Elizabeth City is a city in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 18,683. Elizabeth City is the county seat and largest city of Pasquotank County. It is the cultural, economic and educational hub of the sixteen-county Historic Albemarle region of northeastern North Carolina.
Elizabeth City is the center of the Elizabeth City Micropolitan Statistical Area, with a population of 64,094 as of 2010, and is part of the larger Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area. The city is the economic center of the region, as well as home to many historic sites and cultural traditions.
Marketed as the "Harbor of Hospitality", Elizabeth City has had a long history of shipping due to its location at a narrowed bend of the Pasquotank River. Founded in 1794, Elizabeth City prospered early on from the Dismal Swamp Canal as a mercantile city, before later shifting into a varied industrial and commercial focus. While Elizabeth City still retains its extensive waterfront property, it is linked to neighboring counties and cities by highways and bridges and serves as the site of the largest US Coast Guard base in the nation.
Located at the narrows of the Pasquotank River, the area that would become Elizabeth City soon served as a trading site, and as early as the mid 18th century, inspection stations and ferries were established. With the addition of minor roads, a schoolhouse, and soon a church, a small community was established at these narrows.
In 1793, construction of the Dismal Swamp Canal began, which would drive Elizabeth City's commerce, and the North Carolina Assembly incorporated the town of "Redding".