Feature Image: Eat Sleep Play Beaufort
South Carolinians have always been known to take pride in their state. Anyone visiting the Palmetto State is bound to see someone flying our state flag high. The simple combination of the palmetto tree and the crescent moon has become an extremely recognizable icon for South Carolina – but how did those two symbols come to take their place on the state flag?
While many call the image on the flag the “Palmetto Moon,” the crescent on South Carolina’s flag is actually not a moon. The symbol originated during the American Revolutionary War, when South Carolina soldiers wore a white-silver crescent on their caps. In 1775, the first version of this flag was flown in the Charleston Harbor with the crescent in the upper left corner and a blue background that matched the color of the soldiers’ uniforms.
During the battle at Fort Moultrie when this single crescent flag was flown, the fort was protected by sabal palmetto tree logs, which lined the walls of the fort. The strength of the trees saved countless lives as the British attacked the fort with cannonballs.
After the war, it’s no surprise that South Carolinians started to add the palmetto tree to the flag in various different ways. When the state flag was initially adopted, there was still some uncertainty about which variation of the palmetto tree to use. On January 26, 1861, the flag was declared as South Carolina’s official state flag, but instead of a white palmetto to accompany the crescent, it was a golden palmetto inside of a white oval.
Two days later, on January 28, 1861, South Carolina’s state flag was adopted as the way it still stands today: a white crescent and a white palmetto on a navy blue background. You will find this state icon on t-shirts, keychains, bumper stickers and more as South Carolinians represent their great state.