When eight English noblemen known as the Lords Proprietors were granted the Charles Towne territory by King Charles II as a reward for their loyalty, the grant came with an express command to develop the area into a profit-making venture. Fortunately, the area came with a natural deep-water port, perfect for establishing trade. Soon trade in lumber, deerskins, and indigo established Charles Towne’s wealth and prosperity, and the invention of the cotton gin and improvements in the rice crop cultivation helped boost the area’s economy. By 1750, Charleston was the fourth largest city in colonial America—and the wealthiest, thanks in part to additional trade through Georgetown and Port Royal. Over the years, South Carolina’s ports have been ranked among the most efficient in the world.
In South Carolina Ports: Charleston, Georgetown, Port Royal, Shelia Watson, editor of PortCharleston, the official magazine of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, offers a candid and informative view of the region’s waterfront. Early engravings, vintage images, and a collection of photographs from the State Ports Authority tell the story behind the largest and busiest containerport in the Southeast, along with her bulk and breakbulk sister ports along the Grand Strand and the Lowcountry. Watson is also the author of Arcadia’s Images of America: Johns and Wadmalaw Islands.