Sea Islands, a chain of low, sandy and marshy islands along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida. The largest island is Cumberland Island, Georgia, which is 20 miles (32 km) long and from 1 to 5 miles (2 to 8 km) wide. Some of the islands are notable resort areas, including Hilton Head, St. Simons, Jekyll, and Amelia. Other islands are sites of national wildlife refuges or state parks. Historical attractions include Fort Pulaski and Fort Frederica national monuments. Parris Island is the site of a recruit-training center for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Before the Spanish reached them in 1521, the Sea Islands were inhabited by Guale and Cusabo Indians. The islands were a major producer of Sea Island cotton from the early 1800's to the 1920's. Until the 1940's a population of blacks lived in virtual isolation on some of South Carolina's Sea Islands. They had distinct, partly African-derived customs and spoke several dialects, chief of which was gullah.This language is still used in some areas of the islands.