The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II of England.
The traditional parish system persisted until the Reconstruction Era, when counties were imposed. It took seven years before the group arranged for settlement expeditions.
Nevertheless, traditional parishes still exist in various capacities, mainly as public service districts. In 1670, Governor William Sayle brought over several shiploads of settlers from Bermuda, which lies due east of Charleston although closer to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.
North Charleston blocks any expansion up the peninsula, and Mount Pleasant occupies the land directly east of the Cooper River.Election districts were organized according to Anglican parishes, and some social services were managed by Anglican wardens and vestries.Charleston adopted its present spelling with its incorporation as a city in 1783 at the close of the Revolutionary War.Its initial location at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River (now Charles Towne Landing) was abandoned in 1680 for its present site, which became the fifth-largest city in North America within ten years.Despite its size, it remained unincorporated throughout the colonial period; its government was handled directly by a colonial legislature and a governor sent by London.