The towering Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is one of Charleston's premier religious structures, and arguably one of its busiest. With daily mass, multiple Sunday masses, and a heavy schedule of calendar of events, this gothic chapel is likely to be occupied during any quiet tour or visit. Distinguished as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, the unique and impressive structure belies a stormy history that involves not one, but two such magnificent chapels, that is sure to fascinate visitors or all denominations.
Charleston County and the city of Charleston, its county seat, are the most historic locations in the state. English settlers arrived in the colony of Carolina in 1670 and established a town at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River. The settlement, named Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, was subsequently moved a few miles away to a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Charles Town (renamed Charleston in 1783) was the political, social, and economic center of South Carolina throughout the colonial and ante-bellum periods, and it served as the state capital until 1790.