Charleston is a historic center of Southern culture. Founded in 1670, it sits between two estuaries and is fronted by a deep natural harbor. An important commercial port since colonial times, the city was also a leader in the secessionist movement; the capture of Fort Sumter by Confederate forces on April 14, 1862, marked the beginning of the Civil War. Today, Charleston is notable for its many well-preserved colonial homes and churches, charming streets and courtyards, and expansive parks and gardens. The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773, is the oldest museum in the US.