Centered on a narrow peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Charleston is one of America's most historic and charming cities. Originally founded in 1670, and named Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, the city would grow to become the most important southern seaport of the colonial era. Upon the conclusion of the American Revolution, the city would officially incorporate as Charleston in 1782.
The first shots of the American Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in 1861. From that point on, the city would remain under siege until the Confederate Army finally abandoned the city late in the war. During the siege, the Confederate Army utilized the world's first submarine, the Hunley, in successfully sinking the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor. In the years following the war, the city would rebuild and continue to be the heart of southern gentility.
Charleston was one of the pioneers of historic preservation with its passage of the nations first historic district zoning ordinance in 1931. The passage of this ordinance at such an early time has resulted in Charleston being able to retain many of its colonial and other historic buildings that date from before the 1900s. This has in turn kept the city rather low-rise in nature, with the most prominent skyline features being church steeples.
The city remains to this day an extremely popular tourist destination. Within the city, visitors can explore Charleston's magnificent architecture along narrow streets lined with palmetto trees. From the fabulous homes of East Bay Street's "Rainbow Row" to the traditional, hand-woven baskets one can purchase along Market Street, one who visits Charleston will leave feeling as if they were a part of the Southern gentility which made the city so grand.