Charleston, originally Charles Town, was founded in 1670. By 1680, the settlement had experienced significant growth and soon became a major port town for the southern colonies. Immigrants from the Caribbean island of Barbados, Great Britain, and Virginia descended upon the region in great numbers. Soon, Jewish, Irish, Scottish, French, and German immigrants came to Charlestown, making it one of the most culturally diverse settlements in the colonies. About half of the people who lived in Charleston’s were slaves. Charleston was the site of America’s first theater and museum. In its early days, it was also the frequent target of Spanish, French, and Pirate raids.
By the mid-1700′s, Charleston was the second largest city south of Philadelphia, the fourth largest port in the colonies, and the cultural and economic center of the southern colonies. Its harbor exported vast amounts of rice, indigo, and naval stores (longleaf pine trees used in ship construction).