Knowing about the Gullah Tradition
In a bid to explore this unique culture, many people now visit these islands, especially the Hilton Head Island. The unique culture, tropical climate, activities and more attract a large number of tourists to this island every year. What’s more, the number of tourists is witnessing a significant up trend year after year.
Curious for more…
The History of the Gullah
Here’s more about the historical journey of the Gullah Geechee culture from Africa to the Sea Islands.
The birth of the Gullah Geechee traditions dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, the time when transatlantic slavery trade was in vogue. One of the first settlements of the English was at these islands. They settled down near the coastal plains and swamp lands. This area is popularly known as the Low County.
Due to the humid weather and tropical climate, growing crops in this area was challenging. However, the English soon realized that this climate was ideal for rice cultivation, which was then imported from Asia. The English, however, failed to grow rice here due to their ignorance and lack of knowledge on the intricacies and essentials of cultivating rice. This is when they decided to trade slaves from West Africa, as they were well-versed with the intricacies of growing rice. The Africans were brought here and rice was cultivated in these lands. As agriculture thrived, more and more African slaves were brought here to earn for the English through rice cultivation.
However, the white population could not adjust with the weather conditions in these lands. The tropical climate made this land home to many diseases like malaria and yellow fever. The white people vacated these lands and continued cultivating rice with a few white supervisors and a large population of trusted African slaves.
Retaining their culture
As the island was not connected to the main land, these Africans had no exposure to visitors from any other land or an insight into other cultures. They were a close knit community and practiced their traditional culture, practices, customs etc, which they have maintained till date. They practiced their art and crafts and continued creating the age-old fanners, clay pots, wooden mortars and more so. In fact, they also enjoy a rich cuisine, made primarily from rice. These people came to be known as the Gullah Geechee people, who have preserved their traditions in the land, which was once inhabited by their ancestors.
So, if you are tempted to gain an insight into this unique culture, visit the Hilton Head Island.