The H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine that was the first submarine to sink an enemy warship in combat, was built in South Carolina. The Hunley sank the Union ship USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor in 1864, but the submarine itself was lost at sea shortly after the attack.
Aiken County, South Carolina has a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Creek, before European settlers arrived. The first European settlers were mainly of Scotch-Irish and English descent, and they were granted land in the region by the British in the mid-18th century.

The county is named after William Aiken, a prominent railroad executive and South Carolina governor in the mid-19th century. Aiken County played a significant role in the Civil War, with several major battles and skirmishes taking place in the area. The Battle of Aiken, fought in February 1865, was a significant Confederate victory that helped delay the advance of Union forces.

After the war, Aiken County's economy transformed from primarily agricultural to focus on other industries such as textiles and manufacturing. The city of Aiken became a popular winter retreat for wealthy northerners, who came for its mild climate and equestrian activities. This led to the growth of the city's affluent Winter Colony, which included prominent figures such as Thomas Hitchcock and William C. Whitney.

In the 20th century, Aiken County continued to develop and diversify its economy. The Savannah River Site, a nuclear reservation, was established in the 1950s and became a major employer in the region. Today, Aiken County boasts a thriving economy with a mix of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism. The county also retains its rich equestrian heritage and is known for hosting prestigious equestrian events such as the Aiken Steeplechase and the Aiken Trials.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Aiken County, South Carolina.

  • 1871 - Aiken County is formed from parts of Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington, and Orangeburg counties.
  • 1875 - The town of Aiken is incorporated and becomes the county seat.
  • 1892 - Aiken becomes known as the "Winter Polo Capital of the World".
  • 1930s - The Savannah River Site, a nuclear reservation, is established in Aiken County.
  • 1941 - Camp Gordon Johnston, a World War II training camp, is built in Aiken County.
  • 1950s - The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission selects Aiken County as the site for the Savannah River Site nuclear facility.
  • 1989 - The Northside neighborhood in Aiken becomes part of the Aiken Downtown Historic District.
  • 2005 - Aiken County adopts a council-manager form of government.
  • 2019 - Aiken County celebrates its 150th anniversary.