The state of North Carolina is located in the Southeast region of the United States. This state is ranked 28th out of 50 U.S. states in terms of population and 9th in size. Virginia borders North Carolina to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west.
Charlotte is the largest city, and Raleigh is the state’s capital. With an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina, the 23rd most populous city in the United States, and the second-largest banking center in the nation after New York City.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA
- Capital City: Raleigh
- Largest City: Charlotte
- Nickname: The Tar Heel State
- Statehood: 1789; 12th state
- Population (as of 2020): 10,453,948
- Abbreviation: N.C.
- State bird: Cardinal
- State flower: flowering dogwood
- Total Size Of The State: 53,819 sq mi (139,390 km2)
At least 10,000 years ago, hunters and gatherers lived in North Carolina. In addition, the area was home to many Native American tribes over the years, including the Cherokee, Woodland, and other tribes.
North Carolina was first settled by Europeans in the 1500s and became America’s 12th colony in 1789, shortly after it declared independence from Great Britain. On May 20, 1861, the state seceded from the Union. One of the 11 states in the Civil War formed the Confederate States of America.
Why Does It Have That Name?
North Carolina got its nickname as the Tar Heel State because its longleaf pine trees were used to make tar, pitch, and turpentine for wooden ships. During the Revolutionary War, some British soldiers were slowed down by sticky tar in North Carolina.
Geographic Features and Landforms
The state of North Carolina lies to the south of Virginia, east of Tennessee, north of South Carolina, and west of the Atlantic Ocean. Three different landscapes define different regions in North Carolina as visitors traverse the state.
The Appalachian Mountains, the most extensive mountain range in the eastern United States, surround Western North Carolina. Some of the peaks are more than one mile high.
The Piedmont region can be found in the middle of the state. The plateau sits between the mountain and coastal plain areas. It is high and flat, like a mountain with its top cut off. Rapids and waterfalls flow through the region.
You will hear gulls if you keep going east! This mostly-flat land leads to the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern region, called the coastal plain. The landscape of this area consists of longleaf pines, swamps, and beaches.
The Natural World
Various native animals live in North Carolina’s diverse terrain, including black bears, coyotes, raccoons, sea turtles, salamanders, and ospreys (the state bird). The state has 300 species of trees, including longleaf pine, shortleaf pine, and the American chestnut tree. In addition, nearly 3,000 different types of flowering plants fill the state with color, including the flowering dogwood, the state flower.
Almost 60 percent of North Carolina is covered in forests, making timber a vital natural resource that has helped North Carolina become one of the nation’s largest furniture producers.
In addition to fish, meat, clay, and different types of rocks and minerals used in construction, there are also other natural resources.
Some Fun Facts About North Carolina
- North Carolina was home to the pirate Blackbeard, who raided ships off the coast in the early 1700s. Gold was discovered in what is now the United States in 1799 when a shiny nugget twinkled in the North Carolina mountains.
- Thelonious Monk, James K. Polk and Andrew Jackson (born on the border between North and South Carolina), among many others, were born in North Carolina.
- If you’re interested in diving shipwrecks, you might be interested in the Outer Banks, a group of islands with beaches and state parks. A colony of English settlers lived on Roanoke Island, one of these islands. The Lost Colony mystery has perplexed historians since the late 1500s when settlers suddenly disappeared.
- The Wright brothers completed the first successful airplane ride in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina’s dunes, a century later. Hence, the state’s license plates and quarters both read “First in Flight”.