South Carolina

South Carolina is also popularly known as The “Palmetto” State.  Palmetto refers to the sabal palmetto, or the state tree, also known as the cabbage palmetto.  South Carolina became the 8th state to join the Union in 1788.  It was also the first state to successfully vote in succeeding from the Union, proceeding to be the founding state of the Confederate States of America. As of 2010, the United States ranked South Carolina the 24th according to population of 4,625,384 residents located within the state’s 46 counties.  The capital of South Carolina is located in Columbia.

State Nickname

In addition to being referred to as “The Palmetto State”, there are several other popular nicknames attached to the state including:  “The Rice State” due to its massive production of rice, “The Swamp State” for its common swamps and marshes, “Keystone of the South Atlantic Seaboard” due to its geographical location and the “Iodine State” due to high amounts of iodine in native vegetation.

Climate Summary

South Carolina is known for its humid subtropical climate; however, the higher elevations found upstate tend to have minimal subtropical characteristics than those around the coastline. Average daily summer temperatures range from 86-93 degrees Fahrenheit, with winter temperatures varying on elevation dropping below freezing upstate. March is generally the wettest month; and November being the driest. 

State Tax Situation 

The state mandates that sales tax be applied exclusively to education.  Although South Carolina has a practical 6% sales tax, however, when totaled with county and local taxes, the state ranks as the second most expensive sales tax in the United States, equaling 10.5%; the second highest only to California. South Carolinas’ residents over 85 receive a 1% exclusion from general sales taxes.

Government Summary

South Carolina’s government consists of three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Throughout history South Carolina’s Executive branch has been weak, and more power is held by the legislature.  Prior to 1865, state governors were appointed into office by the General Assembly.  In 1926, however, governors were limited to a four-year term with the ability to run for a second term via the process of a popular election.

State Seal

South Carolina’s seal, adopted in 1776, depicts two elliptical areas linked together by branches of a Palmetto tree. The left area depicts a strong palmetto tree and a broken one to represent the battle of June 28, 1776, between Sullivan’s Island defenders and the British Fleet. The right area displays a woman walking along a littered shore with weapons as a symbol of hope.

Motto & Description 

The motto for the state of South Carolina, adopted in May 22, 1777, is “Dum spiro spero.”  The motto when translated from Latin means “While I breathe, I hope.”  Another of the state’s motto reads “Animis opibusque parati.” Another Latin translation reveals “Ready in soul and resource.”  

State Flag

South Carolina’s state flag was adopted on January 28, 1861, although it actually dates back to 1765 when Stamp Act opponents marched in opposition of a blue flag displaying three white crescents on the flag.  The design reflects a single white palmetto tree silhouette on an azure field.  The canton of the flag displays a white crescent.

State Bird

The state bird of South Carolina is the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). A native of most of the eastern half of the United States, the bird grows to an average of 6-7 inches long and maintains a diet of insects, small reptiles, seeds, berries and other small fruits.

State Flower

The state flower is appropriately named the South Carolina yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens). Although a strikingly beautiful vine which can climb 3-6 meters high with proper support and adorning yellow and orange trumpet-shaped blossoms, however, parts of the flower contain harmful toxicities, which contain strychnine-related alkaloids.

State Animal

The official state animal of South Carolina as of 1972 is the white-tailed deer (odocoileus virginianus) which can run 40 mph, swim 13 mph and jump over 9 foot obstacles. South Carolina shares the same state animal with ten other states. The white-tailed deer is notorious for flagging its tail to warn of impending danger.

State Song And Description

South Carolina is one among forty-eight states that has its own official state song selected by the respective state legislature.  In 1911, “Carolina” written by Henry Timrod, was adopted as the official state song.  Almost a decade later in 1984, “South Carolina On My Mind” was also adopted as the state’s song.   

State Colors 

The official sate color of South Carolina is indigo as represented on the state’s flag. In regards to the University of South Carolina’s Gamecocks’ colors, fans can be seen on the game day adorning garnet and black sports gear, to show support for their hometown team.