The Sea Islands are a chain of tidal and barrier islands on the Atlantic Ocean coast of the Southeastern United States. Numbering over 100, they are located between the mouths of the Santee and St. Johns Rivers along the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The largest of these is Johns Island in South Carolina. The Sea Islands, particularly Sapelo Island, are home to the Gullah people. The islands are very acutely threatened by sea level rise due to climate change.[1]

Sea Islands
Sea Islands map.svg
Map of the Sea islands
Sea Islands is located in the United States
Sea Islands
Sea Islands
LocationAtlantic Ocean
Total islandsOver 100
United States


Settled by indigenous cultures over thousands of years ago, the islands were selected by Spanish colonists as sites for founding of colonial missions. Historically the Spanish influenced the Guale and Mocama chiefdoms by establishing Christian missions in their major settlements, from St. Catherine's Island south to Fort George Island (at present-day Jacksonville, Florida).[2] The area was home to multiple plantations; in 1863 Fanny Kemble published Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839 about her experience on her husband's plantations in St. Simon's Island and Butler Island.[3]

The Sea Islands were known historically for the production of Sea Island cotton.

After President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became effective on January 1, 1863, more than 5,000 slaves on Union-occupied islands obtained their freedom.[4]

Major Sea IslandsEdit

South CarolinaEdit

Charleston CountyEdit

Colleton CountyEdit

Beaufort CountyEdit


Chatham CountyEdit

Liberty CountyEdit

McIntosh CountyEdit

Glynn CountyEdit

Camden CountyEdit


Nassau CountyEdit

Duval CountyEdit

St. Johns CountyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Rising seas threaten the Gullah Geechee culture. Here's how they're fighting back". National Geographic Society. 27 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Mission Santa Catalina de Guale", New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2008, accessed 13 May 2010
  3. ^ "Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839". Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  4. ^ William Klingaman, Abraham Lincoln and the Road to Emancipation, 1861-1865 (NY: Viking Press, 2001), p. 234
  5. ^ "University of South Carolina Beaufort - Pritchards Island". Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2022.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit