John Locke wrote the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which served as an early form of government for the Carolina colony.

In 1680, the colony moved to Charles Town (Charleston). Charles Town would quickly become the cultural and economic center of the southern colonies. Because of the influence of the Caribbean settlers, the colony’s original economy resembled the plantation colonies of the West Indies. It would become a major center for rice, tobacco and indigo production, and the colony’s plantation owners were among the wealthiest people in all the colonies. In 1729 the Province of Carolina split creating South Carolina and North Carolina.