Brief History of Hilton Head Island, SC

Ever wonder how Hilton Head Island came to be one of the most beautiful vacation and living destinations on the East Coast?  Keep reading for a brief history of our area and learn why the locals are unusually proud to call Hilton Head Island home!

Native Americans lived on Hilton Head Island as from as early as 10,000 years ago, living off the land and sea.  The first non-indigenous people to visit the region were Spaniards, who briefly checked out and named nearby St Helena Island.  The first European to claim Hilton Head was William Hilton, who surveyed it and claimed it for England in 1663, naming it “Hilton’s Headland”.

Hilton worked tirelessly to promote settlement but English settlers were slow to respond, nervous as they were about the local tribal people living on the island, and the Spaniards and their colonial ambitions.  It wasn’t until the early eighteen hundreds that Hilton’s Head began to be settled and planted, and by then South Carolina was an established colony with a plantation based economy.

Land owners on Hilton Head grew cotton, rice and indigo, labor intensive crops that relied on slave labor.  The planters amassed large profits on the backs of the African slaves, but the onset of the Civil War changed this forever.  Many Civil War battles were fought around Hilton Head and the lovely antebellum homes and flourishing crops were left behind by the planters.  Many plantation homes remain on the island today.

The island remained a quiet spot for decades, until the close of the Second World War, when the resulting developmental boom lead to burgeoning development throughout the country.  The island’s first bridge was built in 1956, and developer Charles Fraser created “Sea Pines”, the island’s first resort community, and several new developments followed.  Fraser worked hard to render his development environmentally sound, and his code of conduct has been a positive influence on subsequent development.

What else do you want to know about Hilton Head Island?

My name is June Seebohm and I am an experienced Realtor serving the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, SC area’s. I am happy to help you in any way that I can in regards to learning about our beautiful area, as well as any and all of your real estate needs or questions! Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email: or call 843-290-2929. I also have a Facebook Page and would love to connect with you there. Whether you are a vacationer, resident, buyer, seller, or current home owner/renter interested in the Hilton Head area, this is a blog you’ll want to follow!

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One response to “Brief History of Hilton Head Island, SC

  1. Pingback: Why are Residents of Hilton Head Island Celebrating? | ~ Always June ~

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