From its beaches to its barbecue, South Carolina is bursting with quintessential Southern charm. But there’s a lot more to it than shrimp and grits (although if that were all, it would still be pretty dang excellent). In fact, here are some of the top 9 things that we Americans can thank South Carolina for:
1. Aziz Ansari
If you’ve ever yelled “TREAT YOSELF” before buying something completely unnecessary, then you know why he’s on the list. If you haven’t, well, you might want to watch Parks and Recreation or his show Master of None to see some of his comedic genius.
2. Sweet tea
Northerners may be less familiar with this, but the name is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Great for sipping on a front porch during hot summer afternoons, sweet tea was actually invented in Summerville, SC. Adding another level beyond that, South Carolina has the only working tea plantation in America—The Charleston Tea Plantation—meaning you can drink home-grown tea, too.
3. Any BMW X series
BMW has a plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina that is the only producer of certain BMW X models for the entire world. These cars are actually exported to more than 140 countries, meaning a little bit of South Carolina can be found nearly anywhere.
4. Althea Gibson
Pro tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson is one of the most important figures in sports history. Born in 1927 in Clarendon County, South Carolina, she was the first black athlete to compete at the U.S. National Championships for tennis, as well as the first black athlete to compete in tennis internationally. She won at multiple titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Nationals, and the Grand Slam.
5. Your favorite movies
A huge number of movies have been filmed in South Carolina, probably thanks to its beautiful seashores and subtropical climate. Features include Forrest Gump, The Notebook, Deliverance, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Dear John, and Full Metal Jacket, just to name a few.
6. Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter is one of the most important sites in the American Civil War—because it’s where it all began. On April 12, 1861, Confederate artillery fired on Union forces, beginning the most costly war in American history in terms of American life. Fort Sumter, then, is perhaps one of the best places to visit to appreciate our nation’s history.
7. Golf in America
According to records, the first game of golf every played in America took place in Charleston, South Carolina—where the first golf club was later established in 1787. Ever since then, golf seems to have caught on in the state, especially in Myrtle Beach, which has been called the golf capital of world.
8. James Brown
"The Godfather of Soul" was born in Barnwell, South Carolina on May 3, 1933. He lived there throughout his life, and fittingly, he was buried there in 2006.
Move over Georgia—South Carolina actually produces more peaches than any other state except California. So for those on the East Coast, there’s a pretty good chance your favorite summer fruit actually comes from the Palmetto State.