Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina


City in the United States
State South Carolina
County Berkeley County and Charleston County
Coordinates 32°47’0″N, 79°55’55″WL
Surface 330.2 km²
– country 282.3 km²
– water 47.9 km²
(April 1, 2010)
(425 inhabitants/km²)

According to Ehuacom, Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the US state of South Carolina. With more than 136,000 inhabitants (in 2018), it is slightly larger than the capital Columbia, which is the second largest city in the state with 133,000 inhabitants (in 2018). Charleston is located just south of the center of the South Carolina coast, on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, into which 3 rivers flow: the Ashley, the Cooper, and the Wando.


The town was founded in 1670 as Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England. The town originally arose on the west bank of the Ashley River (now Charles Towne Landing), but this location was abandoned in 1680 and replaced by the current one. The city grew rapidly because of the slave trade. Despite a ban on the Transatlantic slave trade from 1804, Charleston stubbornly persisted. In 1819, an arrangement made it illegal for states north of the 36°30′ latitude to keep slaves. States south of this latitude were allowed to do so. Abolitionism emerged from the north, striving for the abolition of slavery.

On November 18, 1740, much of Charles Town was destroyed by fire.

Following (among other things) the conflicts of the Northern States and the Southern States over the abolition of slavery, the American Civil War began in Charleston on April 12, 1861 with an attack by the Confederate States of America on United States soldiers who had been stationed at Fort Sumter.

Known as Charleston since 1783, the city was the fifth largest city in North America by 1800, after Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Quebec. The first British settlers came from Bermuda.

On June 17, 2015, a man opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, killing nine people who were there for a prayer service. The police assumed a racist motive and arrested the man after a manhunt.


The Family Circle Cup has been played in Charleston every year since 2001. This tennis tournament is a major event on the WTA tennis calendar and is classified as a WTA Premier Tournament.

Famous residents of Charleston


  • John Rutledge (1739-1800), politician and judge
  • Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746–1825), politician
  • Edward Rutledge (1749-1800), politician and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence
  • Charles Pinckney (1757–1824), politician
  • Joel Poinsett (1779–1851), politician, botanist, physician and diplomat
  • Sarah Moore Grimké (November 26, 1792 – December 23, 1873) was an American abolitionist, writer, and member of the women’s suffrage movement, and along with her sister Angelina Grimké the first white woman to be part of the abolitionist movement against the slavery.
  • Angelina Emily Grimké Weld (February 21, 1805 – October 26, 1879) was an American political activist, women’s rights advocate, champion of the women’s suffrage movement, and, alongside her sister, Sarah Moore Grimké, the only known white Confederate woman to be part of the abolitionist movement for slavery.
  • William Gilmore Simms (1806–1870), poet, novelist and historian
  • George Trenholm (1807–1876), politician
  • Wade Hampton III (1818-1902), Confederate general during the American Civil War, senator and governor of South Carolina
  • Louis Rémy Mignot (1831-1870), painter
  • Adolph Mignot (1835-1911), American-Dutch cigar manufacturer
  • James Byrnes (1882-1972), politician
  • Edwin DuBose Heyward (1885-1940), writer
  • Arthur Freed (1894–1973), lyricist and film producer
  • Arthur Briggs (1899-1991), jazz trumpeter and bandleader
  • Gus Aiken (1902-1973), jazz trumpeter and cornetist
  • Ellsworth Raymond Johnson (1905-1968), African American mobster (known by the pseudonym Bumpy Johnson)
  • Willie Smith (1910-1967), jazz saxophonist and clarinetist
  • Robert Francis Furchgott (1916–2009), chemist and Nobel laureate (1998)
  • Elsa Raven (1929-2020), actress
  • Morris Knight (1933), composer and broadcaster
  • James Jamerson (1936-1983), bassist (Motown)
  • Robert Jordan (1948-2007), fantasy writer
  • Alphonse Mouzon (1948-2016), drummer, percussionist and actor
  • Frank Culbertson (1949), astronaut
  • Angry Grandpa (1950–2017), Internet fame
  • Will Patton (1954), actor
  • Catherine Coleman (1960), astronaut
  • Thomas Gibson (1962), actor
  • Andy Dick (1965), comedian and actor
  • Melanie Thornton (1967-2001), pop singer
  • Jonathan Mangum (1971), actor, comedian, film producer and screenwriter
  • Johnny Whitworth (1975), actor and film producer
  • Logan Marshall-Green (1976), actor
  • Mackenzie Rosman (1989), actress
  • Aaron Nesmith (1999), basketball player
  • Kyla Kenedy (2003), actress


  • Elizabeth Timothy (1702–1757), printer, publisher and journalist
  • Edward Rutledge (1749-1800), politician and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence
  • Robert Henley (1783–1828), captain
  • William Gilmore Simms (1806–1870), poet, novelist and historian
  • Christopher Memminger (1803–1888), politician
  • Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), Austro-Hungarian-American publisher
  • Reuben Henry III Tucker (1911-1970), officer
  • Mark Wayne Clark (1896-1984), General
  • William Westmoreland (1914-2005), General
  • Alicia Rhett (1915-2014), actress

Former residents

  • William Cormac

Charleston, South Carolina