History of Dataw Island
From its discovery by the Spanish in 1514, history has been enamored with Dataw Island’s allure.
The Spanish, French and English battled for the land for more than 200 years prior to the Revolutionary War. In the Plantation Era, South Carolina’s Sea Islands became the “Newport of the South,” and the storied estates, built with the wealth of indigo and Sea Island cotton, dotted the landscape. These grand manors, home to a privileged lifestyle, defined our island until the Civil War heralded the end of an era. But Dataw still hummed with life as a quiet hunting preserve for the next century.
Dataw Island was originally known as Datha Island, which translates from the ancient Muskogean Indian language to mean “green wood.” When Francisco de Chicora was captured by Spanish explores in the early 1500s, he told the story of the great King Datha who lived on the island. During development of the island’s current community, great efforts were made to recover and preserve artifacts which have been dated from as far back as 6000 years ago.
Today, the place where fertile soil hosted indigo and cotton on antebellum plantations is still home to rich experiences. History lives in the foundations of the 18th century structures made of local sand, lime, water and oyster shells that still stand. And history’s love affair with the land still burns strong.
A group of Dataw Island residents has a love affair of their own with the history of the island. Formed with the mission of preserving and fostering the rich plantation history of Dataw Island, the Dataw Historic Foundation is led by a passionate group of residents dedicated to incorporating this unique history into the complete Dataw Island lifestyle. With appreciable projects, including continued work on preserving the Tabby Ruins and creating a museum to house all of Dataw’s artifacts, paraphernalia, and records from the Plantation Era, the Foundation is writing a history of its own, as it preserves Dataw Island’s.
To read about the brand new museum-style History & Learning Center that has opened on Dataw Island, please click here.
For more in-depth information on the history of Dataw, please click here to visit the Dataw Historic Foundation website.