Editor's note: Columnist Brian Hicks thinks he's funny. This is his take on the history of Charleston. Most of it is true, but we can't verify all of these “facts.”
April 1670 — Two English ships land at Albemarle Point, what we now call Charles Towne Landing. Local residents, the Kiawah Indians, refer to these settlers as the first people “from off.”
1680 — The town relocates to the peninsula. Soon Broad Street is established so the cool colonists can live south of it.
1718 — The pirate Blackbeard terrorizes the city, which retaliates by hanging Stede Bonnet — and licensing the first pirate re-enactors, who will terrorize tourists for the next 300 years.
April 13, 1780 — British troops begin the siege of Charles Towne. In May, the city surrenders. Locals complain these tourists are clogging the streets and bringing down property values.
Aug. 13, 1783 — Charles Towne is incorporated, changes name to Charleston. On James Island, people complain that one day they will be annexed.
May 1791 — President George Washington visits the city for a week, apparently while suffering from a bout of narcolepsy. Tour guides claim he slept in every building in town.
Dec. 20, 1860 — South Carolina's secession convention meets on Broad Street and votes unanimously to secede from the Union. Within five years, locals will say this was a terrible idea. Within 30 years and into the 21st century, some will maintain it was a great idea — and that we should do it again.
April 12, 1861 — Confederate troops open fire on Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War. Charleston wins the battle, but soon will be blamed for the deadliest conflict in American history. So the results were mixed.
December 1861 — An accidental fire decimates much of downtown Charleston. Locals are incensed when, years later, Yankees get credit for the destruction.
Aug. 29, 1863 — Union forces begin a 545-day bombardment of Charleston. It is considered the second-worst occurrence in the city's history, after the arrival of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Feb. 18, 1865 — Confederate forces evacuate Charleston, allowing Yankees to occupy the town. They are still here.
May 1, 1865 — Former slaves honor Union soldiers who died in the city's prison camp. It will come to be considered the first Memorial Day. Legend has it that on that same weekend the charcoal grill was invented.
Aug. 31, 1886 — An earthquake devastates Charleston. This prompts locals to install “earthquake rods” in buildings, giving tourists something to ask about. Every. Single. Day.
1901 — The Charleston Naval Base opens, marking the first time in half a century the U.S. Navy has actually been welcome in town.
Aug. 8, 1929 — The first bridge over the Cooper River opens, named after former Mayor John P. Grace.
Aug. 9, 1929 — The first complaints about traffic on the Cooper River bridge are heard.
1931 — The Board of Architectural Review is established as part of the first historic preservation ordinance in the United States. Charleston residents with purple houses begin to worry.
1950 — U.S. District Judge Julius Waties Waring writes the dissenting opinion in a school desegregation case that becomes the foundation for the U.S. Supreme Court's monumental Brown v. Board of Education decision. Within a few years, Waring is run out of town. This is not a joke.
Spring 1969 — The National Guard and NAACP leaders converge on the town in the middle of a 113-day strike of nonprofessional hospital workers at Medical College (now MUSC), who want better pay and benefits. Once again, Charleston makes national news for all the wrong reasons.
1977 — The first Spoleto Festival USA is held. For the next 36 years, Willie Nelson will not be invited to perform.
Sept. 21-22, 1989 — Hurricane Hugo makes landfall. The storm kills more than 100 people and does $10 billion in damage, much of it in Charleston. It's still too early to joke about this.
1993 — Charleston Naval Base closes, giving the city a new excuse when the economy goes south.
July 16, 2005 — The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, the new span across the Cooper River, opens. Even with eight lanes, people still complain about the traffic.
June 2011 — Preservation groups file a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines, arguing that cruise ships in the harbor threaten the historic charm of the 340-year-old seaport. This argument actually makes sense to some people because, well, this is Charleston.
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