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The area had long been inhabited by various cultures of indigenous peoples; at the time of European encounter, historic Native Americans were tribes belonging to the Algonquian languages family.
The ethnic European and African history of Wilmington spans more than two and a half centuries.
Additionally, the city was home to outspoken political leaders who influenced and led the resistance movement in North Carolina.
The foremost of these was Wilmington resident Cornelius Harnett, who served in the General Assembly at the time, where he rallied opposition to the Sugar Act in 1764.
Many of the settlers were indentured servants, mainly from the British Isles and northern Europe.
As the indentured servants gained their freedom, the colonists imported an increasing number of (permanent and much less expensive) African slaves as laborers into the port city.
Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, originally developed as a tourist attraction, and in 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was named the "Best American Riverfront" by USA Today.But before the effigy was buried, it was found that Liberty still had a pulse, and celebration ensued."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.
Governor William Tryon made attempts to mitigate the opposition to no avail. Shipping on the Cape Fear River was stopped, as were the functions of the courts.When the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act the following year, designed to raise revenue for the Crown with a kind of tax, Wilmington was the site of an elaborate demonstration against it.