Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Charleston, cities, United States
Charleston. 1 City (2020 pop. 17,286), seat of Coles co., E Ill.; inc. 1835. Charleston is an industrial, rail, and trade center located in an agricultural area; shoes are also made. Eastern Illinois Univ. is there. A Lincoln-Douglas debate was held in Charleston on Sept. 8, 1858. Local attractions include an enormous statue of Lincoln and nearby Lincoln Log Cabin State Park and Fox Ridge State Park.
2 City (2020 pop. 150,227), seat of Charleston co., SE S.C.; founded 1680, inc. 1783. The oldest city in the state and one of the chief ports of entry in the SE United States, Charleston lies on a low, narrow peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper rivers at the head of the bay formed by their confluence. In the bay or bordering it are Patriots Point, with the Yorktown and other warship museums; Sullivans Island, site of Fort Moultrie; James Island; Morris Island, with a lighthouse; Fort Sumter; and Castle Pinckney, on Shutes Folly. Many transportation routes converge at Charleston, and through its almost landlocked harbor extensive coastal and foreign trade is carried on; the city also is a cruise port. Until 1996, Charleston was headquarters for the 6th U.S. naval district and for the U.S. air force defense command. The extensive facilities included a submarine base and a huge navy yard (est. 1901) in North Charleston, which still houses a large naval electronics facility and has been redeveloped for private industry. Among the city's varied manufactures are chemicals, steel, motor vehicle parts, pulp and paper, textiles, and clothing.
The city's old homes and winding streets, historic sites, and charm, together with its mild climate and nearby beaches and gardens (including Middleton Place, Magnolia Gardens, and Cypress Gardens), attract tourists. Many colonial buildings survive, among them St. Michael's Episcopal Church (begun 1752), noted for its chimes, and the Miles Brewton house (1765–69). Also here are the Powder Magazine (c.1713); the Gibbes Museum of Art; the Charleston Museum (1773) and the City Market (1804–41), each among the oldest of their kind in the country; and Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. The waterfront, especially the Battery, and the Grace Memorial Bridge over the Cooper River, are famous Charleston landmarks; the South Carolina Aquarium is on a wharf in the harbor. Cabbage Row surrounds a court that was the “Catfish Row” of DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy. The annual azalea festival is a popular event, and the Spoleto U.S.A. music and arts festival (see Spoleto Festival) has been held in the city since 1977. Charleston is the seat of the Citadel, the Medical Univ. of South Carolina, Charleston Southern Univ., and the College of Charleston (1790), which in 1837 became the first municipal college in the United States. Noted resorts lie east and west of the city.
The English settled (1670) at Albemarle Point, on the western bank of the Ashley River, c.7 mi (11 km) from modern Charleston. They moved in 1680 to Oyster Point, where their capital, Charles Town, had been laid out. The city became the most important seaport, and the center of wealth and culture, in the southern colonies. Non-English immigrants, among whom French Huguenots were prominent, added a cosmopolitan touch. Charleston was an early theatrical center; the Dock Street Theatre (opened 1736) was one of the first established in the country. In the American Revolution, after being successfully defended (1776, 1779) by William Moultrie, Charleston was surrendered (May 12, 1780) by Benjamin Lincoln to the British under Sir Henry Clinton, who held it until Dec. 14, 1782. The capital was moved to Columbia in 1790, but Charleston remained the region's social and economic center.
The South Carolina ordinance of secession (Dec., 1860) was passed in Charleston, and the city was the scene of the act precipitating the Civil War—the firing on Fort Sumter (Apr. 12, 1861). With its harbor blockaded and the city under virtual siege by Union forces (1863–65), Charleston suffered partial destruction but did not fall until Feb., 1865, after it had been isolated by Sherman's army. A violent earthquake on Aug. 31, 1886, with an estimated magnitude of 7.3., took many lives and made thousands homeless; it was the most powerful earthquake on the E coast of the United States in historic times. Periodic storms, such as Hurricane Hugo (1989), have also caused great damage. The city's port experienced signficant growth during the late 20th cent.
See R. N. Rosen, A Short History of Charleston (1982); Q. Bell et al., Charleston (1988); S. R. Wise, Gates of Hell (1994); P. Starobin, Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860 and the Mania for War (2017).
a city in the southeastern USA, in the state of South Carolina. Port on the Atlantic coast, near the mouth of the Ashley River. Important center of trade and transportation. Population, 60,000 (1975; including suburbs, 350,000). In 1974, 16,000 people were employed in industry. The city manufactures wood products, food products, tobacco, ships, and such chemical products as mineral fertilizers.
a city in the eastern USA; capital of the state of West Virginia. Located on the Great Kanawha River. Population, 67,000 (1975; including suburbs, 260,000).
Charleston is a transportation junction and mining center. Hard coal, salt, and natural gas are extracted in the vicinity. In 1974, 4,500 persons were employed in mining, and 18,500 in manufacturing. The city has a chemical industry, which produces primarily synthetic rubber, plastics, and synthetic fibers. Other industries in Charleston include metalworking and the manufacture of wood products and building materials.
an American ballroom dance. It first appeared in the 1920’s in Charleston, S.C., and then spread to Europe. Based on Negro dances, the Charleston is accompanied by music in 4/4 time with a syncopated rhythm. It became popular again in the late 1960’s and mid-1970’s.