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Wilmington History, North Carolina

The history of Wilmington, North Carolina

Situated in North Carolina, Wilmington is a metropolitan city which covers Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties of south-eastern North Carolina. The city has been named after Spencer Compton, Wilmington’s Earl, who was a Prime Minister under the rule of George II. Although attempts had been made to settle in the Cape Fear region in 1600s, the first settlement was made by the English settlers only in 1720. Wilmington was incorporated in the year 1739 and the majority of first settlers came from Barbados and South Carolina.

Civil War: In this period, the port served as a major base to the Confederate blockade runners. The union forces captured it in 1865 and as Fort Fisher fell, the port was soon closed. Since the action took place away from the city, many buildings and antebellum homes still exist.

The massacre of 1898: at the end of 1898, a group of white people destroyed the printing press of The Daily Record by setting fire to it in response to an editorial by Alex Manly which insulted white womanhood. This group then went on to the northern side of the town where they murdered several African American people. During the same period, the city council and Republican mayor was asked to resign the offices and the leader of the group was elected mayor. The official report upon the event was completed by the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission in 2006. This commission consisted of 13 commissioners who are appointed by the governor, mayor, legislature and city council of the city and was assisted by staff of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The city of Wilmington got settled on Cape Fear River and consequently it offers a historic downtown with a mile long River walk being the major tourist attraction. It is just a few minutes from the nearby beaches. The city got the designation of an ‘A Coast Guard City’ by Congress in the year 2003 and it also serves as a home port for USCGC Diligence.

The city of Wilmington has experienced a staggering growth in 1990s due to which it has been ranked as the 2nd fastest growing city of the county. Located on Cape Fear River, the city is a major sea port which includes private marine terminals and the Port of Wilmington of North Carolina State Ports Authority.

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