North Carolina, a southeastern North American state, has long been an important agricultural site, being the nation’s leading producer of tobacco. It has also been a major source of manufactured goods, chemicals, textiles, and furniture since the 1920s. Raleigh is its capital, Charlotte is its largest city.
North Carolina was named in honor of England’s King Charles I and King Charles II by colonist friends and supporters. The Tar Heel State, its state nickname, became the 12th original Union state on November 21, 1789. It has set the pace for internal improvements and public education. Historically, it was from Kill Devil Hill near Kitty Hawk in North Carolina’s Outer Banks that the Wright brothers made the first ever successful airplane flight in 1903.
Perhaps North Carolina’s most popular scenic attraction is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, ideal for hiking, fishing, and camping. Along the route to the national park is Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern region of the United States. Other interesting places to visit are:
• Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island – which commemorates the place of the English’s first attempt at establishing an American colony
• Moores Creek National Battlefield
• Guilford Courthouse National Military Park – significant sites of American Revolution battles
• Home of poet Carl Sandburg at Flat Rock
• Biltmore Estate, one of the best examples of mansions built in the early French Renaissance style at the turn of the 20th century by American millionaires in the country
• Cherokee County Historical Museum – a former Native American trading post at Murphy which now houses 2,000 Native American lifestyle exhibits.
Each year in July a wagon train trailing Daniel Boone’s path through the Blue Ridge range takes place while each December there is a commemoration of the first successful airplane flight in Wright Brothers National Memorial. Other annual events include drama and music festivals, boat races, and fishing tournaments in the Atlantic Ocean bordering the state in the east.