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The first permanent European settlement in the area started in the 1720s with English colonists.
In September 1732, a community was founded on land owned by John Watson on the Cape Fear River, at the confluence of its northwest and northeast branches.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.
On November 18, 1765, he pleaded his case directly to prominent residents of the area. Tryon, after having received his official commission as governor (a position he had assumed only after the death of Arthur Dobbs), was brought to Wilmington by Captain Constantine Phipps on a barge from the Diligence, and "was received cordially by the gentlemen of the borough." He was greeted with the firing of seventeen pieces of artillery, and the New Hanover County regiment of militia, who had lined the streets.
Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction in the late 20th century.
In 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was ranked as the "Best American Riverfront" by readers of USA Today.
"The Inhabitants immediately assembled about me & demanded a Categorical Answer whether I intended to put the Act relating [to] the Stamps in force.
The Town Bell was rung[,] Drums [were] beating, Colours [were] flying and [a] great concourse of People [were] gathered together." For the sake of his own life, and "to quiet the Minds of the inraged [sic] and furious Mobb...," Houston resigned his position at the courthouse. Sloop Diligence, Tryon ordered them to be kept on board.
Wilmington was settled by European Americans along the Cape Fear River.