|Pee Dee River|
|Etymology||Pee Dee tribe|
|State||North Carolina, South Carolina|
|Source||Confluence of Uwharrie River and Yadkin River|
|• location||North Carolina|
|• elevation||272.3 ft (83.0 m)|
|0 ft (0 m)|
|Length||232 mi (373 km)|
|• location||Winyah Bay|
|• average||15000 cfs|
The Pee Dee River, also known as the Great Pee Dee River, is a river in the Carolinas of the United States. It originates in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, where its upper course, above the mouth of the Uwharrie River, is known as the Yadkin River. The river empties into Winyah Bay, and then into the Atlantic Ocean near Georgetown.
The river flows through the original homeland of the Pee Dee Native Americans, and is named after them. The Pee Dee are a part of the South Appalachian Mississippian Culture. They were actively built from about 1000 to 1400, leaving some centers for unknown reasons. The Pee Dee still reside in the area, with the seat of the tribal government having been located in neighboring Marlboro County since 1976.
It is an important source of electric power and public water supplies, as well as recreational use.
While the Pee Dee is free-flowing in South Carolina, upstream in North Carolina, several dams have been constructed on it. The opening and closing of these dams causes dramatic swings in the depth of the river in South Carolina. The sharing of water between the two states has sometimes been a matter of controversy, particularly during periods of drought.
There are numerous boat landings, yet most of the river is wild, with forests of tupelo, oak and gum along its shores. Herons and alligators can be seen along the way, and a lucky sighting of a bald eagle is possible.
The first Europeans believed to have navigated part of the river was a party sent by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1521. They named it "River of St. John the Baptist."
Snow's Island is a large island at the Pee Dee and Lynches rivers junction. This was the headquarters of General Francis Marion for several months during the American Revolution. It proved a haven for him and his militia troops, as the British were unable to find the camp until it was abandoned. (It has been identified as the center of Johnsonville Impact Crater.)
The world's largest lumber company existed at the turn of the 20th century near the river's mouth at Georgetown. The virgin pine forests of the Pee Dee region were cutover, and the logs floated in rafts downriver to be sawn into lumber and exported to the northern United States and Europe.
Today the river is not extensively used for navigation.
The lower part of the river flood plain was extensively developed for rice culture in colonial time; rice was the major export of the area from the port at Georgetown. Rice culture declined with the freedom of slave labor after the Civil War, and increased overseas competition. Two hurricanes at the beginning of the 20th century destroyed much of the rice canal infrastructure and effectively ended the remnants of rice culture.