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The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II of England.
Charleston has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with mild winters, hot, humid summers, and significant rainfall all year long.
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.
Because the Carolina's Fundamental Constitutions was never ratified, however, Charles Town was never incorporated during the colonial period, with the British Crown disallowing the one attempt to do so in the 1720s.
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.