Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Wilmington was a majority-black, racially-integrated prosperous city. In the Wilmington massacre of 1898, white Democrats launched a coup to overthrow the legitimately-elected local Fusionist government. They expelled opposition black and white political leaders from the city, destroyed the property and businesses of black citizens built up since the Civil War, including the only black newspaper in the city, and killed an estimated 60 to more than 300 people. Whereas Wilmington had 125,000 registered black voters in 1896, it had 6,000 by 1902.
With a population of 123,744 in 2019, it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate. Settled by the English along the Cape Fear River, the city was named after Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington. Its historic downtown has a 1.75-mile (2.82 km) Riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction in the late 20th century. In 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was ranked as the "Best American Riverfront" by readers of USA Today. It is minutes away from nearby beaches.