The history of Beaufort, South Carolina, is one of the most comprehensive and diverse of any community of its size in the United States. The area had been subject to numerous European explorations and several aborted attempts at colonization before the British successfully founded the city in 1711, the second-oldest in South Carolina (behind Charleston). The city initially grew slowly, subject to numerous attacks from Native Americans before flourishing as a regional center for the Lowcountry plantation economy up through the Civil War. The community rebounded in the latter half of the 20th century and is today recognized as one of the most livable small towns in the country. Beaufort has retained much of its historic character through its renowned architecture and historic preservation efforts.