South Carolina as a Royal Colony

The colony was divided into North and South Carolina in 1712. In 1715–16 the settlers were attacked by the Yamasee, who had become resentful of exploitation by the Carolina traders. The uprising was finally quelled after much loss of life and property. These attacks further revealed the lack of protection afforded by the proprietors, and in 1719 the colonists rebelled and received royal protection. The crown sent Francis Nicholson as provincial royal governor in 1720, and South Carolina formally became a royal colony in 1729, when the proprietors finally accepted terms.

Conditions for the colonists were now in many respects improved. Pirates such as Blackbeard who had infested the coast had been hanged or dispersed. In addition the founding (1733) of Georgia to the south provided a buffer against the Spanish. Loss of territory and some of the colony’s fur trade to Georgia was more than compensated for when indigo, supported by British bounty, became (1740s) the colony’s second staple. To counterbalance the vast number of African slaves transported to the colony for use as plantation labor, European immigration was encouraged. Germans and Swiss, arriving in the 1730s and 40s, and Scotch-Irish and other migrants from Virginia and Pennsylvania, arriving in the 60s, settled the colony’s lower middle country and uplands.

Regional antipathies were generated by economic and social differences; the small, self-sufficient farmer of the up-country, demanding courts, roads, and defense against outlaws and the Cherokee, elicited little sympathy from the powerful plantation lords of lower Carolina. In the late 1760s discontent culminated in the formation of the Regulator movement. Finally the legislature gave in to some up-country demands, including the establishment of courts in the region.

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