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South Carolina stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge Mountains, containing 31,113 square miles. Fortieth in geographic area among the fifty states, it ranks twenty-sixth in population. The Palmetto State's four million citizens value its rich history, a legacy that is a prime factor in making tourism one of the state's largest industries.Spaniards explored the South Carolina coast as early as 1514, and Hernando DeSoto met the Queen of Cofitachiqui in 1540 when he crossed the central part of the state. Spanish fears of French rivalry were heightened when Huguenots led by Jean Ribaut attempted to settle on what is now Parris Island near Beaufort in 1562. After Ribaut returned to France for reinforcements, the soldiers who were left behind revolted, built themselves a ship, and sailed for France the next year. The horrors of that voyage went beyond eating shoes to cannibalism before an English ship rescued the pitiful remainder of the French attempt to colonize here.The Spanish built Fort San Felipe on Parris Island in 1566 and made the new settlement there, known as Santa Elena **, the capital of La Florida Province. In 1576, under attack from Native Americans, Santa Elena was abandoned, but the fort was rebuilt the next year. The English also posed a threat. A decade later, after Sir Francis Drake had destroyed St. Augustine, the Spanish decided to concentrate their forces there. With the withdrawal from Santa Elena to St. Augustine in 1587, South Carolina was again left to the Native Americans until the English established the first permanent European settlement at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River in 1670.King Charles II had given Carolina to eight English noblemen, the Lords Proprietors. The proprietors' first settlers included many Barbadians, and South Carolina came to resemble more closely the plantation economy of the West Indies than did the other mainland...

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