“S” is for Sewees
“S” is for Sewees. The Sewees were a Native American nation based along the Santee River and the Sea Islands. In 1670 it was the Sewees who showed the English colonists the best harbors. They helped the Carolinians against the Spanish and supplied the settlers with food when the colony ran short. The tribe was decimated by smallpox and by an ill-fated attempt to trade directly across the Atlantic with England. A fleet of canoes was swamped by a storm and many drowned; those that survived were picked up by an English slave ship and sold into slavery in the West Indies. By 1700 only a handful of the tribe remained alive in the colony. Other tribes absorbed them, and the Sewees ceased to exist as a distinct group by the early 18th century.