Sullivan's Island is an island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The population was 1,911 at the 2000 census. It is also the site of a major battle of the American Revolution at Fort Sullivan now Fort Moultrie on June 28, 1776.
The island was known as O’Charley’s Island because of Captain Florence O’Sullivan, who was stationed here as a lighthouse keeper in the late seventeenth century. O’Sullivan was Captain of one of the ships in the first fleet to establish English and Irish settlement at Charleston. In 1671 he became Surveyor General. He appears in the earliest record of Irish immigration to the Carolinas, mentioned as being taken on “at Kingsayle (Kinsale) in Ireland”.
Sullivan’s Island was the disembarkation port for over 40% (4-8 million) of the slaves traded to the British Colonies making it the largest slave port in North America. It is estimated that nearly half of all African Americans had ancestors that passed through Sullivan’s Island. On 28 June, 1776, a makeshift log fort was held by colonial forces against an onslaught by the British under Cornwallis who attempted to enter Charleston harbor. The palmetto logs used in the construction of the fort proved to be remarkably spongy and deflected the cannon balls. The Battle of Fort Moultrie was commemorated by the addition of a white palmetto tree to the flag of South Carolina. The victory is celebrated and June 28 is known as Carolina Day. The history of the island has been dominated by Fort Moultrie, which, until its closure in the late 1940s, served as the base of command for the defense of the City of Charleston.
Local points of interest include Sullivan's Island Beach, Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie National Monument, Seminole Chief Osceola’s Grave, The New Charleston Lighthouse, Wild Dunes Resort, abundant wildlife, and downtown Charleston attractions.
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