Located on the Cape Fear River six miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Wilmington is North Carolina's chief deepwater port. It is also a center of tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing, as well as the seat of New Hanover County. It was the state's largest city and social center until 1910, and still has a legacy of beautiful homes, public and religious buidlings, and cultural institutions from that period, including one of the nation's oldest public libraries. Settlement dates to the early 1730s. In 1734 it was named for Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, patron of an early local governor. Cornwallis occupied the town in 1781 before his march to Yorktown; Confederate blockade runners docked here during the Civil War.