Kinston is a city in Lenoir County, North Carolina, United States, with a population of 21,677 as of the 2010 census. It has been the county seat of Lenoir County since its formation in 1791. Kinston is located in the coastal plains region of eastern North Carolina.
In 2009, Kinston won the All-America City Award. This marks the second time in 21 years the city has won the title.
At the time of English settlement, the area was inhabited by the Neusiok people. Preceding the historic tribe, indigenous peoples of a variety of cultures had lived in the area for thousands of years. Before the English colonists established the city, they called the area "Atkins Bank", referring to a bluff once owned by Robert Atkins just above the Neuse River. Atkins Bank was the site of farms, a tobacco warehouse, and a Church of England mission.
Kinston was created by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in December 1762 as "Kingston", in honor of King George III, who had just recently ascended to the throne. The bill to incorporate it was introduced by Richard Caswell, who made his home there and later served as the first governor of the state of North Carolina from 1776 to 1780.