North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It was one of the original 13 colonies and became the 12th state to join the Union in 1789. With a population of approximately 10.5 million people, it is the ninth most populous state in the United States.
The state is home to several famous universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.
The state has a rich history, having played a significant role in the American Revolution and the Civil War.
It is also known for its contributions to aviation, with the Wright Brothers making their first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.
North Carolina Facts
1. North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies
North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies and became a state on November 21, 1789, making it the 12th state to join the United States.
The state played an important role in the American Revolution, with many battles fought on its soil, including the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
North Carolina was also a major player in the Civil War, with more soldiers from North Carolina fighting for the Confederacy than any other state except for Virginia. Today, North Carolina is a thriving state with a diverse economy and a rich cultural heritage.
2. The state is located in the southeastern region of the United States
North Carolina is located in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the north, Tennessee to the west, South Carolina to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Also Read: Famous Landmarks in North Carolina
The state’s geographic location gives it a diverse range of landscapes, from the mountains in the west to the beaches along the coast. The state is also known for its mild winters and hot summers, with a humid subtropical climate that is influenced by its proximity to the ocean.
3. The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh
The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh, which is located in the central part of the state. Raleigh is also the second-largest city in North Carolina, with a population of approximately 474,000 people.
The city is known for its research and technology industries, with several major universities and research institutions located in the area, including North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Raleigh is also home to several cultural attractions, including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
4. The largest city in North Carolina is Charlotte
The largest city in North Carolina is Charlotte, which is located in the southwestern part of the state. Charlotte is the largest city in the state by both population and area, with a population of approximately 900,000 people.
The city is a major financial and commercial hub, with several large banks and corporations headquartered in the area, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy.
Charlotte is also known for its sports teams, including the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League and the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association.
The city has a vibrant cultural scene, with several museums, galleries, and performing arts venues, including the Mint Museum and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
5. North Carolina has a population of approximately 10.5 million people
According to the United States Census Bureau’s most recent estimate, North Carolina has a population of approximately 10.5 million people as of 2021.
The state has experienced significant population growth in recent years, with many people moving to North Carolina for its mild climate, diverse job opportunities, and lower cost of living compared to other states in the region.
The state’s largest cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, have seen particularly rapid growth in recent years, with new businesses and industries moving into the area and contributing to the state’s overall economic growth.
6. The state is known as the “Tar Heel State” because of its history in the naval stores industry
North Carolina is known as the “Tar Heel State” because of its history in the naval stores industry, which involved the production of tar and pitch from the state’s abundant pine trees.
The term “tar heel” originally referred to workers who would collect and process tar and pitch from the trees, and it later became associated with all North Carolinians.
The state’s nickname has become an important part of its cultural identity, with many people in the state proudly referring to themselves as “Tar Heels”. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has also adopted the nickname, with its sports teams known as the “Tar Heels”.
7. The state tree of North Carolina is the longleaf pine
The state tree of North Carolina is the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). This tree is a species of pine that is native to the southeastern United States, including North Carolina.
The longleaf pine can grow up to 100 feet tall and is known for its long needles, which can grow up to 18 inches in length.
The tree is an important part of North Carolina’s forestry industry, and it is also valued for its role in protecting the state’s coastline from erosion and storm damage. The longleaf pine is also the state tree of Alabama and the state tree of Georgia.
8. North Carolina has a diverse geography
North Carolina has a diverse geography that includes three distinct regions: the Appalachian Mountains in the west, the Piedmont plateau in the middle, and the coastal plain in the east.
The Appalachian Mountains cover much of the western part of the state and include some of the highest peaks in the eastern United States, including Mount Mitchell, which is the highest point in North Carolina.
The Piedmont region is a hilly area that stretches across the central part of the state and includes several major cities, including Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte.
The coastal plain is a flat, low-lying region that covers the eastern part of the state and includes the state’s coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
Each of these regions has its own unique landscape and natural features, from the mountains and waterfalls in the west to the beaches and barrier islands along the coast.
9. The highest point in North Carolina is Mount Mitchell
The highest point in North Carolina is Mount Mitchell, which is located in the Black Mountains of western North Carolina. Mount Mitchell stands at an elevation of 6,684 feet (2,037 meters) above sea level and is the highest point in the eastern United States, east of the Mississippi River.
The mountain is named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina who was the first person to accurately measure its height in the mid-19th century.
10. North Carolina’s coastline stretches for 301 miles along the Atlantic Ocean
North Carolina’s coastline stretches for approximately 301 miles (484 kilometers) along the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline includes a variety of natural features, including sandy beaches, dunes, marshes, and barrier islands.
Some of the most popular destinations along the North Carolina coast include the Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands that is known for its beaches, lighthouses, and wild horses.
The coast is also home to several important ports, including the Port of Wilmington and the Port of Morehead City, which serve as major gateways for trade and commerce in the region.
11. The state is home to several famous universities
North Carolina is home to several famous universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.
These universities are known for their academic excellence, research programs, and rich histories.
- Duke University, located in Durham, is a private research university that is consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, located in Chapel Hill, is a public research university that is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country.
- North Carolina State University, located in Raleigh, is a public research university that is known for its strong programs in engineering, agriculture, and technology.
These universities attract students from around the world and contribute significantly to the state’s economy and cultural identity.
12. North Carolina is also known for its barbecue
North Carolina is known for its barbecue, which varies by region and can be made with pork, beef, or chicken. The state is divided into two distinct barbecue styles: Eastern style and Lexington style.
- Eastern style barbecue is made with whole hog and is characterized by a vinegar-based sauce that is tangy and spicy.
- Lexington style barbecue is made with pork shoulder and is characterized by a ketchup-based sauce that is sweet and tangy.
Both styles are popular throughout the state and have their own devoted fans. Barbecue is a major part of North Carolina’s culinary heritage, and the state hosts several barbecue festivals and competitions each year.
13. The Wright Brothers made their first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
The Wright Brothers made their first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Orville and Wilbur Wright had been working on developing a flying machine for several years, and they chose Kitty Hawk as their test site because of its strong winds and soft sand dunes.
On that day in December, Orville piloted the Wright Flyer for a distance of 120 feet (37 meters) in 12 seconds, marking the first powered flight in history.
14. The state’s official bird is the cardinal
The state bird of North Carolina is the cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). The cardinal is a small, colorful bird that is native to North America and is often seen in backyards and gardens throughout the eastern United States.
The male cardinal is known for its bright red plumage, while the female has a more subdued brownish-red color.
The cardinal was designated as the state bird of North Carolina in 1943, and it is also the state bird of several other states, including Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana.
The cardinal is a popular symbol of North Carolina and is often used in logos and branding for the state and its sports teams.
15. North Carolina is home to several national parks
North Carolina is home to several national parks, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in the western part of the state and is known for its scenic views, hiking trails, and diverse wildlife.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive that stretches for 469 miles (755 kilometers) through North Carolina and Virginia, offering stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains and the surrounding landscape.
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore is located along the coast of North Carolina and includes a long stretch of sandy beaches, dunes, and wetlands that are home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and shorebirds.
These national parks attract millions of visitors each year and are an important part of North Carolina’s natural and cultural heritage.
16. The state’s official flower is the dogwood
The state flower of North Carolina is the dogwood (Cornus florida). The dogwood is a small, flowering tree that is native to the eastern United States and is known for its showy pink or white flowers that bloom in the spring.
The tree is also valued for its attractive bark and colorful foliage in the fall. The dogwood was designated as the state flower of North Carolina in 1941, and it is a popular ornamental tree throughout the state.
17. North Carolina has a humid subtropical climate
North Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The state’s climate is influenced by its location in the southeastern United States, as well as its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Summer temperatures in North Carolina can reach into the 90s Fahrenheit (32-37 Celsius) in some parts of the state, while winter temperatures typically range from the mid-30s to the mid-50s Fahrenheit (1-10 Celsius). The state also experiences a significant amount of rainfall throughout the year, particularly in the summer months.
18. NASCAR was founded in North Carolina in 1947
NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) was founded in North Carolina in 1947 by Bill France Sr. The organization was formed to create a standardized set of rules and regulations for stock car racing and to promote the sport to a wider audience.
North Carolina played a pivotal role in the early days of NASCAR, with many of the sport’s early races held in the state and several of its most famous drivers, including Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, hailing from North Carolina
19. The state has a strong military presence
North Carolina has a strong military presence, with several major military installations located throughout the state. The state is home to several major military bases, including:
- Fort Bragg
- Camp Lejeune
- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
These bases are home to thousands of active-duty service members, as well as their families and support staff. The military has a significant impact on the state’s economy, with defense-related industries contributing billions of dollars to the state’s gross domestic product each year.
North Carolina also has a proud military history, with many of its citizens having served in the armed forces throughout the country’s history. The state is home to several military museums and monuments, including the North Carolina Museum of Military History and the North Carolina Veterans Memorial.
20. North Carolina is a major producer of sweet potatoes
North Carolina is a major producer of sweet potatoes, with the state consistently ranking as one of the top producers of this crop in the United States.
Sweet potatoes are a popular and nutritious food that is high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. The crop is grown throughout the state, with the largest production occurring in the eastern part of the state.
North Carolina’s climate and soil conditions are particularly well-suited for sweet potato production, and the state’s growers have developed advanced techniques for cultivating and harvesting the crop.
21. The state’s official mammal is the eastern gray squirrel
The state mammal of North Carolina is the eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). The eastern gray squirrel is a common species of squirrel that is found throughout much of the eastern United States, including North Carolina.
The squirrel is known for its bushy tail and gray fur, as well as its acrobatic abilities and energetic behavior. The eastern gray squirrel was designated as the state mammal of North Carolina in 1969, and it is a popular animal among North Carolinians, who often feed and observe them in their yards and parks.
22. The Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, are known for their beaches
The Outer Banks are a chain of barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina and are known for their pristine beaches, wild horses, and historic lighthouses.
The islands are a popular destination for tourists, who come to swim, sunbathe, fish, and engage in a variety of water sports, including surfing, kayaking, and kiteboarding.
The Outer Banks are also home to several important landmarks, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest brick lighthouse in the country, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which marks the site of the first powered flight in history.
23. The state has a rich musical heritage
North Carolina has a rich musical heritage, with many important musicians and musical traditions originating in the state. Some of the most famous musicians from North Carolina include blues musician Blind Boy Fuller, country music singer Randy Travis, and rock musician Ben Folds.
The state is also known for its contributions to bluegrass and old-time music, with several prominent musicians and bands hailing from North Carolina, including Earl Scruggs and the Steep Canyon Rangers.
The state is home to several important music festivals, including MerleFest, a four-day music festival that celebrates bluegrass, folk, and Americana music, and the North Carolina Folk Festival, which features a wide range of traditional music and dance from around the state and the world.
24. North Carolina is the birthplace of several famous people
North Carolina is the birthplace of several famous people from a variety of fields, including entertainment, politics, and sports. Some notable examples include:
- Andy Griffith, an actor and comedian who was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina and is best known for his role on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
- Michael Jordan, a basketball player and entrepreneur who was born in Brooklyn, New York but grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina.
- Ava Gardner, an actress who was born in Smithfield, North Carolina and appeared in films such as “The Killers” and “Mogambo.”
- Billy Graham, a Christian evangelist who was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and became one of the most influential religious leaders of the 20th century.
- Richard Burr, a politician who was born in Charlottesville, Virginia but grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina from 2005 to 2022.
These are just a few examples of the many famous people who have called North Carolina their home or birthplace.
25. The state’s official insect is the honeybee
The state insect of North Carolina is the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Honeybees are an important insect species that play a critical role in pollinating crops and maintaining the balance of many natural ecosystems.
North Carolina designated the honeybee as its state insect in 1973, recognizing the important role that these insects play in the state’s ecology and economy.