Introduced as a cash crop in the late 1600s, rice brought great wealth and prosperity to South Carolina. Coastal waterways and the climate provided ideal conditions for rice cultivation. Working on rice plantations, enslaved West Africans cleared inland swamps and built the dams, dikes and “trunks” (floodgates) used to irrigate the fields.

For two centuries, “Carolina Gold” rice was in demand throughout the world.

Today, Lowcountry residents still have a fondness for rice and rice recipes.

Where to See It:

Caw Caw Interpretive Center
See a rice display and working rice dike.
Admission Fee
5200 Savannah Highway (Route 17S)
Ravenel, SC 29470
Phone: 843-889-8898
Charles Pinckney Historic Site
See rice dike models.
Admission Free
1254 Long Point Road
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: 843-881-5516

See rice growing (in season) at:

Brookgreen Gardens
Route 17 South between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island
Admission Fee
P.O. Box 3368
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Phone: 843-235-6000
Toll free
Phone: 1-800-849-193
Cypress Gardens
Admission Fee
3030 Cypress Gardens Road
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Phone: 843-553-0515
Middleton Place
Admission Fee
4300 Ashley River Road (Route 61)
Charleston, SC 29414
Phone: 843-556-6020

Where to Read More About It:

Carney, J. A., (2001). Black rice: The African origins of rice cultivation in the Americas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hess, K., (1992). The Carolina rice kitchen: The African connection. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Joyner, C. W., (1984). Down by the riverside: A South Carolina slave community. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Tibbetts J.H. Riches to Ruin: Pharaohs of the New World. (Coastal Heritage; Vol. 14,No. 2) 1999, Fall. 3-12. Retrieved from:
USA Rice Federation

Last Modified: Monday October 30, 2017 10:00 AM