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North Carolina

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General background about this state

North Carolina Flag     North Carolina Great Seal


  High Point

North Carolina is a state in the Southeastern United States. It borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

  • NICKNAME: The Tar Heel State
  • POPULATION: 9,848,060 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Raleigh
  • STATE BIRD: Cardinal
  • STATE FLOWER: Dogwood
  • AREA: 53,819 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Eastern
  • ENTERED UNION: Nov. 21, 1789
  • ALTITUDE: High, 6,684 ft. Mount Mitchell
  • CLIMATE: Hot humid summers, mild winters in east; cool summers, cold winters, heavy rainfall in mountainous west.


In the west of this state rise the highest peaks of the Appalachian range. Along the Atlantic Coast in the east lie swamplands accurately known as "dismals". And sprawling into the sea off the coast are the forbidding Outer Banks, around whose sandy shores and often tempestuous capes-Fear, Hatteras, and Lookout-rot the carcasses of uncounted wrecks. Some of the isolated Outer Banks families trace their ancestry to sailors and colonists who were shipwrecked many generations ago. They speak in old English dialects and celebrate Christmas during the Christian festival known as Epiphany.

Between the extremes of west and east are the rolling hills of the Piedmont and the coastal plains. North Carolina has more than 50,000 farms comprising 29% of the state's land (2004 est.), and ranks 7th in profits from farmland. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in Christmas tree cash receipts. It is also a principal grower of peanuts, corn, and hay.

The Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

In industrial as well as agricultural output North Carolina has been a leader in the southeastern states. The state has at its disposal ample hydroelectric power generated by the rivers of the Piedmont region as they fall from the heights of the Appalachians. It was once the leading manufacturer of textile goods in the United States, although, as most of the industry has switched production to other countries, textile industry jobs continue to decline. With extensive forests of pine, oak, poplar, hickory, fir, and maple, North Carolina was a natural to become a center of production for the furniture business. Today, many of the biggest names in furniture production display their furniture to the industry at the Highpoint marketplace in North Carolina.



  • On December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers made the first successful human-powered flight at Kill devil Hill near Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks.
  • North Carolina has the nation's largest state-maintained highway system, with more than 77,000 miles of roadway (2011 est.).
  • Edward Teach, also known as the notorious pirate Blackbeard, used Ocracoke Island, part of the Outer Banks, as a hideout. The place off Cape Fear where he was killed is known as Teach's Hole.
  • More than 1,250,000 bricks were used to build the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
  • The first Pepsi was created and served in New Bern, North Carolina in 1898.
  • The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was born in Roanoke, North Carolina, in 1587. Her parents were Eleanor and Ananias Dare, and she was named after the Virginia Colony.


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