Greenville is located in Pitt County (of which it is the county seat) east of Raleigh between Wilson and Washington along US Highway 264 on the banks of the Tar River near Farmville, Winterville, and the Pamlico River.
The city was founded in 1771 as Martinsborough, after the Royal Governor Josiah Martin. In 1786, the name was changed to Greenesville in honor of General Nathanael Greene, the Revolutionary War hero, and later shortened to Greenville. Today it is a major industrial and economic center for Eastern North Carolina for education, industry, medicine, and culture. With industries and businesses like DSM Catalytica Pharmaceuticals and Rubbermaid. The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 57,005, an increase of 10,731 since 1990.