Tearing Down Charleston’s Walls

Rediscovering Charleston's Colonial Fortifications

In the one hundred years between the settlement of Charles Town on Oyster Point in 1680 and the American surrender of Charleston to the British Army in 1780, South Carolina’s provincial colonial legislature directed massive amounts of money, resources, and labor toward the erection of defensive fortifications for the protection of the colony’s capital and main port. During that long era, South Carolinians carefully watched the movements of our Spanish and French neighbors in St. Augustine, Havana, Biloxi, Mobile, and New Orleans, ever mindful of the treat of foreign invasion. The Treaty of Paris in 1763, signed by Britain, France, and Spain, marked the beginning of an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity in the American colonies. For the first time in our colonial history, South Carolinians no longer worried about the threat of foreign invasion, and the commerce of our ports expanded rapidly.

The rift between the colonists…

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