The history of South Carolina is deeply intertwined with the presence of Native Americans, who were the first inhabitants of the area. Spanning from the Savannah River to the Santee River, the coastal plain of South Carolina was once home to more than a dozen distinct Native American groups. However, during the second quarter of the 18th century, these tribes were forced to move north or west due to hostile warriors from northern tribes, such as the Seneca, who were in league with French colonists. This conflict, known as the Escamacu War, had a devastating effect on the indigenous population. In early South Carolina, white settlers traded freely with local Native Americans, but a law passed in 1707 required them to obtain a license to trade with larger groups beyond the Lowcountry.
This was done in an effort to protect these tribes from exploitation and enslavement. Unfortunately, this law did not prevent the significant decline of Native American populations in South Carolina and throughout the United States. Today, many places are named after these tribes to honor their important role in South Carolina's history. Despite their willingness to accept foreign influx, their traditional way of life was irrevocably changed by the European invasion.