Some people like to know the background of their vacation destination so that they know what kind of a history they’re walking into. Some people want to be able to converse with the locals about common knowledge and lore of the town. Some can’t get enough history no matter where they go. And some people just love to learn. Whatever your reason is for wanting to know a bit about the history of Hilton Head Island, read on for a short synopsis!

Early Hilton Head

Before South Carolina became an American colony in the late 17th century, much of it was under control of the Spanish, who had explored much of the South. However, Beaufort County itself had been discovered by a Frenchman named Jean Ribaut. Ribault built a fort there and called it Fort Royal. A few years later, the Spanish took over this area as well.

Civil War Era Hilton Head

Plantations in South Carolina, including the area of Hilton Head, were abandoned when Union troops appeared and forced owners inland. Residents could no longer afford to run such lavish farms once slaves had been freed. This left only Gullah communities in the area until the middle of the 20th century.

Modern Hilton Head

Charles Fraser is credited with re-establishing what we now know as Hilton Head Island. Fraser envisioned a resort community that connected with the nature surrounding it. Electricity and bridges began to appear along with lots of visitors. Now, visitors come to see the beauty of the beaches and wildlife, to walk or bike the miles of trails, to play, shop, and eat, to have fun. But they still will never see a single neon light on the island.

Come to Hilton Head to experience some of this history for yourself. Perhaps you can make it part of your own personal history.