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History of Hilton Head Island

- 8000 BC to 1500 AD -  Hilton Head Island was originally inhabited by Native American tribes

- 1500 to 1700 - marked the period of time in which Hilton Head Island was explored by European explorers. In 1521 a Spanish expedition was led by Francisco Cordillo. In 1663, an English expedition was led by Capt. William Hilton from Barbados. Hilton was sent by King Charles II of England in exploration of land grants he had made to 8 Lord Proprietors. Hilton made his arrival into the area via a headland at the Port Royal Sound entrance, consequently giving Hilton Head Island its name. In 1698, John Bayley of Ireland was given most of Hilton Head as a barony. His son appointed an agent to sell all the lands of the barony 24 years later.



- 1700 to 1860 marked Hilton Head Island's Plantation Era, where cotton was predominantly grown. There were more than twenty working plantations prior to the Civil War.

- 1861 to 1865 marked the Civil War & Union Occupation period. After its capture by Union troops, Hilton Head Island became a significant force during the Civil War, where Fort Walker (renamed Fort Welles) was a major base of operations for the Union blockade of the Southern ports of Savannah & Charleston. Military occupation ended by 1868.

- 1870s to 1940s - witnessed Hilton Head's reconstruction period. In the 1870s plantation owners returned to reclaim their property. Other properties were sold by the government to speculators or freedmen remaining on the island after the Civil War. Troops were stationed at former Fort Walker as look-outs for submarine attacks during World War I. As the boll weevil had destroyed all the cotton crops in the region, oyster factories began being built & operated as the area's main industry from the 1890s to the 1950s.

- 1949 to 1990s - saw Hilton Head's connection with the mainland & the beginning of the area's modern era. Electricity was first brought to the island in 1950. A two-lane bridge was built from the mainland to Hilton Head Island in 1956. In 1956, Sea Pines Plantation began to be developed. The first beachfront lots sold for $5,350. Ocean Course, the island's first golfcourse was built on Sea Pines Plantation in 1960. Hilton Head's Airport opened in 1967. Harbour Town village was completed in 1969. The first Heritage Golf Classic was played at Sea Pine's Harbour Town Links in 1969. Spanish Wells & Port Royal Plantation were developed in the 1960s. Palmetto Dunes, Shipyard Plantation, & Hilton Head Plantation were developed in the 1970s. Wexford Plantation & Long Cove Club were developed in the 1980s.

- Today, Hilton Head Island is well known for its eco-friendly development, where there is a very large amount of tree coverage relative to its percentage of development. Approximately 70% of Hilton Head is located inside gated communities. The town hosts many annual events including a Gullah Celebration, WineFest, HarbourFest, Heritage Golf Classic, Celebrity Golf Classic, among others. The island is a showcase for cultural activities with professional performing arts, cultural festivals, & visual arts abounding. Hilton Head boasts a 120-member Choral Society as well as a highly-rated symphony orchestra. An estimated 2.25 million visitors come to Hilton Head each year.



   
 



















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Home
About Hilton Head Island
   History of Hilton Head Island
   Fast Facts
   Weather & Climate
   Map of Hilton Head
   Distance Charts
   Getting To Hilton Head
   Getting Around in Hilton Head
   Photos

Blogs
Advertise with Us
Privacy Policy
Contact Us
Hotels & Lodging
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Food & Drink
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Things to Do & See in Hilton Head

Top Attractions
Kid's Attractions

Art Galleries
Beaches

Cruises - Dinner, Water
Family Entertainment
Forts & Military Sites
Historic Houses, Churches, etc.
Museums
Music, Dance,Theatre
Nightlife

Parks
Plantations & Gardens
Things to Do & See in Hilton Head cont.

Recreation
  -  Bike, Canoe, Kayak
  -  Boating, Marinas
  -  Camping
  -  Fishing
  -  Golf
  -  Tennis
  -  Water Sports

Tours
  -  Aerial Tours
  -  Art Tours
  -  Water Tours
  -  Carriage Tours
  -  Eco, Nature Tours
  -  Motorized, Van Tours
  Walking Tours  
Transportation
   Airport
   Amtrak
   Bicycle
   Car
   Carriage Rides
   Greyhound Bus
   Limousines
   Marina & Boats
   Parking
   Rental Cars
   Taxis
   Trolley
   Walking
Shopping
   Hilton Head Shopping
   Hilton Head Area Shopping Malls
Real Estate
   Homes for Sale
   Long-Term Rentals 
Weddings
   Wedding Venues
   Wedding Vendors