Plantations of the South Aug 20, 2017

The remnants of a colonial-era rice cultivation we found in the Hampton Plantation near the place we spent last night. It was established in 1735. The Georgian-style wooden frame mansion on the plantation is one of the oldest of its type in the United States. It was a summer retreat for plantation owners, who live in Charleston during wintertime.

Washington Oak Fireplace

Carolina planters had very specific demands for slaves. The most valuable were workers from present-day Senegal and Ghana. The reason was very simple; people brought from these regions were already experienced in working in rice fields. Rice cultivation in the west coast of Africa has a history of 3500 years. In South Carolina, it turned out to be so profitable that it became the major export to the European countries. Production of “Carolina Gold” brought fortunes to plantation owners who could afford to pay for one slave from 10,000 to 20,000 USD in current money. Large plantations owned over 200 or even more slaves who worked from sunrise to sunset. Life expectancy for plantation slaves was no more than 10 years. It was not only because of hard work in the hot and humid climate. Rice fields are the constant danger from snakebites and alligator attacks. Those who survived killed malaria or other diseases rapidly spreading among black African slaves.

Avenue of Oaks Slave Cabin

The another plantation we vivisted was Boone Hall. After over 300 years continually growing crops, this is one of the oldest still active farms in the USA. Over time, it was known for cotton and pecans, but also for brick production. Like every plantation in the South, Boone Hall includes a massive owner’s house, and in its close proximity, a large number of slave cabins. The most beautiful on the plantation is "Avenue of Oaks,” a kilometer long two rows of nearly 300 years old trees.

Plantation House Slave Cabins Inside Slave Cabin