Record ID: 94

Site Name

Sea Island




chain of more than 100 low islands off the Atlantic coast of S.C., Ga., and N Fla., extending from the Santee R. to the St. Johns R. The ocean side of the isls. is generally sandy; the side facing the mainland is marshy. The isls. have a humid, subtropical climate, with hot summers, warm winters, and rain throughout the year. Some isls. remain uninhabited; others are resorts and wildlife sanctuaries. The Intracoastal Waterway passes through the Sea Isls. The Span. explored and were the first to inhabit the isls., setting up missions and garrisons in the 16th cent. These were abandoned as the English steadily advanced in the area. James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony, built Fort Frederica on St. Simons Isl. bet. 1736 and 1754, during the Eng.-Span. struggle for control of the SE U.S. The ruins of the fort are a natl. monument. The Sea Isls. were the first important cotton-growing area in N. Amer. In the early 19th cent., St. Helena and Port Royal Isl. became the seats of large plantations that grew long-staple, Sea-Isl. cotton. The Union invasion in the Civil War and the distribution of land by the Federal govt. to newly freed slaves after the war effected the wealth of the planters. Beaufort (1990 pop. 9,576), on Port Royal Isl., is the main city of the Sea Isls. and is a center of menhaden fishing. Parris Isl. is the Atlantic coast recruit-training center for the U.S. marine corps; the area was visited by Fr. Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault in 1564. St. Simons Isl., Sea Isl., and Jekyll Isl. (also called the Golden Isles), near Brunswick, Ga., are popular resorts. St. Simons is joined to the mainland at Brunswick by a causeway. Jekyll Isl., once the site of a club for N millionaires, is now a state park. Cumberland Isl., largest of the Sea Isls., c.22 miles long and from 1 to 5 miles wide, has been designated a natl. seashore. Other notable isls. are the Isle of Palms, Johns, Edisto, and Hilton Head, which is a major resort.