South Carolina is located in the southern region of the United States of America. Originally known as Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution. It was the first state to secede from the Union and was part of the Confederate States of America. The state is named after King Charles II of England, as Carolus is Latin for Charles. According to the 2006 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, the state's population is 4,321,249 ranked 24th.
South Carolina is bounded to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
South Carolina is composed of four geographic areas, whose boundaries roughly parallel the northeast/southwest Atlantic coastline. The lower part of the state is the Coastal Plain, also known as the Lowcountry, which is nearly flat and composed entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy. The coastline contains many salt marshes and estuaries, as well as natural ports such as Georgetown and Charleston. An unusual feature of the coastal plain is a large number of Carolina bays, the origins of which are uncertain, though one prominent theory suggests that they were created by a meteor shower. The bays tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation.
Just west of the coastal plain is the Sandhills region, which is thought to contain remnants of old coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken or the oceans were higher.
The Piedmont (Upstate) region contains the roots of an ancient, eroded mountain chain. It tends to be hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, and contains few areas suitable for farming. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed, with little success. It is now reforested. At the southeastern edge of the Piedmont is the fall line, where rivers drop to the coastal plain. The fall line was an important early source of water power. Mills built to harness this resource encouraged the growth of several cities, including the capital, Columbia. The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing a trade route for mill towns.
The northwestern part of the Piedmont is also known as the Foothills. The Cherokee Parkway is a scenic driving route through this area. This is where Table Rock State Park is located.
South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, although high elevation areas in the "Upstate" area have less subtropical characteristics than areas on the Atlantic coastline. In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging between 86-103 degrees Farenheit in most of the state and overnight lows over 80 °F on the coast and in the high 70s°F further inland. Winter temperatures are much less uniform in South Carolina. Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters with high temperatures approaching an average of 60 °F (16 °C) and overnight lows in the 40s°F (5-8 °C). Further inland in the higher country, the average January overnight low is normally at about 40 to 50 degrees farenheit. While precipitation is abundant the entire year in almost the entire state, near the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, while inland March tends to be the wettest month.
Snowfall in South Carolina is not very excessive with coastal areas receiving less than an inch (2.5 cm) on average. It isn't uncommon for areas on the coast (especially the southern coast) to receive no recordable snowfall in a given year, although it usually receives at least a small dusting of snow annually. The interior receives a little more snow, although nowhere in the state averages more than 6 inches (15 cm) of snow a year.
The state is prone to tropical cyclones. This is an annual concern during hurricane season, which is from June-November. The peak time of vulnerability for the southeast Atlantic coast is from early August to early October when the Cape Verde hurricane season lasts. Two memorable Category 4 Hurricanes to hit South Carolina were Hazel (1954) and Hugo (1989). South Carolina averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year, which is less than some of the states further south, and it is slightly less vulnerable to tornadoes than the states which border on the Gulf of Mexico. Still, some notable tornadoes have struck South Carolina and the state averages around 14 tornadoes annually.
National Parks in South Carolina include:
- Charles Pinckney National Historic Site at Mt. Pleasant
- Congaree National Park in Hopkins
- Cowpens National Battlefield near Chesnee
- Fort Moultrie National Monument at Sullivan’s Island
- Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor
- Kings Mountain National Military Park at Blacksburg
- Ninety Six National Historic Site in Ninety Six
- Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
National Monuments in South Carolina include:
- Fort Moultrie National Monument
- Fort Sumter National Monument
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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