This book presents the history of Wilmington from its founding and development to the eve of the Civil War. Part I traces Wilmington's history from its incorporation in 1739-40 to 1789, when North Carolina joined the newly formed United States. This section focuses on the confused and disputed origins of Wilmington, life in a colonial urban setting, the growing importance of the port, and town governance. Part II covers the years 1789 to 1861, and examines the economic development of the port, the wide variety of social activities, the growth of the African American population, and Wilmington's role in state and national politics.
Alan D. Watson is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His articles have appeared in William and Mary Quarterly, South Carolina Historical Magazine and North Carolina Historical Review. He lives in Wilmington.