Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
City of Charleston
Rainbow Row Panorama.jpg
Atlantic and E Battery in Charleston, SC.JPG
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - Charleston, South Carolina (8555394291).jpg
Charleston-SC-pineapple-fountain.jpg
Charleston king street1.jpg
Arthur Ravenel Bridge (from water).jpg
From top, left-to-right: Rainbow Row, The Battery, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Waterfront Park, downtown on King Street, and Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
Flag of Charleston, South Carolina
Flag
Official seal of Charleston, South Carolina
Seal
Nickname(s): 
"The Holy City,[1] Geechice City,
Port City
Motto(s): 
Ædes Mores Juraque Curat (Latin for "She Guards Her Temples, Customs, and Laws")[a]
Charleston is located in South Carolina
Charleston
Charleston
Location within South Carolina
Charleston is located in the United States
Charleston
Charleston
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 32°47′00″N 79°56′00″W / 32.78333°N 79.93333°W / 32.78333; -79.93333Coordinates: 32°47′00″N 79°56′00″W / 32.78333°N 79.93333°W / 32.78333; -79.93333
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Carolina
Historic colonyColony of South Carolina
CountiesCharleston, Berkeley
Named forCharles II of England
Government
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorJohn Tecklenburg (D)
Area
 • City135.10 sq mi (349.92 km2)
 • Land114.76 sq mi (297.24 km2)
 • Water20.34 sq mi (52.68 km2)  14.51%
Elevation
20 ft (6 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City120,083
 • Estimate 
(2019)[5]
137,566
 • RankSC: 1st; US: 200th
 • Density1,198.69/sq mi (462.81/km2)
 • Urban
548,404 (US: 76th)
 • MSA (2019)
802,122 (US: 74th)
 • Demonym
Charlestonian
Time zoneUTC-05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-04:00 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
29401, 29403, 29405, 29407, 29409, 29412, 29414, 29424, 29425, 29455, 29492
Area code843 and 854
FIPS code45-13330
GNIS feature ID1221516[6]
Websitewww.charleston-sc.gov
The downtown Charleston waterfront on The Battery

Charleston is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County,[7] and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area.[8] The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 137,566 as of latest U.S. Census estimate in 2019.[9] The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 802,122 residents as of July 1, 2019, the third-largest in the state and the 74th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II, at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River (now Charles Towne Landing) but relocated in 1680 to its present site, which became the fifth-largest city in North America within ten years. It remained unincorporated throughout the colonial period; its government was handled directly by a colonial legislature and a governor sent by Parliament. Election districts were organized according to Anglican parishes, and some social services were managed by Anglican wardens and vestries. Charleston adopted its present spelling with its incorporation as a city in 1783. Population growth in the interior of South Carolina influenced the removal of the state government to Columbia in 1788, but Charleston remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.[10]

Charleston's significance in American history is tied to its role as a major slave trading port. Charleston slave traders like Joseph Wragg were the first to break through the monopoly of the Royal African Company and pioneered the large-scale slave trade of the 18th century; almost one half of slaves imported to America arrived in Charleston.[11] In 2018, the city formally apologized for its role in the American Slave trade after CNN noted that slavery "riddles the history" of Charleston.[12]

Known for its strong tourism industry, in 2016 Travel + Leisure Magazine ranked Charleston as the best city in the world.[13]

  1. ^ "Why is Charleston Called the Holy City?". Low Country Walking Tours. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  2. ^ Trouche, Michael (January 28, 2014), "Enlightening Latin", Charleston Footprints
  3. ^ Schultz, Rebecca, "The Seal of the City of Charleston", Official website, City of Charleston
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. ^ As defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, for use by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes only.
  9. ^ "Charleston city, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  10. ^ "Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places: 1840". Archived from the original on April 20, 2008.
  11. ^ Michael Kimmelman, "Charleston Needs That African American Museum. And Now.", The New York Times, March 29, 2018; accessed March 29, 2018
  12. ^ "Charleston, where 40% of all US slaves entered the country, finally apologizes for its role in the slave trade". CNN.
  13. ^ "Charleston is voted the No 1 City in the US & The World!". charlestoncvb.com. 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2020.


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