is a city in and the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 75,838 at the 2000 Census. A July 1, 2007 United States Census Bureau estimate placed the population at 99,623. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which had an estimated population of 347,012 as of July 1, 2008. It was named in honor of Spencer Compton, the Earl of Wilmington, who was Prime Minister under George II.
Wilmington was settled on the Cape Fear River and offers its historic downtown with its one mile long Riverwalk as a main tourist attraction. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. City residents have the advantage of living nestled between the river and the ocean with Wrightsville Beach a short 20 minute drive from downtown.
In 2003 the city received, through an act of Congress, the designation of "A Coast Guard City". The city is also home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter..
Wilmington is also known as the childhood home of basketball great Michael Jordan and journalist David Brinkley; famous Wilmington natives include Robert Ruark, Sonny Jurgenson, Charles Kuralt, Charlie Daniels, Roman Gabriel, Meadowlark Lemon, Trot Nixon and Alge Crumpler. It is also home to the World War II Battleship . Now a war memorial, the ship is open to public tours and is on display across from the downtown port area. The town is home to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the Wilmington Hammerheads USL soccer team, the training camp site for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Cape Fear Museum. The city has become a major center of American film and television production; motion pictures such as
Wilmington is located at (34.223232, -77.912122).. It is the Eastern Terminus of a major East-West interstate Highway---I-40 which ends at Barstow, California where it joins I-15, the Gateway to Southern California, some 2720 miles away, passing through many major cities and State Capitals along the way.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.5 square miles (107.4 km²). 41.0 square miles (106.2 km