The sea that made Charleston such an important economic and historic force in US history may cause its demise as well. Charles Town was founded as British colonial town in 1670 at the mouth of the Cooper and Ashley rivers where they empty into what became known as Charleston Harbor. Important as a mercantile and slave trading center, Charleston grew to be both a wealthy and strategic city. During the American Revolution, the British failed to capture Charleston on its first attempt but returned later for a successful seizure of the port town. In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union, leading to the first battle of the US Civil War when in April 1861 Union forces took Fort Sumter on Sullivan Island in Charleston Harbor. In 1886, Charleston received heavy damage from an earthquake, with damage to some 2,000 buildings. In 1920, the publication of the book Architecture of Charleston led to a boom in tourism, and in 1931 the City of Charleston passed the country’s first historic preservation law.
Today, Charleston is a vibrant port city and tourist destination, regularly placing in top 10 lists of historic cities in the United States to visit. Despite its situation during the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and such natural disasters as the 1886 earthquake and Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Charleston still has some of the most exquisite collection of historic buildings in the world. Yet with climate change predicted to affect many coastal cities, the sea that was the source of such wealth to Charleston as a trading center and port may also cause its demise.
Report: Charleston may flood almost every day at high tide by 2100
By Robert Behre
The Post and Courier
August 10, 2017