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Native American History in South Carolina

The Spanish were the first Europeans to encounter Native Americans in South Carolina, a region that the inhabitants referred to as Chicora. During one of the explorers’ incursions on the coast they abducted a native man, whom they named Francisco de Chicora, and brought him to Spain. On the return voyage, Francisco dove overboard and returned to his nation, escaping from a life of slavery. Native Americans had occupied South Carolina since the Pleistocene era, originally as bands of hunter gatherers following the migrating herds of large game. Over the millennia these bands settled into more permanent villages, and inhabitants on the coast of the state were the first to develop pottery in North America. By the time that the Spanish first made contact, the Native Americans of South Carolina had coalesced into tribes, lived in small towns, and were experienced farmers of the three main domesticated crops of squash, maize and beans.­ At the this time there were 29 named tribes in South Carolina. Sadly, initial encounters with Europeans brought these Native tribes in contact with Old World diseases such as small pox and influenza, which devastated their populations. By the time the English founded Charles Town in 1670; Native American society in South Carolina had already been altered dramatically. Furthermore, outside groups such as the Yamassee and Westo entered and took advantage of the weakened tribes. These new tribes were eventually defeated by the English colonists and the Catawba and Cherokee became the dominate Native American powers. During the Revolution the Catawba became fierce allies of the colonists while the Cherokee, fearing encroachment on their lands by the Americans, sided with the British. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced the Cherokee to move from their ancestral lands in South Carolina while the Catawba were allowed to stay.

Today the Pee Dee, Edisto, Chicora, Yamassee, Santee, Chicora- Waccamaw, and Catawba still keep alive their ancient cultures in our state. Additionally, the Catawba practice the only remaining aboriginal pottery tradition east of the Mississippi River. The Native Americans created the framework for which the rest of South Carolina’s history was built upon and the Richland Library and the Walker Local and Family History Center can be an invaluable asset for uncovering the archaeological, historical and genealogical resources of a great people.


Amazon Says: In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.   more...
Amazon Says: In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.   Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew. less...
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Amazon Says: Between 1539 and 1542 Hernando de Soto led a small army on a desperate journey of exploration of almost four thousand miles across the Southeast. Until now, his path has been more...
Amazon Says: Between 1539 and 1542 Hernando de Soto led a small army on a desperate journey of exploration of almost four thousand miles across the Southeast. Until now, his path has been one of history's most intriguing mysteries. With Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun, anthropologist Charles Hudson offers a solution to the question, "Where did de Soto go?" Using a new route reconstruction, for the first time the story of the de Soto expedition can be laid on a map, and in many instances it can be tied to specific archaeological sites.Arguably the most important event in the history of the Southeast in the sixteenth century, De Soto's journey cut a bloody and indelible swath across both the landscape and native cultures in a quest for gold and personal glory. The desperate Spanish army followed the sunset from Florida to Texas before abandoning its mission. De Soto's one triumph was that he was the first European to explore the vast region that would be the American South, but he died on the banks of the Mississippi River a broken man in 1542.Abundantly illustrated, Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun is a clearly written narrative that unfolds against the exotic backdrop of a now extinct social and geographic landscape. Hudson masterfully chronicles both De Soto's expedition and the native societies he visited. A blending of archaeology, history, and historical geography, this is a monumental study of the sixteenth-century Southeast. less...
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Amazon Says: The Forgotten Centuries draws together seventeen essays in which historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists attempt for the first time to account for approximately two ce more...
Amazon Says: The Forgotten Centuries draws together seventeen essays in which historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists attempt for the first time to account for approximately two centuries that are virtually missing from the history of a large portion of the American South.Using the chronicles of the Spanish soldiers and adventurers, the contributors survey the emergence and character of the chiefdoms of the Southeast. In addition, they offer new scholarly interpretations of the expeditions of Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon from 1521 to 1526, Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528, and most particularly Hernando de Soto in 1539-43, as well as several expeditions conducted between 1597 and 1628.The essays in this volume address three other connected topics. Describing some of the major chiefdoms--Apalachee, the "Oconee" Province, Cofitachequi, and Coosa--the essays undertake to lay bare the social principles by which they operated. They also explore the major forces of structural change that were to transform the chiefdoms: disease and depopulation, the Spanish mission system, and the English deerskin and slave trades. And finally, they examine how these forces shaped the history of several subsequent southeastern Indian societies, including the Apalachees, Powhatans, Creeks, and Choctaws. These societies, the so-called native societies of the Old South, were, in fact, new ones formed in the crucible fired by the economic expansion of the early modern world. less...
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Amazon Says: I am one of the lingering members of an almost extinguished race. Our graves will soon be our only habitations...I pursued the deer for my subsistence, the deer are disappe more...
Amazon Says: I am one of the lingering members of an almost extinguished race. Our graves will soon be our only habitations...I pursued the deer for my subsistence, the deer are disappearing, and I must starve. God ordained me for the forest, and my ambition is the shade, but the strength of my arm decays, and my feet fail in the chase. In my youth I bled in battle, that you might be independent, let not my heart in my old age, bleed, for the want of your commiseration. Peter Harris, a plea for U.S. citizenship, 1822 The Catawba--one of the few Native American communities who remained in the Carolinas after the notorious Trail of Tears--have a rich and fascinating history that can be dated to 2400 BC. Once the inhabitants of a large swath of land that covered parts of North and South Carolina, most Catawba now live on a reservation in York County, South Carolina. In Catawba Nation: Treasures in History, Thomas J. Blumer seeks to preserve and present the history of this resilient people. Blumer, who served for nineteen years as the Catawba tribal historian and still works with the tribe, chronicles Catawba history from the fi rst contact with Spanish explorers to their present-day fame as makers of traditional Catawba pottery. In this collection of writings, we learn of Hernando de Soto's meeting with the Lady of Cofi tachique, the leadership of Chief James Harris and the fame of potter Georgia Harris, who won the National Heritage Award for her art. Using an engaging mix of folklore, oral history and historical records, Blumer weaves an accessible history of the tribe, preserving their story of suffering and survival for future generations. less...
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Amazon Says: The fascinating portrayal of the Cherokee nation,  filled with Native American legend, lore, and religion -- a  gripping American drama of power, politics,  betrayal, an more...
Amazon Says: The fascinating portrayal of the Cherokee nation,  filled with Native American legend, lore, and religion -- a  gripping American drama of power, politics,  betrayal, and ambition. B & W photographs less...
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Amazon Says: Harsh "racial" segregation during the Jim Crow era prevented South Carolina's Indian groups from assimilating. Due to their three-fold genetic admixture, they were labeled wit more...
Amazon Says: Harsh "racial" segregation during the Jim Crow era prevented South Carolina's Indian groups from assimilating. Due to their three-fold genetic admixture, they were labeled with such fanciful names as Red Bones, Brass Ankles, Croatans, Turks, and "not real Indians" at all. For generations, South Carolina's remaining Indians struggled to avoid reduction to the oppressed social status of "Negroes." Their desperation eventually fostered anti-Black sentiment within some of the groups, an affliction that still infects a few of the older community members. Generations have passed since the Jim Crow era. Today, the Palmetto State's Indians focus less on imagined "racial purity" and more on the welfare of their communities, preserving their customs, and honoring their ancient traditions. Much work remains to be done by and for all of the tribal groups of South Carolina. The tribes strive to convert state recognition, which now serves only as a morale booster, into a true vehicle to promote tribal educational, economic, and healthcare improvement. South Carolina's state-recognized tribes are now hard at work to accomplish this goal. "When the author has spent many years traveling to Indian communities around the Southeast and talking to Indian elders, as Pony Hill has done, he must be admired not only for his authenticity, but also for his scholarship. This book, then, is where an authentic perspective is enhanced by thorough scholarship." -- John H. Moore, Ph.D, Anthropology Department, University of Florida. S.Pony Hill: was born in Jackson County, Florida. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from Keiser University, Dean's List, Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society member. He was previously a contract researcher for federal recognition grants under Administration for Native Americans and for members of the United Ketowah Band, Cherokee Nation and Sumter Band of Cheraw, specializing in Southeastern Indian documentation. He is the author of Patriot Chiefs and Loyal Braves available online. Mr. Hill currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. less...
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Amazon Says: When DeSoto (in 1540) and later Juan Pardo (in 1567) marched through what was known as the province of Cofitachequi (which covered the southern part of today's North Carolina more...
Amazon Says: When DeSoto (in 1540) and later Juan Pardo (in 1567) marched through what was known as the province of Cofitachequi (which covered the southern part of today's North Carolina and most of South Carolina), the native population was estimated at well over 18,000. Most shared a common Catawba language, enabling this confederation of tribes to practice advanced political and social methods, cooperate and support each other, and meet their common enemy. The footprint of the Cofitachequi is the footprint of this book. The contemporary Catawba, Midland, Santee, Natchez-Kusso, Varnertown, Waccamaw, Pee Dee, and Lumbee Indians of North and South Carolina, have roots in pre-contact Cofitachequi. Names have changed through the years; tribes split and blended as the forces of nature, the influx of Europeans, and the imposition of federal government authority altered their lives.For a few of these tribes, the system has worked well - or is working well now. For others, the challenge continues to try to work with and within the federal government's system for tribal recognition - a system governing Indians but not created by them. Through interviews and a generous photograph montage stretching over two decades, Gene Crediford reveals the commonality and diversity among these people of Indian identity; their heritage, culture, frustrations with the system, joys in success of the younger generation, and hope for the future of those who come after them. This book is the story of those who remain. less...
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Amazon Says: John Lawson's amazingly detailed yet lively book is easily one of the most valuable of the early histories of the Carolinas, and it is certainly one of the best travel account more...
Amazon Says: John Lawson's amazingly detailed yet lively book is easily one of the most valuable of the early histories of the Carolinas, and it is certainly one of the best travel accounts of the early eighteenth-century colonies. An inclusive account of the manners and customs of the Indian tribes of that day, it is also a minute report of the soil, climate, trees, plants, animals, and fish in the Carolinas. Lawson's observation is keen and thorough; his style direct and vivid. He misses nothing and recounts all -- from the storms at sea to his impressions of New York in 1700, the trip down the coast to Charleston, and his travels from there into North Carolina with his Indian guides. The first edition of this work was published in London in 1709. While various editions followed in the eighteenth century -- including two in German -- this edition is a true copy of the original and is the first to include a comprehensive index. It also contains "The Second Charter," "An Abstract of the Constitution of Carolina," Lawson's will, and several previously unpublished letters written by Lawson. A number of DeBry woodcuts of John White's drawings of Indian life, sketches of the beasts of Carolina which appeared in the original 1709 edition, and Lawson's map contribute additional interest to this volume. less...
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