North Carolina

North Carolina (/ˌkærəˈlnə/ (listen)) is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with a population of 2,595,027 in 2020,[9] is the most-populous metropolitan area in North Carolina, the 21st-most populous in the United States, and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City.[10] The Raleigh-Durham-Cary combined statistical area is the second-largest metropolitan area in the state and 32nd-most populous in the United States, with a population of 2,043,867 in 2020,[11] and is home to the largest research park in the United States, Research Triangle Park.

North Carolina
State of North Carolina
Nickname(s): 
Tarheel State; Old North State
Motto(s): 
Esse quam videri:[1] "To be, rather than to seem"
Anthem: The Old North State[2]
Map of the United States with North Carolina highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodProvince of North Carolina
Admitted to the UnionNovember 21, 1789 (12th)
CapitalRaleigh
Largest cityCharlotte
Largest metro and urban areasCharlotte
Government
  GovernorRoy Cooper (D)
  Lieutenant GovernorMark Robinson (R)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
  Upper houseSenate
  Lower houseHouse of Representatives
JudiciaryNorth Carolina Supreme Court
U.S. senatorsRichard Burr (R)
Thom Tillis (R)
U.S. House delegation
  • 8 Republicans
  • 5 Democrats
(list)
Area
  Total53,819 sq mi (139,390 km2)
  Land48,711 sq mi (126,161 km2)
  Water1,972 sq mi (5,108 km2)  9.5%
  Rank28th
Dimensions
  Length500[3] mi (804 km)
  Width184 mi (296 km)
Elevation
700 ft (210 m)
Highest elevation6,684 ft (2,037 m)
Lowest elevation
(Atlantic Ocean[4])
0 ft (0 m)
Population
 (2021)
  Total10,551,162
  Rank9th
  Density214.6/sq mi (82.9/km2)
   Rank15th
  Median household income
$52,752[6]
  Income rank
39th
Demonym(s)North Carolinian (official);
Tarheel (colloquial)
Language
  Official languageEnglish[7]
  Spoken languageAs of 2010[8]
  • English 90.70%
  • Spanish 6.93%
  • Other 2.73%
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (EDT)
USPS abbreviation
NC
ISO 3166 codeUS-NC
Traditional abbreviationN.C.
Latitude33° 50′ N to 36° 35′ N
Longitude75° 28′ W to 84° 19′ W
Websitewww.nc.gov
North Carolina state symbols
Living insignia
BirdCardinal
ButterflyEastern tiger swallowtail
FishRed drum
FlowerFlowering dogwood
InsectWestern honey bee
MammalEastern gray squirrel
MarsupialVirginia opossum
ReptileEastern box turtle
TreePine
Inanimate insignia
BeverageMilk
ColorsRed and blue
DanceShag
FoodScuppernong grape and sweet potato
FossilMegalodon teeth
GemstoneEmerald
MineralGold
MottoEsse quam videri
("To be, rather than to seem")[1]
RockGranite
ShellScotch bonnet
SloganFirst in Flight; First in Freedom (unofficial)
Song"The Old North State"
State route marker
State quarter
Released in 2001
Lists of United States state symbols

The earliest evidence of human occupation in North Carolina dates back 10,000 years, found at the Hardaway Site. North Carolina was inhabited by Carolina Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Siouan speaking tribes of Native Americans prior to the arrival of Europeans. North Carolina was established as a royal colony in 1729 and was one of the Thirteen Colonies. North Carolina is named in honor of King Charles I of England who first formed the English colony, Carolus being Latin for "Charles". In 1755 colonial North Carolina received its first postmaster, James Davis, appointed by Benjamin Franklin.[12] The Halifax Resolves resolution adopted by North Carolina on April 12, 1776, was the first formal call for independence from Great Britain among the American Colonies during the American Revolution.[13]

On November 21, 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the United States constitution. In the run-up to the American Civil War, North Carolina declared its secession from the Union on May 20, 1861, becoming the tenth of eleven states to join the Confederate States of America. Following the Civil War, the state was restored to the Union on July 4, 1868.[14] On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully piloted the world's first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina's Outer Banks. North Carolina uses the slogan "First in Flight" on state license plates to commemorate this achievement, alongside a newer alternative design bearing the slogan "First in Freedom" in reference to the Mecklenburg Declaration and Halifax Resolves.

North Carolina is defined by a wide range of elevations and landscapes. From west to east, North Carolina's elevation descends from the Appalachian Mountains to the Piedmont and Atlantic coastal plain. North Carolina's Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet (2,037 m) is the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi River.[15] Most of the state falls in the humid subtropical climate zone; however, the western, mountainous part of the state has a subtropical highland climate.


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