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Charleston Harbor runs about 7 miles (11 km) southeast to the Atlantic with an average width of about 2 miles (3.2 km), surrounded on all sides except its entrance.

Sullivan's Island lies to the north of the entrance and Morris Island to the south.

A smallpox outbreak hit in 1698, followed by an earthquake in February 1699 whose ensuing fire destroyed about a third of the town.

During rebuilding, a yellow fever outbreak killed about 15% of the remaining inhabitants.

The present city has a total area of 127.5 square miles (330.2 km) is covered by water.

North Charleston blocks any expansion up the peninsula, and Mount Pleasant occupies the land directly east of the Cooper River.

The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers.

Charleston had an estimated population of 134,385 in 2016.

Destroying them by 1680, the settlers were able to use their improved relations with the Cusabo and other tribes to trade, recapture runaway slaves, and engage in slaving raids of Spanish-allied areas.

Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and mannerly people, Charleston is a popular tourist destination and has received a large number of accolades, including "America's Most Friendly [City]" by Travel Leisure in 2011 and in 20 by Condé Nast Traveler, but has since greatly expanded, crossing the Ashley River and encompassing James Island and some of Johns Island.

The city limits also have expanded across the Cooper River, encompassing Daniel Island and the Cainhoy area.

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.

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