Carolina and Charleston
On October 30, 1629, the Carolina Province was named, and plans were made for early settlement. That settlement would be delayed for many years, but the name was retained.
In the 1620s, Sir Robert Heath was on a commission to establish a tobacco trade with Virginia. On October 30, 1629, England’s King Charles I granted him a patent for the lands south of 36 degrees and north of 31 degrees “under the name, in honor of that king, of Carolana.” (Carolus is Latin for Charles.) Initially, Heath had planned to invite French Huguenots to settle the land, but the king rejected that plan and said only members of the Church of England could settle there. King Charles was later executed in 1649 and Heath fled to France where he died. His heirs would later lay claim to the land, but they were denied.
Following Charles’s execution, the monarchy was dismantled, and a commonwealth established. His son, Charles II eventually reclaimed the throne for the monarchy. A group of eight noblemen had helped him in his return to power. As thanks, he granted them charters to territory in South Carolina. Seven years passed before the group, which was known as the lords proprietors, sent the first colonists to settle along the coast of South Carolina. The English settlers selected a spot where the Ashley and Cooper rivers fed into the ocean. According to a legend handed down through the years, a friendly Native American chief named Shadoo invited the colonists to settle at a site across the river from the city’s current location. In 1670, at Albemarle Point, they established the first successful, permanent white settlement in South Carolina.
Over time, settlers of the small town moved across the river to Charleston’s present location in 1672, and the port town became a bustling trade center. By 1680, this second settlement replaced the original Charles Town. The wealthiest city south of Philadelphia, Charles Town was the capital city of South Carolina from 1670-1790, as well as the cultural and economic center of the South.
The colonists’ relationship with England had been severely strained and deteriorated further as the War of Independence loomed. As one of the southernmost English settlements, Charles Town became a focal point in the American Revolution. In 1774, South Carolina declared its independence from the crown on the steps of Charles Town’s Exchange and Custom House. A 1776 siege on the city was defended by William Moultrie on Charles Town’s Harbor’s Sullivan Island. Despite that victory, the city came under British control for more than two years. In 1783, the spelling was changed to Charleston.
Charleston prospered in the post-Revolutionary years. However, the South Carolina legislature was the first state to vote for secession from the Union. On January 9, 1861, cadets from Charleston’s military academy, The Citadel, fired the first shots of the American Civil War when they opened fire on a Union ship entering the harbor to bring supplies to Fort Sumter. Although the city suffered widespread devastation during the Civil War, Charleston recovered its former prosperity and is a popular tourist destination today.
The 1930 Carolina-Charleston Stamp
The 1930 Carolina-Charleston stamp had been promoted by the Charleston Stamp Club. Charleston’s City Council passed a resolution to request that Congress ask the Post Office to issue a stamp for the city’s 250th anniversary. The postmaster general initially rejected the proposal, saying that he didn’t want to issue a stamp for a local anniversary, when similar city anniversaries, such as that of Baltimore, had recently been rejected. He then received a letter suggesting that the sale of the stamp to collectors would offset the cost. Within a month of his initial decision, he ordered the stamp to be produced. The city of Charleston submitted its proposed design, and it was largely accepted. It includes rice and indigo plants on either side, important early crops to the settlement. The vignette pictures Governor Joseph West and Chief Shadoo. It also pictures ships representing those of the original colonists and Huguenots who arrived later.
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