Lowcountry Africana

Lowcountry Africana, sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, South Carolina, is a free website dedicated to African American genealogy and history in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, home to the rich Gullah-Geechee cultural heritage.

About Lowcountry Africana

Lowcountry Africana is entirely dedicated to records that document the family and cultural heritage of African Americans in the historic rice-growing areas of South Carolina, Georgia and extreme northeastern Florida, an area that scholars and preservationists have identified as a distinct culture area. Lowcountry Africana was developed with a grant from the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, South Carolina.

The Lowcountry Southeast

In the coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia and extreme northeast Florida, tidal marshes made rice cultivation possible. Many of the enslaved Africans who were brought to these areas brought with them the rice-growing skills necessary to build and maintain the massive rice plantations of the Colonial and Antebellum Lowcountry. Those enslaved Africans also brought with them a resistance to malaria, a disease which was endemic to tidal marsh areas of the Southeast.

Because planting families did not have this resistance to malaria, they spent the largest portion of the year living inland, leaving enslaved Africans with minimal oversight and thus, minimal acculturation. It was through this isolation, and the continuing infusion of more people from the homeland, that enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry were able to retain their language, culture, beliefs and traditions. Today, those traditions survive as part of the rich Gullah-Geechee culture.

The Lowcountry Today

The Lowcountry of today is the home of living history - the history of the cultural connections between ancestors from West Africa and their descendants in America. Lowcountry Africana brings you resources for exploring this rich ancestral heritage.

 Why It’s Important

Charleston, South Carolina was a major port of entry for the International Slave Trade. Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine, Florida were also significant ports of entry where captive Africans were imported and sold throughout the eighteenth century. In later years, planter migrations and the domestic slave trade scattered the descendants of the founding Lowcountry enslaved communities throughout the United States.

Additionally, runaway slaves from South Carolina, Georgia and beyond found a safe haven in Florida from the earliest Colonial period until the mid 1820s. Some found shelter among the Creek and Seminole Indians, while others forged their own livelihoods in Florida’s largely unpopulated interior. From there, some made their way to the Bahamas, to Cuba or were removed to the West with the Creek and Seminole Indians.

As a result of these historical events, many enslaved people who were brought into South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, or were born into slavery there, later migrated to other parts of North America, or to the Caribbean.

Did your ancestors come from, or through the Lowcountry? If your ancestor search leads you here, we hope you find many resources on Lowcountry Africana to further your research!

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