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P" is for Primus Plot (May-June 1720)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Primus Plot (May-June 1720). The Primus Plot was South Carolina’s first alleged slave conspiracy. Rumors surfaced while the colony’s atmosphere was tense. A Waccamaw Indian attack had recently been repelled. After expelling the proprietary government in 1719, the colonists were awaiting an official response from England. Anxieties were further heightened by rumors that Spain would invade South Carolina and, in the process arm the colony’s slaves. In May 1720, a group of runaway slaves—led by a man named Primus—fled toward Florida. The Assembly offered a reward for each slave taken—dead or alive. While existing evidence suggests that the Primus Plot was an effort by a group of slaves to reach freedom in Florida, rather than a planned rebellion, white South Carolinians regarded it as an insurrection in the making.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson 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.