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“L” is for Landgraves and Cassiques

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“L” is for Landgraves and cassiques. “Landgrave” and “cassique” were titles given to the local nobility created by the Lords Proprietors in their plans for the settlement of Carolina. Landgrave was a German title while cassique was based on cacique, a Spanish term for “Indian chief.” A landgrave received 48,000 acres of land and a cassique received 24,000 acres. At least twenty-six landgraves and thirteen cassiques were created by the Lords Proprietors, with rights to land totaling 1,364,000 acres. The vast majority of this land went unclaimed, however, with less than 200,000 acres actually granted. The last landgrave was created in 1718 and the last cassique in 1715. Landgraves and cassiques were part of the aristocratic ideal that characterized this colony and state, and their grants (and titles) became part of the culture of the Carolina lowcountry.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.