City (1990 pop. 71,529), seat of New Castle co., NE Del., on the Delaware River and tributary streams, the Christina and the Brandywine; settled 1638, inc. as a city 1832. The state's largest city, it is a port of entry handling domestic and foreign shipping. It has railroad shops and is a major financial services and chemical and biomedical center. Wilmington is the headquarters of the Du Pont company and its research and experimental laboratories, as well as of financial services companies. There is food processing, petroleum refining, and the manufacture of machinery; electronics; plastic, metal, and glass products; hardware; leather goods; feeds; transportation, photographic, and computer equipment; furniture; ordnance; textiles and apparel; and steel.
Fort Christina, built there by the Swedes in 1638 (the site is now a state park), was taken by the Dutch (1655) and then by the British (1664). In 1682, William Penn came into possession of the region. Shipping and manufacturing grew early, and industry was well developed when E. I. Du Pont established a powder mill on the Brandywine in 1802. Goldey-Beacom College, a campus of Widener Univ., and a campus of Delaware State Univ. are in the city. Wilmington's many historic buildings include Old Swedes Church (1698). Other points of interest are Rodney Square (the city center), the Delaware Academy of Medicine, the Delaware Art Center, the Riverfront Arts Center, and the nearby Hagley and Winterthur museums, the Woodlawn portion of the First State National Monument, several state parks, and Longwood Gardens.
2 Town (1990 pop. 17,654), Middlesex co., NE Mass., a suburb of Boston, on the Ipswich River; settled 1639, inc. 1730. Economic enterprises include space research and the manufacture of plastics, machinery, medical equipment, and electronics.
3 City (1990 pop. 55,530), seat of New Hanover co., SE N.C., a port of entry on the Cape Fear River, c.30 mi (50 km) from its mouth; settled 1732, inc. as a city 1866. The state's largest port, Wilmington is also a tourist resort and a sports fishing center. Its manufactures include chemicals; plastics; machinery; rubber, paper, and metal products; yachts; building materials; apparel; and optical fibers. Wilmington is also a busy filmmaking center. The British Gen. Cornwallis held the town in 1781. During the Civil War, Wilmington was the last Confederate port to close; Confederate blockade runners used it until the fall of Fort Fisher on Jan. 15, 1865. Liberty ships (cargo/transport ships) were built there during World War II. The Univ. of North Carolina Wilmington is in the city. The U.S.S. North Carolina is moored in the river.
4 City (1990 pop. 11,199), seat of Clinton co., SW Ohio, in a farm (chiefly corn and hogs) area; settled 1810, inc. 1828. Tools, machinery, metal products, and transportation equipment are made. Wilmington College of Ohio is there, and a state park is nearby.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography