North Carolina

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North Carolina
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Capital: Raleigh
State motto: Esse quam videri
(since 1893; Latin: to be more than seem )
Official language : English
Surface: 139,389 km²
Residents: 10,146,788 (2016 estimated) (68.40 U / km²)
Member since: November 21, 1789
Time zone: Eastern: UTC − 5 / −4
The highest point: 2,037 m ( Mount Mitchell )
Average Height: 215 m
Deepest point: 0 m Atlantic Ocean
Governor : Roy Cooper ( D )
Post  / Office /  ISO NC / / US-NC
North Carolina map
North Carolina map
North Carolina Geographic Map
North Carolina Geographic Map

North Carolina ( . English pronunciation  [ nɔɹθ ˌkæɹəlaɪ̯nə ] ; German outdated and North Carolina , North Carolina or Nordkarolinien ) is on the Atlantic coast situated state in the eastern United States . It borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north . Due to its geographical location, the state can be divided into three climatic zones , the temperate coastal region in the east, the Piedmont plateau and the cooler mountain region of the Appalachians . The flora and fauna are diverse and range from the shallow-rooted vegetation of the coast and the American alligators that live there to the coniferous forests in the west where black bears and white-tailed deer live . Please click to listen!Play

The current state goes to a company in 1663 Crown Colony back and is named after the English king I. Karl named. In 1776, North Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that seceded from the motherland in the American Declaration of Independence , making it one of the founding states of the United States. Raleigh has been the capital of the state since 1792 ; the city was named in honor of the discoverer of the North Carolina coast, Sir Walter Raleigh . During the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865, North Carolina left the United States and joined the Confederate States of America . He was returned to the United States in 1868 in the post-war reconstruction process . Then began the transformation from an agricultural state to an industrial region, which lasted until the first half of the 20th century. After the New Deal in the 1930s, North Carolina became a center of American finance and research and development in various high-tech industries.

The state is characterized by steady population growth and is one of the ten most populous states in the country. In July 2009 the population of the state was estimated at 9,380,884 people, just over a fifth of the residents are of African American descent , and eight tribes of indigenous peoples ( Indians ) live within the state's borders. North Carolina is part of the Bible Belt , and the majority of the population is Protestant . Originally, North Carolina was part of the Democratic heartland ; in the second half of the 20th century the general political orientation shifted in favor of the Republicans . It was not until the presidential election in 2008 that a democratic candidate was able to win the state back after 30 years.

North Carolina is part of the cultural greater region of the southern states , both the regional music, the typical cuisine and the traditional open-air theater are characterized by it, while different influences can be found in the architecture of the state. A number of museums and in particular areas and individual buildings that are protected by nature and monuments are of supraregional importance . The Great Smoky Mountains National Park , the most visited national park in the United States, attracts a large portion of North Carolina's visitors. Another attraction are the organized annually NASCAR -Automobilrennen and the discharged between universities competitions in college sports .


North Carolina topographic map

Position and extent

North Carolina is on the southeast coast of the United States and is bordered by the states of South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, and Virginia to the north. In the east lies the Atlantic. The northern border of the state runs at latitude from 36 ° 35'10 "in the west to 36 ° 32'27" in the east. The western border runs along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The southernmost point of the state is at 33 ° 50'57 "north latitude; its north-south extent measures 300.3 kilometers, the west-east extent between 75 ° 27'15" and 84 ° 19'01 "west longitude is 807.4 kilometers.The state covers an area of ​​139,389 square kilometers (land area 125,919 km²) and is thus slightly larger than Greece .


Geographically and geologically , North Carolina can be divided into three main parts from east to west: the coastal plain on the Atlantic , the Piedmont Plateau in the hinterland and the mountainous region of the Appalachians .

Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks off the North Carolina coast (pre-1999 view)

About two thirds of the state is occupied by the Atlantic coastal plain. The soils of the very flat plain are sandy and overgrown by dense forests, which consist mainly of pines and other evergreen trees. The floors are particularly suitable for growing tobacco , soy , melons and cotton . This region, to which the Inner Banks belong, is the most rural in North Carolina, with only a few major cities and towns. In front of the land are the Outer Banks , a chain of narrow and variable dune islands that form a barrier between the Atlantic and the inland waterways. The Outer Banks enclose the two largest lagoons in the United States, Albemarle Sound in the north and Pamlico Sound in the south, whose area exceeds that of the state of Connecticut . North Carolina's coast lacks a suitable natural harbor, which is why a major seaport such as Charleston in South Carolina or Savannah in Georgia never developed. The state's only major port, Wilmington , is about 15 miles inland on the Cape Fear River. The coastal plain is the largest and youngest geological section of the state. It consists mainly of sedimentary rock, mostly sand and clay, in the south of the coastal plain there is also limestone . The country's most economically important mineral, phosphate , which can be used for fertilizers , is mined in this region. The coastal plain is delimited by the three million year old coastline, which is 90 meters above sea level and is also known as the fall zone (dt. Waterfall area); there the Piedmont Plateau drops off relatively steeply towards the coastal region and the rivers of the state, which have their source in the Appalachian Mountains, have rapids and waterfalls here.

The Piedmont region in the center of the state is the most urbanized and most densely populated region of North Carolina. The Piedmont is a hilly landscape, which is often interrupted by smaller foothills of the mountains as well as by valleys formed by rivers and has emerged from the almost completely eroded remains of higher mountains. The geological structures are shaped by the Inner Piedmont Belt with an age of 750 to 500 million years, the Kings Mountain Belt , Milton Belt , Charlotte Belt , Carolina Slate Belt , Raleigh Belt and the Eastern Slate Belt , all between 650 and 300 years old Show millions of years. Also part of the Piedmont are the Triassic Basins , which are 200 to 190 million years old and are much younger , former ditches that were filled with mud and washed-out sediments from the adjacent higher areas. The USA's first gold discovery was documented in the Carolina Slate Belt in 1799 and gold mines were operated at the beginning of the 19th century.Today, in addition to lithium and clay, granite , gneiss and other materials for the construction industry are mined in this region . The height of the Piedmont ranges from about 90 meters in the east to 300 meters above sea level in the west. The soils consist mainly of thin stony layers on a clay basis; only on the eastern edge of the plateau are sandy hills that mark an earlier coastline with its dunes and beaches. Peaches and melons, for which the region is known, are mainly grown on the well-moistened soil. Due to the rapid urbanization of the landscape since the 1970s, agriculture has largely been displaced and is giving way to a suburban structure.

The Blue Ridge Mountains in the west of the state

The mountain range of the Appalachian Mountains forms the western border of the state. The mountains in the North Carolina area can be divided into four mountain ranges. The Blue Ridge Mountains are the largest mountain range and run in a sinuous line through the west of the state with occasional high foothills over the surrounding terrain; At 2037  m, Mount Mitchell is the highest point in the state and also the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains , also known as the Smokies , form the state's western border and are the second highest mountain range in North Carolina. The oldest rock, around one and a half billion years old, can be found in the west of the state. The belt known as the Blue Ridge Belt , which also includes the smaller sections of the Murphy Belt and Grandfather Mountain Window , consists of igneous , sedimentary and metamorphic rocks containing feldspar , mica and quartz . The Brushy Mountains are significantly smaller and lower, their highest peak is the Pores Knob . It is 817 meters above sea level. The Uwharrie Mountains are the easternmost as well as the oldest and lowest mountain range in North Carolina. The highest point of this mountain range is the High Rock Mountain with not even 350 meters above sea level. There are fertile valleys between the mountains, which are criss-crossed with numerous rivers and streams. The mountains themselves are covered with lush forests, only a few peaks are bare with prairie-like vegetation. Although agriculture still plays an important role in this region, the importance of tourism is steadily increasing and has become the most important industry in the mountain region.


The Davidson River in Transylvania County in western North Carolina

The river systems of North Carolina can be essentially divided into two groups. The main eastern watershed of North America runs along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. Only the rivers in the far west of the state drain over the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico , the rivers that arise on the eastern flank of the mountains flow into the Atlantic. The latter are still subdivided according to their estuary, which is either on the state territory of North or South Carolina. The separation between the river systems that flow into the Atlantic is caused by a ridge that stretches from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a southeastern direction almost to the port city of Wilmington along the border with Virginia.

The Catawba River and Yadkin River and their tributaries flow through approximately 30 counties in the state. They fan the country and drain much of the Piedmont before flowing over the border into South Carolina and reaching the coast there. The Chowan , Roanoke , Tar , Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers flow into North Carolina and were important trade routes before the railway routes were built. Only one of the rivers flows directly into the sea, the others continue to fan out in the coastal plain and flow into the sounds. These lagoons and the rivers that flow there create a network of waterways with a length of around 1800 kilometers, which is suitable for steam and sailing ships.

Fontana Lake forms part of the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park , with the Nantahala Mountains in the background

The banks of the rivers are lined in the upper reaches of alluvial forests with poplars, willows and alders, in the flat lower reaches of forests with bald cypress trees. In their course from the high plateaus to the lowlands, they overcome height differences of several hundred meters through rapids and waterfalls. In the colonial past, cotton mills and other businesses such as sawmills often used this gradient and thus favored the rise of many cities and towns. The sounds and the shallower rivers in the low-lying coastal plain offer rich fish stocks and colonies of water birds.

Smaller natural lakes are found everywhere in North Carolina; Due to the containment of the rivers by energy supply companies, larger reservoirs and reservoirs have emerged which, in addition to flood control and energy generation, also serve as tourist destinations, recreational areas and hunting and fishing regions. A larger lake area was created, for example, by the backwater of the Yadkin River at the foothills of the Uwharrie Mountains: the Uwharrie Lakes . The largest of these lakes is High Rock Lake . The largest man-made lake in North Carolina is Lake Norman , an area of ​​129 square kilometers , a reservoir on the Catawba River, on the banks of which Lake Norman State Park was formed.


In most of the state there is a warm , moderate rainy climate ; The higher-lying areas in the Appalachian Mountains, which are included in the zone of the fully humid boreal climate , are excluded . The mountains often serve as a "shield" to the Piedmont region, keeping out low temperatures and storms from the Midwest. The average daily temperature in most areas of the state is around 32 ° C in July. In January the average temperature is 10 ° C.

Monthly maximum and minimum temperatures in degrees Celsius for various cities in North Carolina

The coastal plain is climatically influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, which ensures mild weather in winter and moderately warm weather in summer. The maximum daily temperature on the coast is 31 ° C in summer, while temperatures rarely drop below 4 ° C in winter. The average maximum daily temperature in the winter months is around 15 ° C on the coastal plain, temperatures below freezing point are extremely rare. About two centimeters of snow fall annually on the coastal plain, and many winters are completely free of snow and ice. In the Piedmont, on the other hand, the summers are warmer and the winters colder than in the coastal region. The maximum daily temperatures in summer are on average over 32 ° C, but rarely rise above 37 ° C. In winter, daytime temperatures average around 10 ° C and often fall below freezing point at night. The annual snowfall is between 7 and 20 centimeters. Winter weather in Piedmont is known for sleet showers and freezing rain , which in some storms can be so severe that trees and power lines collapse under the load. The annual rainfall and humidity in the Piedmont are lower than on the coast or in the mountains, about 1000 liters per square meter of rainfall are measured annually. The coolest area in North Carolina is the Appalachian Mountains; there the temperature rarely rises above 26 ° C in summer. The average daytime temperatures in winter are between −1 ° C and 5 ° C, often falling below −9 ° C. Between 36 and 51 centimeters of snow falls per year, in the higher regions usually more.

Because of its exposed location on the Atlantic coast in the extreme southeast, North Carolina is hit by a hurricane on average once a decade with great force , and the state is hit by other tropical storms about every three to four years. In some years, North Carolina may experience multiple hurricanes and other tropical storms, or feel the effects of the extremities of those storms on the coastal plain. Only the states of Florida , Texas and Louisiana are hit by hurricanes more often than North Carolina. On average, thunderstorms are recorded 50 days per year, some of them so severe that they cause hail and gusts of wind of hurricane strength. Although most hurricanes cause damage in the coastal regions of the country, they can reach the interior of the country and cause great damage there. North Carolina experiences fewer than 20 tornadoes a year on average, most of which are caused by hurricanes or tropical storms in the coastal plain. Tornadoes from thunderstorms occur in the eastern parts of the state, while the western Piedmont is often protected from such storms by the mountains. Another weather phenomenon called cold air damming , the accumulation of cold air masses, occurs occasionally in the west of the state. This can lessen the storms, but it also leads to heavy freezing rain in winter.

fauna and Flora

The Venus flytrap is only found in the Wilmington area

The fauna and flora of the state offer a very diverse picture, ranging from the sparse and shallow-rooted vegetation of the coastal region and the American alligators that live there to the coniferous forests of the Appalachian Mountains, which are inhabited by bears and white-tailed deer . The typical plants and animals of the southeast are represented in the lowlands, while species that are more northerly are found in the higher elevations. A total of around 300 tree species and subspecies, as well as around 3000 different flowering plants, were counted. Quite a few of the flora and fauna found in North Carolina are considered endangered, some of them referring to the state, but also endangered species nationwide have their habitat in North Carolina, for example various whale species and the blue ridge goldenrod .

In the coastal region, the silt grass Spartina patens and the grass Distichlis spicata are mainly found in the salt marshes and marshes , while the tall grass Uniola paniculata ( sea ​​oats ) grows on coastal dunes . Virginia cedars and pines in particular grow on trees, but bald cypresses, swamp magnolias and tupelo trees also find good growth conditions in the black water swamps of the region . The Venus flytrap is only found in the Pocosin Moors around Wilmington worldwide. In addition to various salt and freshwater fish, oysters, sea turtles, and the protected American alligators also inhabit the state's rivers, lakes, and coastline. A specialty of the Outer Banks are the bank ponies that live semi-wild on the island chain.

Black bears live in the Great Smoky Mountains area to the west of the state

In the Piedmont, the trees can take root more deeply, the forests are dominated by various oak and hickory species, and earlier also by American chestnut . Different types of poplar, birch, linden, horse chestnut and maple grow there, as well as the Carolina hemlock and various types of orchids. In addition to raccoons and squirrels, common animal species also include possums , some endangered bat species and beavers. The rivers and lakes are populated by perch, catfish and other fish, and there are a variety of different water birds, especially ducks and geese.

Towards the mountains the vegetation changes into coniferous forests, where the habitats of the animals partially overlap with the piedmont. Gray wolves and mountain lions are already extinct , but bobcats can be found in the forests of North Carolina. Black bears also live in the area of ​​the Great Smoky Mountains and are now a tourist attraction. The wild boars, which were only introduced in the 19th century, are common, as are white-tailed deer. Trout and perch live in the clear rivers of the mountains.


Population density
Socio-economic regions

Population density

The population density of the state is 63.8 people per square kilometer. The major cities of North Carolina are almost entirely located in three metropolitan areas , which are home to more than half of the state's total population:

  • The cross-border agglomeration "Metrolina" in the area of ​​the cities of Charlotte , Gastonia and Salisbury (North Carolina) in the area of ​​North and South Carolinas; Population: 2,191,604
  • The "Triangle," a triangle between the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Cary; Population: 1,565,223
  • The "Piedmont Triad" between Greensboro, Winston and Salem-High Point; Population: 1,513,576

The three largest cities are Charlotte with 842,051, Raleigh with 375,806 and Greensboro with 247,183 inhabitants. For more cities and towns, see the list of cities in North Carolina .

Population development

Population development
Census Residents ± in%
1790 393.751 -
1810 753.419 -
1850 869.039 -
1860 992.622 14.2%
1870 1,071,361 7.9%
1880 1,399,750 30.7%
1890 1,617,949 15.6%
1900 1,893,810 17.1%
1910 2,206,287 16.5%
1920 2,559,123 16%
1930 3,170,276 23.9%
1940 3,571,623 12.7%
1950 4,061,929 13.7%
1960 4,556,155 12.2%
1970 5,082,059 11.5%
1980 5,881,766 15.7%
1990 6,628,637 12.7%
2000 8,040,550 21.3%
2010 9,535,483 18.6%
Before 1900

1900-1990 2000

The population of North Carolina has been growing steadily for decades and increased from 6.6 million to 8 million people between 1990 and 2000. According to the US Census Bureau , there were 9,380,884 residents on July 1, 2009, an increase of 16.7% or 1,340,334 residents since 2000. This figure is well above the average growth rate in the United States is about 8%. The growth includes a natural population increase of 412,906 people, 1,015,065 children were born and 602,159 people died. During the same period, 591,283 people from other states migrated to North Carolina, 192,099 immigrants came from abroad. Between 2005 and 2006, North Carolina overtook the state of New Jersey and is now the 10th most populous state .

The residents of North Carolina assign themselves to the following population groups: 74% white, 21.7% African-American, 7.0% Central or Latin American, 1.9% Asian, 1.2% Indian. 6.7% of the population is younger than 5 years, 24.4% are under 18 and 12% are 65 years of age or older. The estimated proportion of women in the population is 51.1%.

Population groups

African American

A little over a fifth of the state's population is of African American descent ; Since the 1970s, their share of the middle class has risen due to improved access to education. The African-American population lives mainly in the coastal plain to the east and in parts of the Piedmont Plateau, historically a region where black people worked and where most jobs are still created today. African American communities exist by the hundreds in the rural counties in the central south and northwest of the state; Districts with a predominantly black population are found in the cities of Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.

The family history of those who were recorded as “other free persons” in the state census between 1790 and 1810 shows that 80% of these were descended from the free black migrants from colonial Virginia. Most were descended from free African American families through ties between free white women or contract workers and free, contracted, or enslaved African men. Indians who adopted English customs became part of the African American communities and married into these families. Some fairer-skinned descendants formed their own separate communities from the others and often referred to themselves as "Indians" or "Portuguese" to avoid the negative consequences of black ancestry. Few Afro-Americans live in the mountain regions and rural Piedmont, and in some counties in the Appalachian Mountains the number of black residents has never exceeded a few dozen citizens in the past.

Asian Americans

The earliest evidence of Asian immigration dates back to the recruitment of Chinese- born agricultural workers in the mid-18th century. The famous Sino- Malay Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker settled in Wilkesboro in 1839 . Japanese , Filipino , and Korean Americans settled in North Carolina in the early 20th century. The state is home to one of the fastest growing Asian-American populations in the country, made up primarily of Indo-Americans ( Desi ) and Vietnamese- Americans. Their population numbers almost quadrupled between 1990 and 2002. The number of Hmong people in North Carolina has risen to 12,000 since the 1980s.

European Americans

The coastal region that was first settled attracted mainly English immigrants, including many debt servants who were transported to the colonies and descendants of immigrants from Virginia. In addition, there were Protestant immigrants from continental Europe, especially Huguenots and German-speaking Swiss , who settled in New Bern . Welsh immigrants, along with other groups from the British Isles, settled east of present-day Fayetteville in the 18th century.

Americans of Scottish- Irish and English descent live throughout North Carolina, while historically the Piedmont and the hinterland were settled by Scottish-Irish and North English immigrants. They were the last and most numerous group of English immigrants to arrive in North Carolina before the War of Independence . They settled in the south of the mountain region and were able to lead their traditional independent way of life, mostly as independent farmers.

In the region around Winston-Salem a considerable part of the population comes from German-speaking immigrants from Bohemia . These immigrated to North Carolina in the course of a wave of immigration by the Protestant Moravian Brethren in the mid-18th century. During the early 20th century, a group of Orthodox immigrants from Ukraine settled in Pender County .

Hispanics and Latinos

The number of Hispanics and Latinos in North Carolina has been growing rapidly since 1990 . Originally migrant workers, they mostly work as unskilled labor. Access to this area has been simplified and as a result, more and more Hispanics are settling in the state. Most of them come from Mexico , Central America and the Dominican Republic . There are now Hispanic neighborhoods in many cities, and there are larger numbers of Cuban Americans and Puerto Ricans . The Pew Hispanic Center estimated in 2005, based on the US Census Bureau figures , that around 65% of North Carolina's Latinos, or 300,000 people, entered the country as illegal immigrants . The population of Spanish descent has grown from 77,726 people in 1990 to 517,617, an increase of 13.5% per year.

North American indigenous peoples

Only five other states, namely California , Arizona , Oklahoma , New Mexico, and Texas , have more American indigenous peoples than North Carolina. In total there are 2,824,751 people of Native American or Alaskan origin in the USA , which is 0.95% of the total population. An estimated 111,853 Indians lived in North Carolina in 2007. The state recognizes eight tribes within its borders, of which only one is recognized as a federally recognized tribe at the federal level .

Flag of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, one of the tribes recognized by North Carolina

federally recognized Indian tribe

  • the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was recognized by the United States in 1868 and North Carolina in 1889. They live with about 13,400 registered tribal members mostly in the eastern part of Counties Swain , Graham and Jackson . Most live in the reserve Qualla Boundary comprising a 230 km² area, the capital and administrative seat of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Cherokee .

state recognized Indian tribes

  • The Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe received state recognition in 1965 and comprises slightly more than 3,800 registered members, are descendants of the Sioux-speaking Saponi, Occaneechee, Tutelo , Keyauwee , Enoke (Eno), Shakori , the Stuckanox and the Algonquin-speaking Nansemond and Iroquois-speaking Tuscarora, the administrative seat is Hollister , now live in the northeast of the counties Halifax and Warren .
  • The approximately 2,000 tribal members of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe live in Countys Bladen and Columbus on the Atlantic coast. They were recognized by North Carolina in 1971. They are not to be confused with the state-recognized Waccamaw Indian People (of Conway) (also Chicora Waccamaw) in South Carolina.
  • The Coharie Indian Tribe , represented by the Coharie Intra-tribal Council , the administrative seat is Clinton , owns land in the counties Sampson and Harnett , are descendants of the Neusiok , were already recognized by the USA in 1911, but this recognition was not initially recognized by North Carolina accepted. Another recognition procedure in 1971 was successful.
  • the Sappony Tribe was recognized as a tribe by North Carolina in 1911, has approximately 850 registered members, its administrative seat is in High Plains Indian Settlement, was formerly known as Indians of Person County, North Carolina , changed its name to Sappony Tribe in 2003 to reflect theirs Reference origin and culture.
  • the Occaneechee Band of the Saponi Nation (until 1995 called the Eno-Occaneechi Indian Association ), descendants of the Occaneechee, Enoke (Eno) and Saponi, lives with 800 members in the counties Orange and Alamance , was founded on February 4, 2002 as the eighth tribe of North Carolina State Recognized.
  • The Meherrin Indian Tribe , related to the former neighboring Iroquois-speaking Tuscarora and the northern Iroquois , lives mainly in the rural areas of the Counties Hertford , Bertie and Gates in northeast North Carolina near the river of the same name on the Virginia border 1986 recognized by the state of North Carolina as a tribe and has around 900 members, the administrative seat is in Winton , today the smallest tribe in North Carolina.
  • The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina live mainly in the counties Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland and Scotland in the southeast of the state, the cultural and administrative center is the city of Pembroke . They represent a special case. With the so-called Lumbee Act of 1956, the USA recognized them as a tribe at the federal level, but denied them all rights and support to which tribes officially recognized by the federal government are entitled. Recognized as an Indian people by the state of North Carolina under the name Croatan Indians as early as 1885, the government changed the tribal name to Indians of Robeson County in 1911 and to Cherokee Indians of Robeson County in 1913 . In 1953 the name was renamed Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina , descendants of mostly Cheraw and related Sioux-speaking tribes as well as Afro-Americans (mostly escaped slaves) and whites, researchers therefore today consider them to be the tri-racial isolate , i.e. as isolated Population group that is descended from three ethnic groups (Indians, Afro-Americans and whites). With about 55,000 members, the Lumbee are the eighth largest Indian tribe in the United States, the largest east of the Mississippi and North Carolina.


Baptist Church at Four Oaks

North Carolina is part of the Bible Belt (Engl. For Bible Belt ), where the population traditionally an overwhelming majority Protestant was, and in the late 19th century, the Southern Baptists dominated. With the influx of citizens from the northern states and immigrants from Latin America , the proportion of Catholics and Jews is increasing continuously; in 2007 the proportion of Catholics was 7% and that of Jews 1%. The change is particularly visible in the urban areas of the state, where most of the immigrants have settled and the population comes from a wide variety of cultures. In rural areas, the Baptist church remains the predominant Christian denomination with 38% , followed by the second largest Protestant church, the Methodists with 9%. These are strong in northern Piedmont, particularly in Guilford County . There is also a significant proportion of Quakers there and in the northeast of the state . The members of the Presbyterian Church , originally Scottish and Irish descent, make up 3% of the faithful. They are particularly strong in Charlotte and Scotland Counties. Other denominations in the state include the Lutherans , Congregationalists , Mormons, and the Church of God . The proportion of non-religious residents of the state, or of atheists and agnostics , is 10%.

The most important religious communities in 2010: 1,513,059 Southern Baptist Convention , 659,064 United Methodist Church , 565,051 Protestantism without denomination, 428,860 Catholic Church ( Diocese of Charlotte / Diocese of Raleigh ), over 300,000 Pentecostal movement , 185,669 Presbyterian Church (USA) . There are many other denominations, mainly Protestant ones.


Indigenous peoples and English settlement

The Town Cree Indian Mound in Montgomery County . It was created between 1100 and 1400.

The Indian settlement of North Carolina extends into the Paleo-Indian era in the 10th millennium BC. BC back. Hunters and gatherers probably lived in the Piedmont first. From the archaic period from about 7500 to 1000 BC. There are projectile points typical of the region, which are called Hardaway after a location in the Uwharrie Mountains . It is the most important site on the east coast because it was inhabited for several millennia and was undisturbed until it was excavated. The post-glacial tundra landscape gave way to dense forests, the way of life changed insofar as the inhabitants no longer followed the caribou herds, but increasingly preferred large tail areas. Nuts and other vegetables, as well as fish, made up an increasing proportion of the diet, and the population grew. Stone vessels and wooden tools were objects of trade, huge amounts of rhyolite were quarried from Morrow Mountain and traded within a radius of 75,000 km²; eventually a kind of horticulture emerged in which the pumpkin played a central role. There were also acorns and hickory nuts. Between 6000 and 3000 BC A very warm climate prevailed, which enabled a strong population growth, the territories of the individual tribes shrank dramatically, more and more villages emerged on the rivers where before 3000 BC. Horticulture was increasingly practiced. Hunting was only practiced seasonally, long-distance trade brought mussels from the Gulf of Mexico and copper from the Great Lakes to the area, and an extensive network of trails was created.

This culture changed around 1000 BC. Through the Woodland and Mississippi cultures , with a great continuity until around 1000 AD. The beginning use of ceramics, the so-called Swannanoa ware , was particularly important , although it is unclear whether groups immigrated or whether local groups have adopted this technique. In any case, the historical tribes that the first Europeans encountered can be traced back to the groups now resident. From about 300 BC The Pigeon is dated to AD 200 , this phase was followed by the Connestee until around 600 AD .

Strong influences came from the Mississippi. These vast areas were named as the Hopewell Interaction Sphere after the Hopewell culture . North Carolina was thus culturally divided in two. While the culture known as Late Woodland prevailed in the coastal area and in the northern Piedmont from around 1000 onwards , which was linked to that of the predecessor and evidently had an egalitarian political and social structure, the mountain zones and the southern Piedmont were characterized by a pronounced stratification of society. A hereditary management class used the long-distance trade networks to procure luxury goods such as mussels or rare stones. Mica was added as a new commodity . The mounds Nununyi and Town Creek go back to these influences and show a changed relationship to death. The Town Creek Indian Mound , flattened at the top, is the most-visited archaeological site in North Carolina. It hides a mound and sacred and stately buildings. It is the remnant of a culture that flourished around 950 to 1400 and is called Pee Dee (not after the tribe of the same name , but after the river there ). It finally disappeared before 1600. Intensive maize cultivation began as early as 900, after 1200 the small settlements turned into large villages of perhaps 150 inhabitants in 15 to 20 houses, which were built around a central square and whose number and size increased significantly from around 1400.

On the other hand, a cultural division between north and south can be seen along the Neuse River on the coast. South of the river ruled as early as 2000 BC. Clay vessels that were probably taken over from Georgia and reinforced with plant fibers (Stallings ware), but to the north of it real pottery. Most of the mounds are found south of the Neuse River. The residents of North Carolina are likely to have become largely settled and they maintained an increasingly rural lifestyle ( Eastern Agricultural Complex ), but without any radical change. After all, they integrated the cultivation of beans, corn and pumpkins while the dominance of nuts declined. The third cultural region is the mountain region, which was later inhabited by the Cherokee ( Pisgah , around 1000 to 1450, then Qualla ). There, too, the larger villages built mounds. In the north, around 800 Iroquois groups immigrated (Cashie, until 1750).

When the first European, Giovanni da Verrazzano , entered the region in 1524 in search of a passage into the Pacific, tribes of the Cherokee , Tuscarora , Muskogee , Cheraw , Tutelo , Catawba and some smaller tribes related to the Iroquois and Algonquin settled . the country.

In 1584, Queen Elizabeth I gave Walter Raleigh a charter to establish an English colony . The first attempt at settlement failed, however. The second attempt began in the spring of 1587. A group of 110 people settled the island of Roanoke . Virginia Dare was born there on August 18, 1587 , the first child to be born in the New World to English-speaking settlers. When the leader of the settlers returned to the island after a trip after 1590, he found only the remains of the settlement there. It could never be clarified what had happened in the settlement. This second unsuccessful attempt at settlement has gone down in history as the "Lost Colony" . The disappearance of its inhabitants without a trace gives rise to speculation to this day.

Development of the Carolina colony between 1663 and 1776
First page of the royal charter from 1663

Separation in North and South Carolina

After the restoration of the House of Stuart in 1663, King Charles II gave eight loyal followers a deed to found a new colony that they should manage as owners. It was named Carolina in honor of his father Karl I (Latin Carolus ). In the area around Albemarle Sound in what is now North Carolina, settlers advancing from Virginia had already settled in 1650, but further settlement progressed only slowly. By 1700, white settlers had settled the coast south to the Pamlico River , and in 1722 to Bogue Sound near present-day Jacksonville. However , these settlers remained isolated for a long time from the colony's other settlement focus around the port city of Charleston , so that two fundamentally different systems of government and administration developed in the north and south of Carolina from the beginning of the settlement, which were also headed by two governors from 1664 to 1691 . A legislature for Albemarle also met for the first time in 1664. It was not until 1701 that the owners ( Lord Proprietors ) of the colony recognized their de facto long-established separation in North and South Carolina; It was not until 1712, however, that the person responsible for the northern settlements carried the title of "Governor of North Carolina". In 1729 the two Carolinas were converted into crown colonies, cementing the separation.

Socially and politically, North Carolina was more similar to its northern neighbor Virginia than South Carolina during colonial times. While a politically and economically leading class of rice planters emerged in South Carolina in the 18th century, relying primarily on slavery, the majority of the population in the north lived on small farms which, apart from tobacco, mainly grew grain and raised livestock. While blacks made up around 38% of the population in the south in 1710, it was only 6% in North Carolina. In contrast to the south, a unified local administrative structure developed in the north with the establishment of counties and some cities. In 1705 Bath was incorporated as the first city in what is now North Carolina.

North Carolina during the American Revolution

In the late 1760s, tensions arose between the lower-class farmers of the Piedmont and the affluent planters of the coastal region. The apparent waste of public money by Governor William Tryon building a new seat of government, Tryon Palace in New Bern , broke the barrel and the farmers rose in the regulators' revolt . Tryon won the Battle of Alamance on May 17, 1771 , ending the seven-year conflict. Some historians see this uprising as one of the contributing factors for the outbreak - or one of the first military acts - of the American War of Independence .

In Charlotte, Mecklenburg County residents allegedly made the first declaration of independence during the American Revolution on May 20, 1775, but there is no evidence of such a declaration. The date of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is still carried in the seal and flag of today's state of North Carolina. On April 12, 1776, the Provincial Congress , the Congress of the Province of North Carolina, decided to declare independence from the British Crown. This made North Carolina the first colony to authorize its delegates to the second continental congress to renounce England through the so-called Halifax Resolves . This event is also remembered by the date on the seal and the flag of North Carolina.

North Carolina was largely spared acts of war in the early years of the War of Independence, but became a major theater of war in 1780 and 1781. The Americans achieved a major victory on October 7, 1780 at the Battle of Kings Mountain . After defeating the British on January 17, 1781 at the Battle of Cowpens , Nathanael Greene lured British troops into the heartland. He cut them off from the English supply stores in Charleston. This maneuver was known as "The Race to the Dan" (English for "The Race to the Dan").

The troops of Generals Greene and Cornwallis met on March 15, 1781 at the Battle of Guilford Court House . Although the British forces won, the losses they suffered weakened them. This ultimately led to the final defeat in 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown . The victory of the American-French army ensured America's independence from the British crown. The warring parties signed the Peace of Paris in September 1783 and America was recognized by England as a sovereign state.

Between the Wars (1783–1861)

The 1787 draft of the United States Constitution was received differently in North Carolina. It was not until a year later that the Fayetteville delegates reached an agreement, and North Carolina became the twelfth and penultimate of the previous 13 colonies to ratify the constitution. In 1790 North Carolina placed the western lands under government; these areas were designated as the Tennessee Territory between 1790 and 1796 . In 1796 it was finally formed into Tennessee, the 16th state in the union.

State Capitol in Raleigh, NC

The prosperity and economic growth of the strongly rural state were based on slave labor, in the early years mainly in the area of ​​tobacco cultivation. After the revolution, Quakers and Mennonites tried to persuade the slave owners to free their slaves. However, the number of free blacks in North Carolina rose steadily during the first decades after the Revolutionary War. Although slavery was less common than in the Deep South , over 330,000 people, 33% of the population, were African American slavers according to the 1860 census.

In 1840 the government building in Raleigh, which still exists today, was completed. In contrast to many other states in the south, North Carolina did not develop a dominant “ cotton aristocracy ”, but rather the state and its government were controlled predominantly by independent farmers from the middle class. In the middle of the 19th century, the rural regions of North Carolina were connected by the 208 kilometer long “Farmer's Railroad”. It ran from Fayetteville in the east to Bethania , northwest of Winston-Salem and consisted of wooden rails.

American Civil War and Reintegration

Damaged Confederate cannon at Fort Fisher

In 1860 North Carolina had a long history of slavery. Even so, it initially did not vote in favor of joining the Confederation; it was not until President Abraham Lincoln's call to invade the sister state South Carolina that North Carolina joined the Confederate . Even after the secession , some North Carolinians refused to support the Confederates, mostly farmers who were not slave owners. Even so, men from all over North Carolina were involved in the major battles of the Civil War as part of the Army of Northern Virginia , one of the most important major units in the Confederate Army .

The largest battle in the North Carolina area was the Battle of Bentonville in the spring of 1865. It was an unsuccessful attempt by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to stop the advance of Union forces under Major General William T. Sherman through the Carolinas. This surrendered the last larger Confederate task force, which ended the military conflict. Wilmington, the last port of the Confederation, also fell in the early summer of 1865.

North Carolina was re-admitted to the confederation on July 4, 1868 after the passage of a new constitution that distinguished itself by promoting education, prohibiting slavery , universal suffrage, and the creation of social services. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution , which regulated equal treatment for citizens after the Civil War, was also ratified. During this difficult period of Reconstruction , Andrew Johnson , a native of North Carolina, was President of the United States from 1865 to 1869.

Development of North Carolina after the Civil War

In the late 19th century the cotton and textile industries developed in the Piedmont; the development of these industries helped the state to develop an alternative to agriculture, which had previously predominated. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers launched mankind's first successful manned powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In response to racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and agricultural difficulties, tens of thousands of African Americans left North Carolina in the first wave of African American population migration between 1910 and 1930. In the hope of better living conditions and work, they mainly moved to the big cities in the north of the country.

In the early 20th century, North Carolina embarked on a large-scale educational initiative and road construction to stimulate the state's economy. The state road construction project began in the 1920s after the automobile became a popular means of transportation. During the first decades of the 20th century, several important facilities of the American armed forces , such as Fort Bragg , were located in North Carolina.

North Carolina after the New Deal

The Levine Science Research Center at Duke University

After the New Deal , a program to revitalize the domestic economy by Franklin D. Roosevelt , North Carolina developed particularly strongly in the area of ​​education and manufacturing. During the Second World War , North Carolina supplied the country's armed forces with a number of locally produced goods. North Carolina also focused on research and university development.

In 1931 the Negro Voters League was formed in Raleigh , which campaigned for the electoral registration of African American citizens. Work on desegregation and restoration of civil rights for the African American population continued across the state. African American students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University began the Greensboro sit-ins , a form of resistance that spread across the south. Following the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the African-American population of the state began to participate fully in political life. In 1973, Clarence Lightner made American history with his successful candidacy for mayor of Raleigh: He was the first African American to be elected mayor in the southern United States and the first black mayor in a community with a predominantly white population.

In 1971 the third constitution of the state of North Carolina was ratified; a 1997 amendment gives the governor the right to veto most legislative decisions. While the Democrat Jim Hunt was re-elected governor for the fourth time in 1996, setting a record in North Carolina, which has traditionally been a Republican, Elaine Marshall was the first woman to be elected to the office of Secretary of State and thus to an office of state importance.


Political structure

Presidential election results
year Democrats republican
2016 46.2% 2,189,316 49.8% 2,362,631
2012 48.4% 2,178,391 50.4% 2,270,395
2008 49.7% 2,142,651 49.4% 2,128,474
2004 43.6% 1,525,849 56.0% 1,961,166
2000 43.2% 1,257,692 56.0% 1,631,163
1996 44.0% 1,107,849 48.7% 1,225,938
1992 42.7% 1,114,042 43.4% 1,134,661
1988 41.7% 890,167 58.0% 1,237,258
1984 37.9% 824,287 61.9% 1,346,481
1980 47.2% 875,635 49.3% 915,018
1976 55.3% 927,365 44.2% 741,960
1972 28.9% 438,705 69.5% 1,054,889
1968 29.2% 464,113 39.5% 627,192
1964 56.2% 800,139 43.9% 624,844
1960 52.1% 713,364 47.9% 655,220

As in the other US states, the constitution of North Carolina provides for the separation of powers between the legislature , executive and judiciary .

The legislature consists of a bicameral assembly , the North Carolina General Assembly . This consists of a House of Representatives with 120 members elected by the people for two years and a Senate with 50 members. The senators are elected for a two-year term. In North Carolina, the lieutenant governor of the state is ex officio also the president of the Senate. As Vice President of the Senate acts the analog official title in the Union the President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate . Since 1992 this office has been held by Marc Basnight , a member of the Democratic Party. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, is Joe Hackney , also a Democrat.

At the head of the executive is the governor , who is elected for a four-year term. Acting governor of the state has been the Democrat Roy Cooper since 2017 . The government, known as the Council of State , is formed by the governor, the lieutenant governor and eight elected ministers. Ten other ministers are appointed by the governor and form the North Carolina cabinet , analogous to the United States cabinet. The state's former governors are listed on the North Carolina Governors List.

At the top of the jurisprudence is the North Carolina Supreme Court, based in the capital Raleigh. The seven-judge Supreme Court is the state's highest appellate court . The North Carolina Court of Appeals is the only appellate court below the Supreme Court . It consists of 15 judges who speak law in a rotating system. Five groups of three judges each decide. These two courts, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals , collectively form the state's appeals system. Trials are held in the Superior Court and the Lower District Court , and all criminal cases for felony , civil lawsuits in dispute over $ 10,000, and appeals to violations of law and administrative offenses from the District Courts are tried in the Superior Court , with criminal trials heard by a twelve-person jury . Civil law processes, such as divorce, custody and maintenance obligations, are decided by the District Court , whereby less serious cases from criminal law are also heard here. Criminal proceedings before the District Court are always heard without a jury, and all juvenile court hearings take place in these courts as long as the children and young people are under 16 years of age as offenders and under 18 years of age as victims of neglect or child abuse , for example . Justices of the peace accept confessions of guilt in minor cases and traffic violations, they accept waivers and are allowed to conduct civil negotiations up to a sum of $ 4,000 and order evictions. They also conduct civil marriages.

Representation in Congress

North Carolina is currently represented by 13 MPs in the United States House of Representatives in Washington and two Senators in the United States Senate . The 116th Congress of the United States , in office since 2019 , has twelve Republicans and three Democrats, including two Senators Richard Burr ( Senior Senator , Republican) and Thom Tillis ( Junior Senator , Republican). The state's former senators appear on the list of North Carolina Senators .

Political development

John Edwards, North Carolina Senator (1998-2004)

North Carolina, like the whole of the south originally , was a stronghold of the Democratic Party for a long time . It was only after the 1968 election that majorities shifted in favor of the Republicans . Today in North Carolina the change from the plantation economy to the service and future-oriented industry has largely taken place, but the conservative attitude has persisted, especially in rural areas and among the white majority of the population. This is particularly evident in the recently passed law on the use of toilets for transsexuals, which is criticized as a “discrimination law”. For the first time since Jimmy Carter's victory in 1976 was Barack Obama 2008 North Carolina in a presidential election win for the Democrats again. In 2004 the Republicans had won, despite the fact that the Democratic Vice-presidential candidate John Edwards had represented this state in the Senate. In the Electoral College , North Carolina was able to expand its position due to the population increase: In 1988 it was 13 votes, in 1992 14 and 2004 , 2008, 2012 and 2016 15 votes.

Regional administrative districts

North Carolina has been divided into 100 counties since 1911 . On average, the counties are 1,393.91 square kilometers, the smallest of the counties is Clay County with around 350 square kilometers , the largest is Dare County with around 2,500 square kilometers. 4149 people live in Tyrrell County , the least populous administrative district, and 695,454 people live in Mecklenburg's most populous county . Mecklenburg County also has the highest population density in the state with 510.22 inhabitants per square kilometer, while Hyde County is the least populated with 3.67 inhabitants per square kilometer. All counties in the state appear on the list of counties in North Carolina .

State symbols

In addition to the flag and seal of North Carolina , the state has a number of other official state symbols that serve as the landmarks of the state. These include the swamp pine , the state tree of North Carolina, the state flower is the blossom dogwood , the red cardinal as a state bird and the common gray squirrel is the state animal. The traditionally consumed sweet potatoes and scuppernongs are state foods , and the colors red and blue symbolize North Carolina as the state colors .

North Carolina is nicknamed The Old North State and Tar Heel State - Old North State or State of Tar Heels, the residents are referred to as "Tar Heels". The exact origin of the term is unclear, but most experts suspect that the origins lie in the extraction of tar , pitch and turpentine from the extensive pine forests of the former British colony.


Museums and exhibitions

North Carolina Museum of Art

Of central importance is the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, which has existed since 1947 and is the only museum in the state to be built with public money and which has the largest art collection in North Carolina. Unlike most of the state's other art museums, this one also deals with non-American art and art history. Many places have an Arts Council , an art association organized by the citizens, which deals with the promotion of regional artists and the organization of their exhibitions.

Most of North Carolina's museums, however, deal predominantly with the history, nature and the artists of the state itself and are often privately owned and connected directly to the corresponding historical or military sites, nature parks or universities. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences gives a complete overview of the natural history of the state , the museum is the largest natural history museum in the southeast of the country and is of national importance. The group of science museums also includes the North Carolina Arboretum in the Pisgah National Forest , maintained by the University of North Carolina , an extensive public garden that depicts, among other things, the effects of environmental pollution and the state's dying plant species.

The other museum landscape includes mainly smaller museums such as the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, which deals with the shipwrecks in the Outer Banks, or the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, in which the history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for the Visitor is processed. In many cases, historic buildings such as the Graves-Florance-Gatewood House from 1822, the Buckner Hill Plantation from 1855 or the Old Mill of Guilford from 1767 are restored and made accessible to the public or used for exhibitions on regionally important events.

Theater and music

Waterside Theater, open air theater in the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

North Carolina has a number of professional theater, including the existing since 1952 State Theater in Flat Rock , the Flat Rock Playhouse, where both musicals , as well as theatrical performances. The North Carolina Theater in Raleigh mainly shows musicals and Broadway shows while the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival in Highpoint has been dealing with the works of William Shakespeare since 1977 . A special focus in the state's theatrical landscape is the open-air theater , in which historical events are presented. Since 1937 the play "The Lost Colony" has been performed in the Waterside Theater in the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site , which is considered the first and oldest outdoor drama in the United States. Since 1948 the story of the Cherokee has been shown in the play "Unto These Hills" in the Mountainside Theater , in Boone the play "Horn in the West" tells the story of the settlement of the Blue Ridge Mountains since 1952. North Carolina University at Chapel Hill has an Institute of Outdoor Drama , the only one of its kind in the United States, dedicated to performing in outdoor theaters.

North Carolina is known for its old-time music tradition ; influential early country music artists were the North Carolina Ramblers in the 1920s. As in the neighboring states of Tennessee and Kentucky, bluegrass is widespread; major artists of this music genre from North Carolina were Earl Scruggs , Doc Watson and Del McCoury . North and South Carolina are considered the starting point of the traditional rural blues , in Piedmont their own style emerged, the Piedmont Blues , which was influenced by Blind Boy Fuller , among others . Various rock , metal and punk bands come from the region around Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham , including the Flat Duo Jets, Corrosion of Conformity , Superchunk, Safehouse, Sleeping Giant, The Popes , Queen Sarah Saturday, Purple Schoolbus and Barefoot Servant.

Buildings and architecture

The Orton Plantation, built in 1735 in Smithville Township, Brunswick County

In North Carolina, over 2,600 buildings, neighborhoods, and places of historical interest are listed and listed on the National Register of Historic Places . In the state, due to its location between north and south and the number of different immigrants, no independent architectural style has developed, but rather reflects a variety of the architectural styles common on the east coast. Existing buildings from the neoclassical antebellum period in the Federal and Georgian styles include the James Iredell House (1759) and the John Wright Stanly House (1779). The architecture of the Revolutionary era , which was also widespread in other southern states, is particularly evident in the plantation buildings such as the Orton Plantation from 1735, which was built in the Greek Revival style. A number of listed buildings, especially churches, date from the Neo-Gothic ; two exceptionally well-preserved properties, one Blandwood Mansion and Gardens in the Italianate style and the Biltmore Estate in the Châteauesque style show the influences of the Neo-Renaissance in the south. At the end of the 19th century, the Second Empire and Queen Anne styles spread, and in the 20th century, the American Craftsman Style . Some skyscrapers and the elliptical Dorson Arena are from modern times . In addition to individual buildings, some architecturally significant city districts are under protection, including the Old Salem National Historic Site , which is located within the restored district of the former Moravian settlement in Winston-Salem. The Apex Historic District , which includes the old town of Apex , provides an overview of the various architectural styles and the inner-city development from 1870 to 1940 .

Parks, monuments and landmarks

Panorama on Grandfather Mountain , a privately owned nature park in the Appalachian Mountains, now owned by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

North Carolina has a number of protected areas used for tourism, which are devoted to both the protection of nature and the preservation of historical sites and make these accessible to visitors. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park , which is partly in Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains and managed by the National Park Service (NPS), is the most visited national park in the United States; Every year over 9 million people visit the area, which was placed under protection in 1934 and has been a World Heritage Site since 1983 . In addition to one of the largest contiguous jungle areas in the east of the United States, over 90 historical sites and buildings within the park represent significant evidence of the settlement of the mountain region. The Blue Ridge Parkway , a 755-kilometer national route, also maintained by NPS, leads into the park Scenic Byway and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail , an approximately 3,440 kilometer long distance hiking trail that forms part of the National Trails System . Also in the mountains is the private initiative Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail , which runs along the Overmountain Men route from the west side of the Appalachian Mountains to Kings Mountain National Military Park . The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail , administered by the NPS, begins in North Carolina and runs through nine states and commemorates the displacement of the Indians during the 19th century.

On the east coast, two stretches of coastline are designated as National Seashore , the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Cape Lookout National Seashore . Both have historic buildings, lighthouses, and rare animal species. Significant historical sites in North Carolina include the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site , which commemorates the poet and historian; the Wright Brothers National Memorial, dedicated to the Wright Brothers' first flight . Battlefields and attractions include the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site , Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, and the Moores Creek National Battlefield . In addition to the protected areas of supraregional importance that are administered by the NPS, the State Park Service North Carolina maintains a number of other nature and heritage areas that are listed in the list of state parks in North Carolina .

Media landscape

North Carolina operates a number of smaller television, regional studios, and specialty channels that offer entertainment, sports, and regional programming. Most television stations are owned or partnered with one of the major national broadcasters such as CBS Corporation or the American Broadcasting Company . The broadcasting stations are mostly operated in the metropolitan regions. Several radio stations cover a wide range of entertainment and regional programs, including very small stations operated by universities or small towns, for example. Newspapers appear in almost every major city, but in many small towns the local news appears only two to three days a week. The oldest newspaper in the state is the Fayetteville Observer , which has been published continuously since 1816. The News and Observer , which is published in Raleigh, is the highest-circulation paper in North Carolina and was one of the 100 largest newspapers in the United States in 2008. Many cities also maintain a weblog to provide residents with local news.

to eat and drink

Street view during the 2008 Lexington Barbecue Festival

The southern cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the state, one of the most important social events is the barbecue . In North Carolina, pork is almost exclusively used for preparation, usually in pieces in the east and whole in the west. The question of the sauces to go with divides the country into devotees of the Eastern Style , based on vinegar or mustard, and the Lexington Style , a vinegar and pepper sauce that is added to ketchup. Typical side dishes are potatoes or sweet potatoes and hush puppies . A regional dish of the Piedmont is the livermush , which consists of pork liver, parts of the pork head and corn meal. Moravian cookies (English for Moravier biscuits) or peach cakes are served as dessert. The Scuppernong grape is common in North Carolina and is used to make juice, wine and jam. In addition to the traditionally preferred Pepsi , which was developed in North Carolina in 1898, the drinks also include Moonshine , the self - distilled and mostly black- distilled whiskey from the mountain region of the state.


Public elementary and secondary education facilities , from elementary to high school , are overseen by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and its chairman, the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction . The superintendent is also the secretary of the North Carolina State Board of Education , in which public education policy is decided. The state's public school system is divided into 115 local units, each overseen by a local school board , the School Board . There are a total of 2,338 public schools in North Carolina.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, UNC-Chapel Hill

In 1795, North Carolina opened the first state university in the United States, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , which is now one of the best state universities in the country, the group of the Public Ivies . More than 200 years after the founding of the first university, the tertiary education sector with the University of North Carolina comprises 16 state universities, including the five largest in the state: North Carolina State University , the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University , the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the Appalachian State University. The state university system also includes some of the historic Afro-American educational institutions known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities that arose during segregation. Examples include North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University , North Carolina Central University, and Fayetteville State University . North Carolina also has 58 state colleges that are grouped together in the North Carolina Community College System .

The best-known private universities are Wake Forest University and Duke University , founded in 1924 , which is one of the leading universities in the country. The Duke does not belong to the Ivy League , but as the southernmost of the American elite universities on the east coast, it is also known as " Harvard of the South " (English for Harvard of the South). Like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the university is a member of the Association of American Universities , an association of leading research-oriented North American universities that has existed since 1900. Other universities are included in the list of universities in North Carolina .


Relationship to college and professional sports

The residents of North Carolina, who are interested in sports, traditionally have a preference for university sports and stock car races , which is explained by the lack of involvement in professional sports in the past. Because even though North Carolina has around ten million inhabitants and the metropolitan regions have the appropriate funds, professional sport was not an issue in North Carolina for a long time. The first club in a professional league came to North Carolina in 1974: As a member of the short-lived World Football League , the former New York Stars moved there and called themselves Charlotte Stars . In the following season, which was also the last, they started as Charlotte Hornets . A noticeable development in professional sports began in the late 1980s and since the mid-1990s, when an NBA team first found their home in 1988 , an NFL in 1995 , and finally an NHL team in 1997 . Despite intensive efforts, no major league baseball team has been lured to North Carolina to date ; the attempt to relocate the Florida Marlins in 2006 failed. In contrast, the highly competitive championships between North Carolina universities are followed very closely and passionately throughout the state.

North Carolina has had the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame since February 1963 , sponsored by the Charlotte City Chamber of Commerce. The Sports Hall of Fame is based in Raleigh. The first five athletes were enrolled in December 1963.

Professional sport

Carolina Panthers in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Home game of the Bobcats at Bobcat Arena, Charlotte

The Charlotte Hornets are the only North Carolina basketball team to have played in the National Basketball Association since 2005 , until 2014 under the name Charlotte Bobcats. They filled the void of the old Charlotte Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans) who played there from 1988 to 2002 but migrated to New Orleans . The National Football League is represented by the Carolina Panthers , who also play their home games in Charlotte . The most successful major league clubs in North Carolina are the Raleigh- based Carolina Hurricanes , an ice hockey team that belongs to the National Hockey League and won the Stanley Cup on June 19, 2006 . This makes them the first North Carolina franchise that has ever won the most important championship in its sport.

Some professional soccer teams also exist in North Carolina . The Carolina RailHawks from Cary play in the second highest American professional league, the North American Soccer League . With the Charlotte Eagles and the Wilmington Hammerheads , two other teams play in the third-rate USL Professional Division . The Carolina Dynamos from Greensboro play in the amateur league, the USL Premier Development League .

From the 1930s to the 1990s, the Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling , an association for professional wrestlers , was based in Charlotte. Mid Atlantic is a long-time member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and its stars have performed at the NWA, and later at the World Championship Wrestling or World Wrestling Federation . Today, many former and active wrestlers live in the Charlotte and Lake Norman area , including Ric Flair , Ricky Steamboat , Matt and Jeff Hardy .

Professional bull riding has a long tradition in North Carolina. The 1995 PRCA World Champion Bull Rider, Jerome Davis, is from North Carolina and many managers, organizers and bull owners are also from the state, for example Thomas Teague of Teague Bucking Bulls . The headquarters of the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association is based in Archdale .

Two Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) motocross races are held in North Carolina, one in Morganton and the other in Yadkinville .

University sports

Carter Finley Stadium, home of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack football team

The college sport very popular in North Carolina is organized into the National Collegiate Athletic Association . The sports teams at the universities compete against each other in around 20 different sports, the most important of which is college football . Each university has a sports team whose name is the same for all sports; for example, the Appalachian State University sports team is called Mountaineers for all branches . The teams from Duke , Wake Forest , North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University are part of the Atlantic Coast Conference , and Appalachian State is part of the Southern Conference . The universities usually maintain professionally equipped sports facilities for their teams, which can accommodate up to 40,000 spectators and whose games are broadcast on television. Special attention will be given the so-called Rivalrys (Engl. For rivalry), which will be held between the universities. These include the doggedly led games by the University of Virginia and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football teams, known as the South's Oldest Rivalry . Other such games take place between the Universities of North Carolina and North Carolina State in the sports of baseball, football and basketball, and between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University in basketball. The universities themselves, the surrounding cities and regions often identify very strongly with the college teams. Schoolchildren and students are awarded a scholarship for appropriate athletic performance. Since the universities have to pay fees, this is an opportunity for socially disadvantaged students in particular to obtain a higher education degree from a renowned university.

Racing (NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup 2008, Talladega

North Carolina is a hub of American motorsport, with more than 80% of all NASCAR racing teams and related industries based in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The stock car race originated from the smuggling of home-distilled schnapps, the so-called " moonshine ", which has a long tradition in North Carolina and which was transported in souped-up cars on the country roads during Prohibition .

The largest oval course in North Carolina, the Charlotte Motor Speedway , is located in Concord , where three important races for the highest motorsport league, the Monster Energy Cup, take place every year. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is based in Charlotte. Many of NASCAR's best-known driver dynasties also live around Charlotte, such as the Petty, Earnhardt, Allison, Jarrett and Waltrip families.

Popular sport

The state's sports offer includes a variety of different sports. One of the main focuses of popular sports is on outdoor sports all year round, such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, swimming, golf and skiing, but hunting and fishing also have a long tradition. Popular sports in North Carolina are predominantly sponsored by the non-profit association of North Carolina Amateur Sports (NCAS). For amateurs, the multidisciplinary competitions organized by the NCAS are held annually as part of the State Games of North Carolina . Various general fitness and cycling competitions, such as Cycle North Carolina , are also held. In addition, through a fund, the NCAS also provides funds for the operation of publicly accessible sports facilities, such as swimming pools or ice rinks.


Economic development

Charlotte skyline, one of the state's growth regions

North Carolina has been a strongly agricultural state in its history, rice, cotton and tobacco were often grown on plantations. Forestry, which mainly produced tar and turpentine, was also important. As in most southern states, a restructuring towards an industrialized society began only very slowly after the Civil War; A focus of the economy is still today in agriculture and in the processing of agricultural and forestry products. After the loss of many manufacturing jobs in the wake of globalization, North Carolina has made multiple efforts to attract research and development companies. In addition to the positive development in the financial sector, high-tech companies are now among the most important employers in the former low-wage region. The real gross domestic product per capita was 51,041 US dollars in 2016. This ranks the state in the middle of the national comparison, 30th out of 50 US states. The national average is $ 57,118. The unemployment rate was 4.3% in November 2017 (national average: 4.1%).

Agriculture and Forestry

Tobacco Field, North Carolina is the largest tobacco-growing state in the United States

The cultivation of tobacco has been proven since 1633, the sandy and dry soils of the coastal region are particularly suitable for this. Today North Carolina is the largest tobacco producing and processing state in the United States. In 2005, tobacco accounted for 15.5% of total agricultural production; sales in 2006 reached $ 506.2 million. Large tobacco processing companies such as RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and Phillip Morris have their headquarters or significant parts of their companies in the state and are among the most important employers.

Other important agricultural products are corn, soybeans, cotton and peanuts. Livestock farming, especially chicken and traditional pig breeding, as well as fishing operations are important for rural areas. In the meantime, viticulture is also one of the most important agricultural branches in North Carolina ; North Carolina is one of the 10 most important viticulture states in the United States.

Technology and research

Levine Science Research Center at Duke University, Durham

By creating appropriate framework conditions for research institutions and technology companies, the state has succeeded in the years since 2000 in achieving strong growth rates of up to 15% , particularly in the so-called high-tech sectors such as biotechnology and information technology . In 2009 there were 520 biotechnology companies in the state, including GlaxoSmithKline , Merck and Bayer AG with a total of 56,000 employees. Enabling factors, such as the development of the " Research Triangle " (Research Triangle) to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill as one of the leading and most successful high-tech regions of the US, include the provision of well-trained professionals, supporting infrastructure and efforts universities to participate in the research and development of new technologies.


Furniture sales in Durham, one of North Carolina's main industries

The most important branches of the manufacturing industry are furniture and textile production, both of which are traditionally located in North Carolina. Furniture manufacturing is mainly based in the Piedmont Triad , where more than 60% of all people employed in the state's furniture industry work. However, both sectors have lost much of their importance, particularly due to the relocation of labor-intensive manufacturing companies to low-wage countries. For example, 40% of all textile manufacturing companies have been closed since 1990, the number of employees in the textile industry fell from over 233,000 in 1990 by more than 60% to a little over 80,000 in 2006. In addition, car manufacturers and their suppliers are also relevant in the manufacturing sector, in Greensboro, for example, is the USA headquarters of the bus manufacturer Setra , which belongs to Daimler AG .

Finance and banking

Bank of America building in Charlotte (right)

Finance and banking played a key role in North Carolina's economic growth in the last decade of the 20th century and in the early years of the 21st century. Continuous growth rates of 9% have been recorded since 1997 and over 25% in the years after 2002. In 2007, the financial sector was the third largest economic factor in the state after public administration and manufacturing. The number of jobs available in this sector had grown from just under 75,000 in 1998 to around 104,000 while wages had more than doubled. At the state level, North Carolina has become increasingly influential in the banking sector, with some major national and regional banks such as Bank of America , Wachovia or the Branch Banking & Trust founded in Wilson having their headquarters in one of the state's metropolitan regions.


1st Brigade accommodations at Fort Bragg , the largest military base in the United States

The military is an economic factor in the state. North Carolina is a traditional military base and location of defense industry suppliers and has a very positive attitude towards the military and its facilities. The largest and most comprehensive military base in the United States, Fort Bragg , which was also the headquarters of the XVIII. US Airborne Corps , which is the 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Special Operations Command , is not far from the coastal town of Fayetteville . Also near the small town is Pope Air Force Base , which serves as the airport for Fort Bragg. The U.S. Air Force maintains the 4th Fighter Wing and the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro . The United States Coast Guard maintains one of its larger air bases with a training camp, the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City , and five Coast Guard Commands are also based there. The central base for the ship units of the North Carolina Sector, which belongs to the District Five of the US Coast Guard, is Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach. In addition, individual units are stationed in Southport, Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Morehead City and Cape Hatteras.

The world's largest concentration of military ports and marines and soldiers is in the Jacksonville area . The naval bases MCB Camp Lejeune , MCAS Cherry Point (in Havelock), MCAS New River , MCB Camp Geiger and MCB Camp Johnson are located there. MCAS Cherry Point is the base for the II. Marine Expeditionary Force , one of only three amphibious major formations on Corps plane of the US Marine Corps world.



Highway 1

The infrastructure of North Carolina, as in most regions of America, is designed for the use of motor vehicles. Therefore, in addition to the well-developed national road network, there is a very good connection to the national network of long-distance roads . Several interstates run through the state , including the 26 , 74 , 85 and 95 , as well as several US highways . These include one of the country's most important north-south connections, US Highway 1 , which runs along the east coast through North Carolina on its way from Key West , Florida to the Canadian border. The highway network is 126,500 kilometers long, making North Carolina the largest state-funded highway network in the United States. The state maintains a total of 18,540 bridges with a total length of just over 606 kilometers, the 8.4 kilometers longest of the bridges connects Roanoke Island with Manns Harbor .

Rail transport

The Piedmont on the route between Raleigh and Charlotte

The first railroad ran in 1833, a year later the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad, North Carolina's first railroad company, was founded. Established in 1848, the state-owned North Carolina Railroad connected Charlotte to the Atlantic Ocean and served as the backbone for the country's economic development. In 2006, the rail network covered around 5200 kilometers, which is operated by 23 rail freight companies, including CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern . Due to the location of North Carolina, the railway lines are mainly used in transit; North-south routes connect the metropolitan areas of New York City , Philadelphia and Washington with New Orleans and Florida, east-west routes lead from Chicago and Detroit to the Atlantic. In addition, there are four tourist railways in North Carolina. The Southeast High Speed ​​Rail Corridor , a high-speed line between Washington and Charlotte that is to be completed by 2020, is in the project phase. Passenger traffic is carried out by the state rail company Amtrak . The Carolinian connects Charlotte with New York City once a day. Other national trains stop in transit to Florida, New Orleans, and Savannah . The “Piedmont” intercity connection runs daily between Raleigh and Charlotte. The total travel time on the almost 300-kilometer route is a good three hours.


A LYNX car from the Charlotte Area Transit System

The larger cities, especially in the metropolitan areas, strive more and more to the promotion of public transport , cities have increasingly public transport organizations , the transport services offer and public transport provide. These include urban transport systems such as the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), which operates both trams and modern light rail services for distant suburbs. The capital, Raleigh, only operates buses with its Capital Area Transit after attempts to install a light rail system to connect Durham and Raleigh failed. Another large bus transport system is the predominantly state-organized Triangle Transit Authority , which connects the cities of the Durham-Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area. Chapel Hill, the only city that offers a free bus service, is also connected to this network.

Air traffic

Landing of a Southwest aircraft on runway 23R in Raleigh-Durham

North Carolina receives international connections to air traffic on the one hand through Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, which serves US Airways as the main hub and offers 24 international non-stop connections with around 580 flights handled . On the other hand, the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh and Durham serves as an international airport with around 400 flights handled, in addition to national destinations, flights to Canada and England are offered. Airports for national and regional air traffic include the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, the Wilmington International Airport in Wilmington, the Asheville Regional Airport in Asheville, the Pitt-Greenville Airport in Greenville and the Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville and the Craven County Regional Airport in New Bern. A number of smaller airports are available for private air travel, including Albert J. Ellis Airport in Jacksonville and Moore County Airport in Pinehurst, which is designed for golf tourists .


James Knox Polk February 14, 1849, 11th President of the United States. Photography by Mathew B. Brady

A number of important personalities were born in North Carolina who had a decisive influence on a social area of ​​the state or the country. These include, for example, the politician Richard Dobbs Spaight (1758–1802), one of the signatories of the American Constitution, James K. Polk (1797–1849), the 11th President of the United States and Elizabeth Dole , born in 1936 , US Senator and Minister of Transportation under Ronald Reagan . Also from North Carolina is the Nobel Prize Winner for Economics 2000 Daniel McFadden, born in 1937, and the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and editor of the Wall Street Journal , Vermont C. Royster (1914–1996). Both the actress Ava Gardner (1922–1990) and her colleague and gospel singer Andy Griffith (1926–2012) were born in the state, as was the hip-hop producer 9th Wonder (* 1975), the singer Tori Amos (* 1963 ) and the jazz musician John Coltrane (1926–1967). The writer Charles Frazier (* 1950), who has dealt with his homeland in his works, and the revival preacher Billy Graham (* 1918) are born in North Carolina. Other influential North Carolinians are featured on the North Carolina's list.


  • Otto Deppe, Kerstin Woldt, Martin Brinkmann: North Carolina - From the Atlantic to the Great Smoky Mountains. Real-Film Medien-Vertriebs GmbH, first broadcast January 12, 1997


General works and overviews

  • Tracey Boraas: North Carolina. Capstone Press, 2003, ISBN 0-7368-2190-2 .
  • William S. Powell, Jay Mazzocchi (Eds.): Encyclopedia of North Carolina. The University of North Carolina Press, October 25, 2006, ISBN 0-8078-3071-2 .
  • Douglas Orr, Al Stuart (Eds.): The North Carolina Atlas: Portrait for a New Century. The University of North Carolina Press, March 2000, ISBN 0-8078-2507-7 .
  • Sarah Rafle: North Carolina: The Tar Heel State. Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2002, ISBN 0-8368-5289-3 .

History, economics and politics

  • Val Atkinson: Southern Racial Politics & North Carolina's Black Vote , Trafford Publishing, January 18, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4120-9324-8 .
  • Rob Christensen: The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina. The University of North Carolina Press, March 27, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8078-3189-2 .
  • Milton Ready: The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, October 2005, ISBN 1-57003-591-1 .
  • Donald B. Ricky: Indians of North Carolina. Somerset Publishers 1999, ISBN 0-403-09938-2 .
  • Richard C. Simmons: The American Colonies. From Settlement to Independence. Norton, New York 1981, ISBN 0-393-00999-8 .
  • Michael L. Walden: North Carolina in the Connected Age: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalizing Economy , The University of North Carolina Press, September 2008, ISBN 978-0-8078-3221-9 .
  • W. Buck Yearns: North Carolina Civil War Documentary. The University of North Carolina Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8078-5358-5 .
  • H. Trawick Ward, RP Stephen Davis Jr .: Time Before History: The Archeology of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 1999.

Sport, education and culture

  • Pamela Grundy: Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina. The University of North Carolina Press, December 4, 2000, ISBN 0-8078-4934-0 .

Web links

Wiktionary: North Carolina  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : North Carolina  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "In 1893 the North Carolina General Assembly adopted the Latin words' Esse Quam Videri 'as the state motto and directed that these words be placed with the state's Coat of Arms and the date '20 May, 1775' upon the great seal."
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  5. ^ North Carolina Geological Survey , overview map of the individual regions and geomorphological data under North Carolina Geological Survey North Carolina Geology
  6. a b c Tracey Boraas: North Carolina . Capstone Press, 2003, ISBN 0-7368-2190-2 , Land, Climate and Wildlife, pp. 9-13 (English).
  7. John Hairr, Joey Powell: Gold mines in North Carolina . Arcadia Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7385-1736-4 , pp. 9-26 .
  8. ^ A b Arthur C. Benke, Colbert E. Cushing: Rivers of North America . Academic Press, 2005, ISBN 0-12-088253-1 , 3 Atlantic Coast Rivers of Southeastern United States (English). , and John Hairr: North Carolina Rivers: Facts, Legends and Lore . The History Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-59629-258-1 (English).
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  14. A list of the endangered plant species in North Carolina is available online at The Way-Too-Long List of Rare, Endangered and Threatened Vascular Flora of North Carolina In: NCNatural. Accessed on October 27, 2008 (English, as of 2000)
  15. a b Rüdiger Knapp: The vegetation of North and Central America . Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart 1965.
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  46. Sara Beaumont Kennedy exemplifies this view: Joscelyn Cheshire: A Story of Revolutionary Days in the Carolinas . BiblioBazaar, 2009, ISBN 978-1-113-07768-4 , pp. 20 . ; Marjoleine Kars: Breaking loose together: The Regulator Rebellion in pre-revolutionary North Carolina . UNC Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8078-4999-5 , pp. 192 . ; William Edward Fitch: Some neglected history of North Carolina, being an account of the revolution of the regulators and of the battle of Alamance, the first battle of the American Revolution . Fitch, 1914, p. 21 .
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  52. John Hope Franklin: Free Negroes of North Carolina, 1789-1860. University of North Carolina Press, 1941, reissued in 1991.
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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on May 25, 2010 in this version .

Coordinates: 35 ° 30 ′  N , 80 ° 0 ′  W