—Wilmingtonian /wil'ming toh"nee euhn/, n./wil"ming teuhn/, n.1. a seaport in N Delaware, on the Delaware River. 70,195.2. a seaport in SE North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River. 44,000.3. a city in NE Massachusetts. 17,471.4. a town in SW Ohio. 10,431.
* * *City (pop., 2000: 72,664), northern Delaware, U.S. Located at the junction of the Delaware and Christina rivers, it is the state's largest city and its industrial, financial, and commercial centre and main port.The oldest permanent settlement in the Delaware Valley, it was settled by Swedes in 1638. Called Fort Christina, it was captured by Peter Stuyvesant's Dutch forces in 1655; they were ousted by the English in 1664. A prosperous port after the Quakers moved there in the 1730s, it was renamed Wilmington in 1739. During the American Revolution, the Battle of the Brandywine was fought nearby. In 1802 E.I. du Pont de Nemours established a gunpowder mill there (see Du Pont Co.).
* * *largest city in Delaware, U.S., and seat of New Castle county at the influx of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek into the Delaware River. It is the state's industrial, financial, and commercial centre and main port.The oldest permanent European settlement in the Delaware River valley was established on the site by Swedes in 1638. Called Fort Christina, it was captured by Peter Stuyvesant (Stuyvesant, Peter)'s Dutch forces in 1655. The Dutch, who named the place Altena, were ousted by the English in 1664. A small agricultural hamlet for its first 100 years, it developed into a prosperous port and market town after the Quakers moved there in the 1730s. The Quakers secured a borough charter from Thomas Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania, who named the town (1739) for his friend Spencer Compton, earl of Wilmington.By the time of the American Revolution, Wilmington was the largest town in Delaware. Following the Battle of the Brandywine (Brandywine, Battle of the) (September 11, 1777), the British captured John McKinly, the state president, in Wilmington and occupied the town. Subsequent growth was due to accessibility to other ports (especially Philadelphia, 25 miles [40 km] northeast), abundance of waterpower in nearby creeks, and the fertility of nearby farmlands. Sawmills, gristmills, and paper mills were built along Brandywine Creek, just north of Wilmington, and by the 1790s its flour mills were the largest in the United States. In 1802 a French immigrant, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (du Pont Family), established a gunpowder mill, the forerunner of the modern gigantic and diversified DuPont (DuPont Company) industries with their experimental laboratories in Wilmington. The city's industrial development was given impetus by the completion (1837) of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore (later Penn Central) Railroad.Besides chemical products, manufactures include automobiles, leather goods, textiles, vulcanized fibre, rubber hose, and processed foods. Services are increasingly important, and the headquarters of many large corporations are located in the city.Among the city's historic sites and museums are the Fort Christina Monument (by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles), marking the site of the original settlement; Old Swedes (Holy Trinity) Church (1698); Old Town Hall Museum (1798), with exhibits about Delaware's history; Hagley Museum and Library, occupying the original Du Pont gunpowder mill complex and featuring exhibits dramatizing the industrial history along the Brandywine; and the Delaware Art Museum, noted for its collections of Pre-Raphaelite English art and American art. The Winterthur Museum, which is Henry Francis du Pont's collection of early American interior architecture, furniture, and accessories, is nearby. Wilmington is the seat of Goldey-Beacom College (founded 1886) and Widener University School of Law (1971). Inc. 1832. Pop. (2000) city, 72,664; Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA, 5,687,147; (2005 est.) city, 72,786; Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA, 5,823,233.city, seat of New Hanover county, southeastern North Carolina, U.S. It is the state's chief seaport and lies on the Cape Fear River, about 30 miles (48 km) above its mouth. Settled in the early 1730s and called New Carthage and then New Liverpool, it was incorporated (1740) as New Town (Newton) and later renamed to honour Spencer Compton, earl of Wilmington (Wilmington, Spencer Compton, earl of, Viscount Pevensey). The first American armed resistance to the Stamp Act occurred there in November 1765. During the American Revolution a British effort to conquer the colonies by dividing them was frustrated at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge (Moore's Creek Bridge, Battle of) (February 1776); the site, 20 miles (32 km) northwest, is now a national military park. In 1781 Wilmington was used by a British general, Lord Cornwallis (Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl, Viscount Brome, Baron Cornwallis of Eye), as his headquarters after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (Guilford Courthouse, Battle of) and before he marched to Virginia. During the American Civil War it was a centre for Confederate blockade-running and was the last port closed by the Union, holding out until the fall of Fort Fisher (south near the mouth of the Cape Fear River) on January 15, 1865.The city's economy is based on shipping, tourism, and diversified manufacturing (including nuclear-power and aerospace equipment, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and optical fibres); the production of motion pictures and television programming is also important. The University of North Carolina (North Carolina, University of) at Wilmington (established as Wilmington College in 1947) and Cape Fear Community College (1959) are there. The battleship North Carolina is moored on the river as a memorial of World War II. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, St. John's Museum of Art, and the Wilmington Railroad Museum. The city's downtown historic district preserves many antebellum buildings, notably the Burgwin-Wright House (1770), Zebulon Latimer House (1852), and Bellamy Mansion (1859). Also nearby are Airlie Gardens, just to the east; Moores Creek National Battlefield (1926), 20 miles (32 km) northwest; and Carolina Beach State Park and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, both south on Pleasure Island. The North Carolina Azalea Festival is held annually in April. Inc. city, 1866. Pop. (1990) city, 55,530; Wilmington MSA, 171,269; (2000) city, 75,838; Wilmington MSA, 233,450.
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