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As the indentured servants gained their freedom and fewer could be persuaded to leave England because of improving conditions there, the colonists imported an increasing number of African slaves to satisfy the labor demand.
Many worked in the port as laborers, and some in ship-related trades.
Due to Wilmington's commercial importance as a major port, it had a critical role in opposition to the British in the years leading up to the Revolution.
The city had outspoken political leaders who influenced and led the resistance movement in North Carolina.
The first permanent European settlement in the area started in the 1720s with English colonists.
In September 1732, a community was founded on land owned by John Watson on the Cape Fear River, at the confluence of its northwest and northeast branches.
When the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act the following year, designed to raise revenue for the Crown with a kind of tax on shipping, Wilmington was the site of an elaborate demonstration against it.After the studio's opening in 1984, Wilmington became a major center of American film and television production.Numerous movies in a range of genres and several television series have been produced here, including Maximum Overdrive, Iron Man 3, Fox's Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, Dawson's Creek and NBC's Revolution.The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.Wilmington is the home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside California.