The Magazine of South Carolina

Fun Facts About South Carolina

Here are a few things you're likely to know only if you're a native sandlapper . . . and a few things even sandlappers may not know.

* State Motto: Dum spiro spero ("While I Breathe, I hope")

* Among the 50 U.S. states, South Carolina ranks 40th in land area (32,008 square miles) -- but 26th in population (3.7 million, according to 1995 census stats).

* The booming Anderson-Greenville-Spartanburg industrial corridor is one of America's liveliest zones of economic development.

* South Carolina long was considered an agricultural state -- and still is, to a large degree. (Statistics for 1994 showed that SC had 500,000 cows and 6.3 million chickens, for example, and produced more peaches annually than neighboring Georgia, the "peach state.") But today, MANUFACTURING and TOURISM rival agriculture as the state's economic leaders. Tourism, in fact, is a multibillion-dollar industry that grows substantially each year; Charleston, the Grand Strand and Hilton Head are among the nation's most popular travel destinations.

* More astronauts have hailed from South Carolina than any other state. Best-known was Ronald E. McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.

* History buffs nationwide know that SC was the first state to secede from the Union and that the Civil War "officially" began here with the firing on Fort Sumter in 1861. But did you know South Carolina also was a colonial leader in the movement toward independence from Great Britain, and that more Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes were fought in this colony than any other? It became the eighth colony-turned-state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788. And our greatest Revolutionary hero, "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion, became the subject of a Disney TV series in the 1950s. (We suspect Marion would be as world-famous today as Davy Crockett, the other Disney TV history legend, had actor Leslie Neilsen worn a coonskin cap while playing the role.)

* The world's supply of Pepto-Bismol is made in Greenville.

* South Carolina's Strom Thurmond, the late patriarch of the U.S. Senate, was the crown prince of filibuster. In one 1957 marathon session, he held the senate floor for more than 24 hours.

* Colorful President Andrew Jackson was from upstate South Carolina. South Carolinians who have served in presidential cabinets this century have included James F. Byrnes (state, under Franklin D. Roosevelt), James Edwards (energy, under Ronald Reagan) and Richard Riley (education, under Bill Clinton). Ben Bernanke, an Augusta, GA, native who graduated from high school in Dillon, currently serves as Federal Reserve chairman.

* Famous show biz sandlappers have included Chubby "The Twist" Checker, actress Joanne Woodward, actor Robert Mitchum, TV hostess Leeza Gibbons, soul king James Brown and country music star Bill Anderson.

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