Population growth in the interior of South Carolina influenced the removal of the state government to Columbia in 1788, but the port city remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.The only major American city to have a majority-enslaved population, antebellum Charleston was controlled by an oligarchy of white planters and merchants who successfully forced the federal government to revise its 18 tariffs during the Nullification Crisis and launched the Civil War by seizing the Arsenal, Castle Pinckney, and Fort Sumter from their federal garrisons.The Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of three counties: Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester. North Charleston is the second-largest city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area and ranks as the third-largest city in the state; Mount Pleasant and Summerville are the next-largest cities. John's Parish, although the last two are mostly still incorporated rural parishes.
At the time of contact, the area was inhabited by the Cusabo Indians. The Charlestonians initially allied with the Westo, a slaving northern tribe that had grown powerful trading for guns with the colonists in Virginia.but difficulty in transport and communications with the north meant its settlers were effectively independent of Charles Town as late as the governorship of Philip Ludwell; even then, the north was controlled through an appointed deputy governor.On December 7, 1710, the Lords Proprietors decided to separate the Province of North Carolina from Charles Town's government, although they continued to own and control both regions.The entrance itself is about 1 mile (2 km) wide; it was originally only 18 feet (5 m) deep, but began to be enlarged in the 1870s.