The coastal town of Charleston was founded in 1690 by the British and very rapidly grew to one of the largest cities in America, amassing huge wealth through slave trade. Charleston was the entry point to nearly half of all African slaves. In addition to the slave trade, Charleston was hub of the Atlantic trade routes in the British empire. The immense wealth of the white elite led to construction of many large mansions, churches, and even the first theater in America opened here. The historic old town is lined up with colorful buildings (in fact, there are over 1,400 registered historic structures in the city). The American Civil war began in Charleston in 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected, and South Carolina voted to secede from the Union. Five years later, the Civil War ended just months after the city was finally recaptured and the confederate armies defeated. Interestingly, most locals in Charleston refer to the Civil War as the “war of northern aggression” (or more like “waaar ef naaathn aigreshn” in the southern accent).