Charleston is located in Charleston County and it is the county seat. It is situated along Interstate 26 on a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper rivers. The meeting of these rivers forms its harbor, three miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Francis Marion National Forest is just northeast.
Charleston was founded in 1670 and derived its name from King Charles II of England. The city was the capital of the colony and the state from 1670 to 1790. Until the American Revolution, Charleston was considered to be the richest city in the South. Its wealth was based on exports of rice and indigo, as well as trade with Indians in the Ohio and Mississippi river regions. The first American steam locomotive in regular service began running out of Charleston in 1830.
Attractions include the Gibbes Museum of Art and the historic Dock Street Theatre. From January to December, there are events such as the world famous Spoleto Festival USA and the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.
Charleston is part of the Charleston-North Charleston metro area.