North Carolina State History – War, Capital, Population, Facts & Geography of North Carolina

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Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived on the North Carolina coast, the land was inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, Catawba, Takarora, and Croatans. The largest of these tribes was the Cherokee, who lived in the western mountains. They lived in sturdy wicker houses made of logs covered with mud and grass. For food, they grew corn, beans and pumpkins. They also hunted turkeys, rabbits, and deer.

Information about North Carolina State:

Capital Raleigh
Population 10,698,973 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville
Borders Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Atlantic Ocean
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $730,072.4 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including cotton, tobacco, soybeans, grains, hogs, and cattle
Textiles, banking, chemicals, furniture, computers, paper products, and tourism

Flag of North Carolina State:

Europeans Arrive

The first Europeans to arrive in North Carolina were the Spaniards. Explorer Giovanni da Verrazano first mapped the coastline in 1524. Later explorers included Juan Pardo, who founded Fort San Juan in western North Carolina in 1567, and Hernando de Soto, who came in search of gold.

The Disappearing Colony

In 1584, the British established the Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. It was the first European colony in North America. The colony was sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh and supervised by John White. At some point, White returned to England to collect more supplies.

However, when he returned to Roanoke, the colony had disappeared. What happened to this first colony remains a mystery to historians. The only clue was a wooden carving that said “Croatia”.

North Carolina State Symbols

  • North Carolina State Nickname: Tar Heel State
  • North Carolina State Slogan: A Better Place to Be; First in Flight (on its license plate)
  • North Carolina State Motto: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem)
  • North Carolina State flower: American Dogwood
  • North Carolina State bird: Cardinal
  • North Carolina State fish: Channel Bass (salt water)
  • North Carolina State tree: Pine
  • North Carolina State mammal: Eastern Gray Squirrel, Plott Hound
  • North Carolina State foods: Blueberry, Strawberry, Sweet Potato, Milk, Scuppernong Grape

Early Settlers

In the late 16th and early 18th centuries, more and more British people began to emigrate to North Carolina. The first permanent city was established in Bath in 1705. Native Americans were displaced as more and more people migrated to the country. The Tuscarora tribe launched a counteroffensive in his 1711, and the Tuscarora War began. In 1713 the Takarora family was defeated.

An English Colony

Originally Carolina was ruled by a group of friends of King Charles known as the “Lord Owners”. North Carolina separated from South Carolina in 1712. It became an official British royal colony in 1729.

The Geography of North Carolina State:

  • Total Size of North Carolina: 48,711 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of North Carolina: Atlantic Ocean at Sea Level (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of North Carolina: Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Yancey(source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of North Carolina: Located in Chatham County approx. 10 miles northwest of Sanford (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of North Carolina: 100 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of North Carolina: Atlantic Ocean, Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound, Neuse River, Cape Fear River, Yadkin River, Lake Norman, Jordan Lake, Lake Lure

Revolutionary War

In the mid-17th century, the American colonies grew angry with Britain over taxes such as the Stamp Act and the Townsend Act. North Carolina joined other colonies and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Several battles took place in North Carolina, including the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, the Battle of Kings Mountain, and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

After the war, North Carolina waited for the Bill of Rights to be incorporated into the Constitution before agreeing to ratify it. On November 21, 1789, North Carolina ratified the Constitution, becoming her 12th state to join the United States.

Civil War

In the 18th century, North Carolina was a rural state made up mostly of farms and plantations. It was also a slave state, with about one-third of the state’s population being slaves. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, North Carolina seceded from the Union, joining the Confederacy.

Many North Carolina soldiers joined the Confederacy and were killed in action. The largest battle fought in North Carolina was the Battle of Bentonville, where the vastly outnumbered Confederates under Joseph E. Johnston were defeated by Union forces under General William T. Sherman. After losing the war, North Carolina rejoined the United States in her 1868.

Famous People of North Carolina State:

Roy Williams College basketball coach
Randy Travis Country singer
Hiram Revels First African-American Senator
James Polk The 11th President of the United States
Richard Petty Race car driver
Chris Paul Professional basketball player
Julianne Moore Actress
Sugar Ray Leonard Champion boxer
Andrew Johnson The 17th President of the United States
Catfish Hunter Professional baseball player
Billy Graham Evangelist
Dale Earnhardt Race car driver
Elizabeth Dole Senator and President of the Red Cross
Virginia Dare First child born in America to English parents
Andy Griffith Actor
Josh Hamilton Professional baseball player

Interesting Facts of North Carolina State:

The largest home in the United States is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

The first flight of a mechanically powered airplane was made by the Wright Brothers on December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

The first public university in the United States was the University of North Carolina.

Virginia Dare was born in Roanoke, North Carolina in 1587, the first American child.

The nickname “tar heel” comes from a state that was once a major producer of tar. Legend has it that during a Civil War battle, a regiment of North Carolina soldiers held out while others fled. Other soldiers said they needed Carolina tal on their heels to prevent escape.

Originally, Venus flytraps were found only in North and South Carolina.

Another nickname is the Old North State.

The first colony was founded on Roanoke Island. However, it mysteriously disappeared. Today it is called the ‘Lost Colony’ and all that remains is the word ‘Croatan’ carved into the wood.

Krispy Kreme Donuts was founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Three US presidents were born in North Carolina. You are James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson.

Timeline Overview:

1567 – Spanish explorer Juan Pardo builds Fort San Juan.
1584 – Roanoke Colony is founded on Roanoke Island.
1705 – The first permanent city is established in Bath.
1711 – The Takarora War occurs.
1712 – North Carolina and South Carolina are separated.
1718 – The famous pirate Blackbeard is killed by the Royal Navy.
1729 – North Carolina becomes a British Royal Colony.
1781 – Battle of Guildford Court takes place.
1789 – North Carolina becomes the 12th state.
1828 – Andrew Jackson becomes the 7th President of the United States.
1830 – The Cherokee Indians are driven from the land known as the “Trail of Tears”.
1861 – North Carolina secedes from the Union and the Civil War begins.
1868 – States are allowed to rejoin the Union.
1903 – The Wright brothers make the first powered aircraft flight in Kitty Hawk.
1918 – Fort Bragg is founded near Fayetteville.
1959 – Research Triangle Park is established near Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
1989 – Hurricane Hugo hits North Carolina, causing damage as far inland as Charlotte.