Economically South Carolina was associated with the West Indies where most of their trade came from. At the close of the 17th century, the white population was about 5500 persons, most of whom came from Barbados and other Caribbean Islands, as well as England, Ireland and France. They settled the area extending from the Santee to the mouth of the Edisto rivers, which included several of the islands, and reached back from the coast about fifty miles. The social and economic center was centered in Charleston. In the back country there were only two small towns and most of the inhabitants were located on plantations along the rivers and on the islands. The Barbadian planters had settled mainly on the Cooper River, Goose Creek, along the Ashley River and on the islands of James, John and Edisto. Four or five hundred Huguenots, most of whom had left their country because of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, had located on the Santee, where they had received land grants aggregating over 50,000 acres. Almost half of this land grant was the property of two individuals, while other Huguenot estates varying from 100 to 3,000 acres. Rice is the crop which enriched the economy of Charleston and provided important staples both domestically and abroad. Early in the colony, a Swiss settlement south of Charleston tried the silk industry. The Barbadians brought slaves into Charleston where the harsh slave code of Barbados was adopted.
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