Some interesting facts about South Carolina culture are that the state has had a racially and ethnically diverse population since Europeans first explored the area in the early 16th century; however, the culture remains sharply divided over issues such as race and slavery. The first Europeans included Spanish and French settlers who brought African slaves with them to establish plantations.
English settlers successfully colonized the state and established plantations during the early 1600s, enslaving many of the region’s numerous Indian tribes while also importing slaves from Africa and Caribbean colonies. By 1700, the slave population outnumbered the whites and represented hundreds of cultures from three continents.
South Carolina also has a long history of advocating the supremacy of states’ rights. South Carolina’s first attempt at secession occurred in 1776 when the Continental Congress attempted to levy taxes based on the each colonies’ population, including slaves. John C. Calhoun was a vocal proponent of secession, even while serving as the nation’s vice-president during the 1820s. Over 150 years after the outbreak of the Civil War, residents still debate whether the state’s secession was a defense of slavery or a patriotic stand for states’ rights.
This dichotomy of opinion is evident in the controversy that arose in June of 2015 over the display of a Confederate flag on the grounds of the state capitol. Defenders of the flag insisted that the flag honors their heroic ancestors who fought valiantly for independence. To others, the flag represents generations of injustice. After passionate debate and extensive national media coverage, the state legislature voted to remove the flag in July 2015.