When Rice Was King

The cultivation of rice in South Carolina began in the late 1600s. By the time of the American Revolution, it had created the largest concentration of wealth in the American colonies. The knowledge and labor of slaves from Africa’s Windward Coast were major factors in the making of this wealth. However, South Carolina’s rice culture experienced heavy tolls due to the Civil War, emancipation and hurricanes. Its passing, along with that of the grand cotton plantations, ended a way of life. The economic and social impact of the state’s rice culture created a legacy that remains today.