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GULLAH GEECHEE MARITIME HERITAGE

INTRODUCTION OF MARITIME HERITAGE

GULLAH GEECHEE MARITIME HERITAGE

Hammer
1500s
1526
The Arrival
First Enslaved Africans Arrived
Picture of 1526 boat

The first recorded Africans were part of the Spanish expedition from Hispaniola lead by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon. Location: Winyah Bay in present day Georgetown County, SC

1710
Increased Production

Beginning in 1710’s, South Carolina experienced a rising level of arrivals of the enslaved directly from Africa, after the rapid expansion of the indigo and rice production through the mid-1700s.

1716
Port-Of-Entry

From 1716 to 1807, the Holy City, as Charleston was so ironically nicknamed, was the port-of-entry for an estimated 40 percent of all enslaved persons brought into America

1718
Rice is King
Picture of Gullah Geechee Biologist

Rice production required the expertise, knowledge, hand-crafted tools and labor of enslaved West African Rice Growers. Large fortunes created through the cultivating of the rice crop made Georgetown County, SC the wealthiest county in the 13 original colonies. The wealth of plantation and people owners funded the American Revolution. Rice production required a large labor force which meant more African Slaves were imported until 1806 the importation of enslaved humans was made illegal. The domestic enslaved population increased. The slave population was about 85% of the total population of Georgetown County throughout the 1800's. Although the Civil War spared much of the area, the social, political and economic upheaval that followed caused the rice culture to collapse. The abolition of the legal institution of chattel slavery ended the rice culture in Georgetown.

1861
Port Royal Experiment

Rice production required the expertise, knowledge, hand-crafted tools and labor of enslaved West African Rice Growers.
Large fortunes created through the cultivating of the rice crop made Georgetown County, SC the wealthiest county in the 13 original colonies. The wealth of plantation and people owners funded the American Revolution. Rice production required a large labor force, which were imported until 1806, when importation of enslaved humans was made illegal. The domestic enslaved population increased. The slave population was about 85% of the total population of Georgetown County throughout the 1800's. Although the Civil War spared much of the area, the social, political and economic upheaval that followed caused the rice culture to collapse. institution of chattel slavery ended the rice culture in Georgetown.

1862
The Great Escape

On May 12, Robert Smalls, an enslaved laborer and sailor with seven other enslaved  crewmen and their families steered the CSS Planter across Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter and into the hands of the Union Navy Blockading Squadron. 

Robert SmallsCSS Planter Gunboat Planter

ARCHIVE

GULLAH GEECHEE MARITIME HERITAGE DIGITAL ARCHIVE

Knife

Interested in learning more about the Gullah Geechee Seafood Trail grant and creative process? Raw focus group and individual interviews video footage is available by request. Upon submission of request, the final decision for use of archival footage will be made by the Gullah Geechee Chamber Foundation Staff. Click below to access the request form.

MARITIME HISTORY SOURCES

Some sources provided by African American Maritime History. To learn more

Some information provided through “To Distant Shores: The Transatlantic Slave Trade to South Carolina, 1670-1808”, an exhibit of the South Carolina Maritime Museum

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