Wilmington was incorporated as a town in 1739, but it had actually been settled in the 1720's. There were even failed attempts to get people settled in the region in the 1600's. Most of the first settlers came from South Carolina or Barbados. Soon after the town was incorporated, the slave trade began to take off in the town. The area had some great natural resources, and the land owners tried to exploit it. The forests held most of the potential for success and progress, and they took advantage of it. Because of this, the areas industry grew greatly in the 18th and 19th centuries. Naval stores and lumber also fueled the economy of the region before and after the American Revolution. During the Civil War, the port became a major base for Confederate blockade runners. It was eventually captured by the Union before the end of the war in February, 1865. Because there were no real battles in the city, a lot of Antebellum homes are still intact. In November, 1898, Wilmington became the scene of racial tensions and violence. At that time, Wilmington was the largest city in North Carolina, and this set the tone for disenfranchisement and Jim Crow laws being implemented for the next half century.