Columbia is the capital and second largest city of the U.S. state of South Carolina, with a population estimate of 133,451 as of 2018. The name Columbia is a poetic term used for the United States, originating from the name of Christopher Columbus.
During the American Civil War, Columbia was a transportation centre and the seat of many Confederate agencies. In 1865 it was occupied by Union troops and virtually destroyed by fire. Bronze stars on the south and west walls of the State House mark spots where shells from General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union artillery struck. After the war the city was rebuilt and developed a diversified economy based on government, industry, and agriculture. It became a wholesale and distribution centre. Tobacco, cotton, and peaches are important crops in the surrounding area. The city’s chief manufactures include synthetic fibres, textiles, and electrical equipment.
Columbia is the headquarters for the Francis Marion and Sumter national forests. Fort Jackson, established during World War I, is now an infantry training post. Lake Murray, impounded by the Saluda Dam, is northwest of the city.
Columbia, whose thriving economy has always been based on the education, health care, and insurance industries, is known as a recession-resistant community. Columbia has 13 banks and saving and funding with assets totaling more than $1.6 billion. The city is consistently named as a top place in the nation to live, retire, and do business, in publications such as Money, Entrepreneur, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Expansion Management. Forbes listed Columbia as a “Best Small Place to do Business” in May 2004. The city is home to Shelter Insurance Company, MFA Incorporated, and is a regional center for State Farm Insurance. Columbia’s manufacturers make and sell a wide variety of products. 3M is a major employer, producing projection lenses, optical equipment, electronic products, and interconnect systems. MBS is a textbook distribution center. There are three different factories making various automotive parts. Columbia Foods, a division of Oscar Mayer, employs about 700 workers at its food processing plant. Watlow-Columbia, Inc. manufactures electrical heating elements; the Square D Corporation makes circuit breakers; and Hubbell/Chance produces electric utility equipment.
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