Due to Wilmington's commercial importance as a major port, it had a critical role in opposition to the British in the years leading up to the Revolution.
In 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was ranked as the "Best American Riverfront" by readers of USA Today.
The foremost of these was Wilmington resident Cornelius Harnett, who served in the General Assembly at the time, where he rallied opposition to the Sugar Act in 1764.
When the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act the following year, designed to raise revenue for the Crown with a kind of tax on shipping, Wilmington was the site of an elaborate demonstration against it.
Naval stores and lumber fueled the region's economy, both before and after the American Revolution.
During the Revolutionary War, the British maintained a garrison at Fort Johnston near Wilmington.
The population is 112,067; according to the 2010 Census it is the eighth most populous city in the state.