Some Historical Firsts in South Carolina

  • First European settlement in South Carolina in 1526 near Georgetown settled by Spanish explorer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon named San Miguel de Gualdape.


  • First permanent English settlement in South Carolina established at Albemarle Point in Charleston in 1670.


  • First indigo planted, 1671.


  • First free library established – Charleston, 1698.


  • First mutual fire insurance company – Friendly Society for the Mutual Insurance of Houses Against Fire, 1735.


  • First opera performed in America – Charleston, February 18, 1735.


  • First building to be used solely as a theatre – Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, constructed in 1736.


  • First slave insurrection – Stono area near Charleston, 1739.


  • First cotton exported to England, 1764.


  • First Black Baptist Church established, Silver Bluff, 1773.


  • The Charleston Chamber of Commerce was the first city Chamber of Commerce in this country – 1773.


  • First public museum – Charleston Museum, organized January 12, 1773.


  • First business publication – South Carolina Price Current in Charleston, 1774.


  • The first time a British flag was taken down and replaced by an American flag was in Charleston in 1775.


  • First independent government formed among American colonies, March 1776.


  • Golf was first played in the city limits of Charleston. The South Carolina Golf Club was formed in 1786 – this was the first golf club.


  • First cotton mill built – James Island, 1789.


  • First tea planted – Middleton Barony, 1802.


  • First fireproof building built – Charleston, 1822.


  • First steam locomotive built in the United States to be used for regular railroad service – "Best Friend of Charleston," 1830.


  • First municipal college – College of Charleston, opened April 1, 1838.


  • First state to secede from the Union, December 20, 1860.


  • First shot fired in Civil War on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, April 12, 1861.


  • First Medal of Honor awarded to a Black recipient – W. H.Carney (Army), July 18, 1863.


  • The first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship was the H.L. Hunley used by the Confederates on February 17, 1864 in Charleston Harbor against the U.S.S. Housatonic.


  • First Black Associate Justice of a state supreme court – J. J. Wright, February 2, 1870.


  • The first state intercollegiate football game took place on December 14, 1889 with Wofford defeating Furman.


  • First commercial tea farm – Summerville, 1890.


  • First black woman to practice medicine in the state was Dr. Matilda Arabelle Evans in 1897.


  • First textile school established in a college – Clemson, 1899.


  • The first car was manufactured in Rock Hill by John Gary Anderson in January 1916.


  • First woman lawyer in South Carolina – Miss James M. Perry of Greenville was admitted to practice on May 4, 1918.


  • First national historic preservation ordinance passed by Charleston city council on October 13, 1931.


  • First television station WCSC broadcast from Charleston June 13, 1953.


  • First US Senator elected by a write-in vote – Strom Thurmond, November 2, 1954.


  • First nuclear power plant dedicated at Parr Shoals on October 24, 1963.


  • First Spoleto Festival held in Charleston, May 1977.


  • First black federal judge in South Carolina's history – Matthew J. Perry – appointed September 22, 1979.


  • First governor Richard Riley elected November 6, 1984 to serve two consecutive four-year terms.


  • Jean Toal – first woman elected to state supreme court in 1988 and later elected chief justice in 2000.


  • First female and minority to serve as governor of the state of South Carolina – Nikki R. Haley – January 12, 2011.