The hauntingly beautiful landscape of the Lowcountry- comprised of the four counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper- harbors a past of discovery and settlement, bloodshed of battles, agricultural riches, vast plantations, and a modern evolution ever-concerned with preserving the fertile land and the beauty over which it was long-ago fought.
The tribe names of its earliest native American inhabitants are found all over South Carolina today. Edisto, Ashepoo, Combahee, Yemassee, and Daufuskie Island, a Creek Indian word meaning "land with a point", all echo the native American history of the region. Relics unearthed in the Lowcountry, and on Hilton Head Island, point to inhabitance as early as 10,000 B.C. Coastal Discovery, the Museum of Hilton Head Island, displays a variety of artifacts that represent Native Americans way of life. The Museum displays the history of the Lowcountry expertly through its informative and fascinating exhibits and tours. (See inset for more information on the Museum).
In 1525, Spanish sailors encountered a prominent headland on the coast of South Carolina and named it "la Punta de Santa Elena." The anglicized St. Helena (near Beaufort) survives and is one of the oldest continually used European names of geography in North America.
Explorers from throughout Europe came to South Carolina on their oceanic travels to discover new lands to claim for their royal crowns. The French briefly interrupted the early Spanish occupation, then returned in 1680 when 45 Huguenots immigrated to the new colony.
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