Charleston Harbor is rich with history and has played a major role in the naval history of the United States, particularly during the Civil War. The harbor is formed by the junction of the Ashley River and the Cooper River. In 1670, the first settlers arrived on the west bank of the Ashley River and established a settlement they called Charles Towne. Charleston Harbor saw its share of bloodshed during the Revolutionary War after a siege on April 2, 1780, that lasted 40 days.
The first shots of the Civil War were fired on Fort Sumter in the harbor on April 12th, 1860 by confederate forces. Our modern harbor plays a pivotal role in the states commerce through the SC State Port Authority. We welcome many thousands of travelers into the Charleston Harbor weekly aboard cruise ships and folks of all ages come from around the world to see our beautiful harbor sunsets. Charleston Harbor is as much a part of our city as the peninsula itself.