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North Carolina

North Carolina

State of North Carolina

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named in honor of King Charles I of England.

NICKNAME: The Tarheel State; Old North State.

CAPITAL: Raleigh.

ENTERED UNION: 21 November 1789 (12th).

SONG: "The Old North State."

MOTTO: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem).

FLAG: Adjacent to the fly of two equally sized bars, red above and white below, is a blue union containing a white star in the center, flanked by the letters N and C in gold. Above and below the star are two gold scrolls, the upper one reading "May 20th 1775," the lower one "April 12th 1776."

OFFICIAL SEAL: Liberty, clasping a constitution and holding aloft on a pole a liberty cap, stands on the left, while Plenty sits besides a cornucopia on the right; behind them, mountains run to the sea, on which a three-masted ship appears. "May 20, 1775" appears above the figures; the words "The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina" and the state motto surround the whole.

BIRD: Cardinal.

FISH: Channel bass.

FLOWER: Dogwood.

TREE: Long leaf pine.

GEM: Emerald.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Good Friday, Friday before Easter, March or April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November and the day following; Christmas Day, 25 December and the day following.

TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.


Located in the southeastern United States, North Carolina ranks 28th in size among the 50 states.

The total area of North Carolina is 52,669 sq mi (136,413 sq km), of which land accounts for 48,843 sq mi (126,504 sq km) and inland water 3,826 sq mi (9,909 sq km). North Carolina extends 503 mi (810 km) e-w; the state's maximum n-s extension is 187 mi (301 km).

North Carolina is bordered on the n by Virginia; on the e by the Atlantic Ocean; on the s by South Carolina and Georgia; and on the w by Tennessee. A long chain of islands or sand banks, called the Outer Banks, lies off the state's Atlantic coast. The total boundary line of North Carolina is 1,270 mi (2,044 km), including a general coastline of 301 mi (484 km); the tidal shoreline extends 3,375 mi (5,432 km). The state's geographic center is in Chatham County, 10 mi (16 km) nw of Sanford.


North Carolina's three major topographic regions belong to the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont Plateau, and the Appalachian Mountains.

The Outer Banks, narrow islands of shifting sandbars, screen most of the coastal plain from the ocean. Treacherous navigation conditions and numerous shipwrecks have earned the name of "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for the shoal waters off Cape Hatteras, which, like Cape Lookout and Cape Fear, juts out from the banks into the Atlantic. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the United States, rising 208 ft (63 m). The shallow Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and broad salt marshes lying behind the Outer Banks serve not only as valuable habitats for marine life but as further hindrances to water transportation. Sea level at the Atlantic Ocean is the lowest elevation of the state.

On the mainland, the coastal plain extends westward from the sounds for 100 to 140 mi (160-225 km) and upward from sea level to nearly 500 ft (150 m). Near the ocean, the outer coastal plain is very flat and often swampy; this region contains all the natural lakes in North Carolina, the largest being Lake Mattamuskeet (67 sq mi/174 sq km), followed by lakes Phelps and Waccamaw. The inner coastal plain is more elevated and better drained. Infertile sand hills mark its southwestern section, but the rest of the region constitutes the state's principal farming country.

The Piedmont is a rolling plateau of red clay soil roughly 150 mi (240 km) wide, rising from 30 to 600 ft (90-180 m) in the east to 1,500 ft (460 m) in the west. The fall line, a sudden change in elevation, separates the piedmont from the coastal plain and produces numerous rapids in the rivers that flow between the regions.

The Blue Ridge, a steep escarpment that parallels the Tennessee border, divides the piedmont from North Carolina's westernmost region, containing the highest and most rugged portion of the Appalachian chain. The two major ranges are the Blue Ridge itself, which averages 3,000-4,000 ft high (900-1,200 m), and the Great Smoky Mountains, which have 43 peaks higher than 6,000 ft (1,800 m). Several smaller chains intersect these two ranges; one of them, the Black Mountains, contains Mt. Mitchell, at 6,684 ft (2,039 m) the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 700 ft (214 m).

No single river basin dominates North Carolina. The Hiwas-see, Little Tennessee, French Broad, Watauga, and New rivers flow from the mountains westward to the Mississippi River system. East of the Blue Ridge, the Chowan, Roanoke, Tar, Neuse, Cape Fear, Yadkin, and Catawba drain the piedmont and coastal plain. The largest artificial lakes are Lake Norman on the Catawba, Lake Gaston on the Roanoke, and High Rock Lake on the Yadkin.


North Carolina has a humid, subtropical climate. Winters are short and mild, while summers are usually very sultry; spring and fall are distinct and refreshing periods of transition. In most of North Carolina, temperatures rarely go above 100°f (38°c) or fall below 10°f (12°c), but differences in altitude and proximity to the ocean create significant local variations. Average January temperatures range from 36°f (2°c) to 48°f (9°c), with an average daily maximum January temperature of 51°f (11°c) and minimum of 29°f (2°c). Average July temperatures range from 68°f (20°c) to 80°f (27°c), with an average daily high of 87°f (31°c) and a low of 66°f (19°c). The coldest temperature ever recorded in North Carolina was 34°f (37°c), registered on 21 January 1985 on Mt. Mitchell; the hottest, 110°f (43°c), occurred on 21 August 1983 at Fayetteville.

In the southwestern section of the Blue Ridge, moist southerly winds rising over the mountains drop more than 80 in (203 cm) of precipitation per year, making this region the wettest in the eastern states; the other side of the mountains receives less than half that amount. Average annual precipitation at Charlotte is about 43 in (109 cm). The piedmont gets between 44 and 48 in (112 to 122 cm) of precipitation per year, while 44 to 56 in (112 to 142 cm) annually fall on the coastal plain. Average winter snowfalls vary from 50 in (127 cm) on Mt. Mitchell to only a trace amount at Cape Hatteras. In the summer, North Carolina weather responds to the Bermuda High, a pressure system centered in the mid-Atlantic. Winds from the southwest bring masses of hot humid air over the state; anticyclones connected with this system frequently lead to upper-level thermal inversions, producing a stagnant air mass that cannot disperse pollutants until cooler, drier air from Canada moves in. During late summer and early autumn, the eastern region is vulnerable to high winds and flooding from hurricanes. Hurricane Diana struck the Carolina coast in September 1984, causing $36 million in damage. A series of tornadoes in March of that year killed 61 people, injured over 1,000, and caused damage exceeding $120 million. Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Fran (1996) caused major damage.


North Carolina has approximately 300 species and subspecies of trees and almost 3,000 varieties of flowering plants. Coastal plant life begins with sea oats predominating on the dunes and salt meadow and cordgrass in the marshes, then gives way to wax myrtle, yaupon, red cedar, and live oak further inland. Blackwater swamps support dense stands of cypress and gum trees. Pond pine favors the peat soils of the Carolina bays, while longleaf pine and turkey oak cover the sand hills and other well-drained areas. Weeds take root when a field is abandoned in the piedmont, followed soon by loblolly, shortleaf, and Virginia pine; sweet gum and tulip poplars spring up beneath the pines, later giving way to an oak-hickory climax forest. Dogwood decorates the understory, but kudzua rank, weedy vine introduced from Japan as an antierosion measure in the 1930sis a less attractive feature of the landscape. The profusion of plants reaches extraordinary proportions in the mountains. The deciduous forests on the lower slopes contain Carolina hemlock, silver bell, yellow buckeye, white bass-wood, sugar maple, yellow birch, tulip poplar, and beech, in addition to the common trees of the piedmont. Spruce and fir dominate the high mountain peaks. There is no true treeline in the North Carolina mountains, but unexplained treeless areas called "balds" appear on certain summits. Twenty-seven plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2006, including Blue Ridge goldenrod, bunched arrowhead, Heller's blazingstar, Virginia spiraea, seabeach amaranth, and rough-leaved loosestrife.

The white-tailed deer is the principal big-game animal of North Carolina, and the black bear is a tourist attraction in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wild boar was introduced to the mountains during the 19th century; beavers have been reintroduced and are now the state's principal furbearers. The largest native carnivore is the bobcat.

North Carolina game birds include the bobwhite quail, mourning dove, wild turkey, and many varieties of duck and goose. Trout and smallmouth bass flourish in North Carolina's clear mountain streams, while catfish, pickerel, perch, crappie, and largemouth bass thrive in fresh water elsewhere. The sounds and surf of the coast yield channel bass, striped bass, flounder, and bluefish to anglers. Among insect pests, the pine bark beetle is a threat to the state's forests and forest industries.

The gray wolf, elk, eastern cougar, and bison are extinct in North Carolina; the American alligator, protected by the state, has returned in large numbers to eastern swamps and lakeshores. Thirty animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened or endangered in April 2006, including Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats, bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker, four species of whale, and five species of sea turtle.


State actions to safeguard the environment began in 1915 with the purchase of the summit of Mt. Mitchell as North Carolina's first state park. North Carolina's citizens and officials worked actively (along with those in Tennessee) to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the 1920s, the same decade that saw the establishment of the first state agency for wildlife conservation. In 1937, a state and local program of soil and water conservation districts began to halt erosion and waste of natural resources.

Interest in environmental protection intensified during the 1970s. In 1971, the state required its own agencies to submit environmental impact statements in connection with all major project proposals; it also empowered local governments to require such statements from major private developers. Voters approved a $150 million bond issue in 1972 to assist in the construction of wastewater treatment facilities by local governments. The Coastal Management Act of 1974 mandated comprehensive land-use planning for estuaries, wetlands, beaches, and adjacent areas of environmental concern. The most controversial environmental action occurred mid-decade, when a coalition of state officials, local residents, and national environmental groups fought the proposed construction of a dam that would have flooded the New River Valley in northwestern North Carolina. Congress quashed the project when it designated the stream as a national scenic river in 1976.

Air quality in most of North Carolina's eight air-quality-control regions is good, although the industrialized areas of the piedmont and mountains experience pollution from vehicle exhausts and

North CarolinaCounties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations
Alamance Graham 433 140,533 Jones Trenton 470 10,311
Alexander Taylorsville 259 35,492 Lee Sanford 259 55,704
Alleghany Sparta 234 10,900 Lenoir Kinston 402 57,961
Anson Wadesboro 533 25,499 Lincoln Lincolnton 298 69,851
Ashe Jefferson 426 25,347 Macon Franklin 517 32,148
Avery Newland 247 17,641 Madison Marshall 451 20,256
Beaufort Washington 826 46,018 Martin Williamston 461 24,643
Bertie Windsor 701 19,480 McDowell Marion 437 43,201
Bladen Elizabethtown 879 32,938 Mecklenburg Charlotte 528 796,372
Brunswick Bolivia 861 89,162 Mitchell Bakersville 222 15,784
Buncombe Asheville 659 218,876 Montgomery Troy 490 27,322
Burke Morganton 505 89,399 Moore Carthage 701 81,685
Cabarrus Concord 364 150,244 Nash Nashville 540 91,378
Caldwell Lenoir 471 79,122 New Hanover Wilmington 185 179,553
Camden Camden 241 8,967 Northampton Jackson 538 21,483
Carteret Beaufort 525 62,525 Onslow Jacksonville 763 152,440
Caswell Yanceyville 427 23,608 Orange Hillsborough 400 118,386
Catawba Newton 396 151,641 Pamlico Bayboro 341 12,735
Chatham Pittsboro 708 58,002 Pasquotank Elizabeth City 228 38,270
Cherokee Murphy 452 25,796 Pender Burgaw 875 46,429
Chowan Edenton 181 14,528 Perquimans Hertford 246 12,080
Clay Hayesville 214 9,765 Person Roxboro 398 37,217
Cleveland Shelby 468 98,288 Pitt Greenville 656 142,570
Columbus Whiteville 939 54,746 Polk Columbus 238 19,134
Craven New Bern 702 90,795 Randolph Asheboro 789 138,367
Cumberland Fayetteville 657 304,520 Richmond Rockingham 477 46,781
Currituck Currituck 256 23,112 Robeson Lumberton 949 127,586
Dare Manteo 391 33,903 Rockingham Wentworth 569 92,614
Davidson Lexington 548 154,623 Rowan Salisbury 519 135,099
Davie Mocksville 267 39,136 Rutherford Rutherfordton 568 63,771
Duplin Kenansville 819 51,985 Sampson Clinton 947 63,063
Durham Durham 298 242,582 Scotland Laurinburg 319 37,180
Edgecombe Tarboro 506 54,129 Stanly Albemarle 396 58,964
Forsyth Winston-Salem 412 325,967 Stokes Danbury 452 45,858
Franklin Louisburg 494 54,429 Surry Dobson 539 72,601
Gaston Gastonia 357 196,137 Swain Bryson City 526 13,167
Gates Gatesville 338 11,224 Transylvania Brevard 378 29,626
Graham Robbinsville 289 8,085 Tyrrell Columbia 407 4,157
Granville Oxford 534 53,674 Union Monroe 639 162,929
Greene Snow Hill 266 20,026 Vance Henderson 249 43,771
Guilford Greensboro 651 443,519 Wake Raleigh 854 748,815
Halifax Halifax 724 56,023 Warren Warrenton 427 19,729
Harnett Lillington 601 103,692 Washington Plymouth 332 13,282
Haywood Waynesville 555 56,482 Watauga Boone 314 42,472
Henderson Hendersonville 375 97,217 Wayne Goldsboro 554 114,448
Hertford Winton 356 23,574 Wilkes Wilkesboro 752 67,390
Hoke Racford 391 41,016 Wilson Wilson 374 76,281
Hyde Swanquarter 624 5,413 Yadkin Yadkinville 336 37,668
Iredell Statesville 574 140,924 Yancey Burnsville 314 18,201
Jackson Sylva 490 35,368 TOTALS 48,843 8,683,242
Johnston Smithfield 795 146,437

coal-fired electric generating plants. Water quality ranges from extraordinary purity in numerous mountain trout streams to serious pollution in major rivers and coastal waters. Soil erosion and municipal and industrial waste discharges have drastically increased the level of dissolved solids in some piedmont streams, while runoffs from livestock pastures and nitrates leached from fertilized farmland have over stimulated the growth of algae in slow-moving eastern rivers. Pollution also has made certain areas of the coast unsafe for commercial shellfishing.

About 5.7 million acres (2.3 million hectares) of the state are wetlands; since 1997 the North Carolina Wetlands Partnership has overseen wetlands conservation. About 70% of North Carolina's rare and endangered plants and animals are considered wetland-dependent.

The Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, the state's main environmental agency, issues licenses to industries and municipalities and seeks to enforce clean air and water regulations. In 2003, 129.1 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. In 2003, North Carolina had 311 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 31 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including the Barber Orchard in Waynesville and ABC One Hour Cleaners in Jacksonville. In 2005, the EPA spent over $461,000 through the Superfund program for the cleanup of haz-ardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $19.4 million for the water pollution control revolving fund and $14.5 million for the drinking water revolving fund.


North Carolina ranked 11th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 8,683,342 in 2005, an increase of 7.9% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, North Carolina's population grew from 6,628,637 to 8,049,313, an increase of 21.4%, making North Carolina the sixth-fastest-growing state of the decade. The population is projected to reach 10 million by 2015 and 11.4 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 175.4 persons per sq mi (67.7 persons per sq km). As of 2004, the state's population had a median age of 36. In the same year, 24.8% of the populace were under the age of 18 while 12.1% was age 65 or older.

At the time of the first census in 1790, North Carolina ranked third among the 13 states, with a population of 393,751, but it slipped to tenth by 1850. In the decades that followed, North Carolina grew slowly by natural increase and suffered from net out-migration, while the rest of the nation expanded rapidly. Out-migration abated after 1890, however, and North Carolina's overall growth rate in the 20th century was slightly greater than that of the nation as a whole.

Most North Carolinians live in and around a relatively large number of small and medium-sized cities and towns, many of which are concentrated in the Piedmont Crescent, between Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh. Leading cities in 2004 were Charlotte, 594,359; Raleigh, 326,653; Greensboro, 231,543; Durham, 201,726; and Winston-Salem, 191,523. The Charlotte metropolitan area had an estimated 1,474,734 people in 2004.


North Carolina's white population is descended mostly from English settlers who arrived in the east in the 17th and early 18th centuries and from Scottish, Scots-Irish, and German immigrants who poured into the piedmont in the middle of the 18th century. Originally very distinct, these groups assimilated with one another in the first half of the 19th century to form a relatively homogeneous body of native-born white Protestants. By 1860, North Carolina had the lowest proportion of foreign-born whites of any state; more than a century later, in 1990, only 1.7% (115,077) of North Carolina residents were foreign born, mostly from Germany, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Within the following decade, however, the foreign-born population increased dramatically, to 430,000 (5.3%) in 2000. In the same year, the estimated Hispanic and Latino population was 378,963 (4.7% of the state total), up from 161,000 (2.1%) in 1990. In 2004, 6.1% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino origin.

According to the 2000 federal census there were some 99,551 Native Americans (including Eskimos and Aleuts) living in North Carolina, the sixth-largest number in any state, and the largest number in any state east of the Mississippi. In 2004, 1.3% of the state's population was American Indian or Alaskan Native. The Lumbee of Robeson County and the surrounding area are the major Indian group. The total population of their lands in 2000, including non-Indians, was 474,100. Their origins are mysterious, but they are probably descended from many small tribes, decimated by war and disease, that banded together in the Lumber River swamps in the 18th century. The Lumbee have no language other than English, have no traditional tribal culture, and are not recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Haliwa, Waccamaw Siouan, Coharie, and Person County Indians are smaller groups in eastern North Carolina who share the Lumbee's predicament. The only North Carolina Indians with a reservation, a tribal language and culture, and federal recognition are the Cherokee, whose ancestors hid in the Smokies when the majority of their tribe was removed to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1838. The North Carolina Cherokee have remained in the mountains ever since, living in a community that now centers on the Qualla Boundary Reservation near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The 1,737,545 blacks in North Carolina made up 21.6% of its total population in 2000. In 2004, 21.8% of the state's population was black. Black slaves came to North Carolina from the 17th century through the early 19th; like most white immigrants, they usually arrived in North Carolina after previous residence in other colonies. Although black slaves performed a wide variety of tasks and lived in every county of the state, they were most often field laborers on the large farms in the eastern region. The distribution of black population today still reflects the patterns of plantation agriculture: the coastal plain contains a much higher than average concentration of black inhabitants. The overall proportion of blacks in North Carolina rose throughout the 19th century but fell steadily in the 20th, until about 1970, as hundreds of thousands migrated to northern and western states. Some of the earliest demonstrations of the civil rights movement, most notably a 1960 lunch counter sit-in at Greensboro, took place in the state.

In 2000 North Carolina's Asian population numbered 113,689, including 26,197 Asian Indians, 18,984 Chinese, 15,596 Vietnamese, 12,600 Koreans, 9,592 Filipinos, and 7,093 Hmong. Pacific Islanders numbered 3,983. In 2004, 1.7% of the state's population was Asian, and 0.1% Pacific Islander. That year, 1% of the population reported origin of two or more races.


Although most of the original Cherokee Indians were removed to Indian Territory around 1838, descendants of those who resisted and remained have formed a strong Indian community in the Appalachian foothills. Among Indian place-names are Pamlico, Nantahala, and Cullasaja.

Many regional language features are widespread, but others sharply distinguish two subregions: the western half, including the piedmont and the Appalachian Highlands, and the eastern coastal plain. Terms common to South Midland and Southern speech occur throughout the state: both dog irons and firedogs (andirons), bucket (pail), spicket (spigot), seesaw, comfort (tied and filled bedcover), pullybone (wishbone), ground squirrel (chipmunk), branch (small stream), light bread (white bread), polecat (skunk), and carry (escort). Also common are greasy with the /z/ sound, new as /nyoo/ and due as /dyoo/, swallow it as /swaller it/, can't rhyming with paint, poor with the vowel sound /aw/, and horse and hoarse with different vowels.

Distinct to the western region are snake feeder (dragonfly), blinds (roller shades), poke (paper bag), redworm (earthworm), a little piece (a short distance), plum peach (clingstone peach), sick on the stomach (also found in the Pee Dee River Valley), boiled as /bawrld/, fog as /fawg/, Mary sounding like merry and bulge with the vowel of good. Setting off eastern North Carolina are lightwood (kindling), mosquito hawk (dragonfly), earthworm, press peach (instead of plum peach), you-all as second-person plural, and sick in the stomach. Distinctive eastern pronunciations include the loss of /r/ after a vowel, fog as /fagh/, scarce and Mary with the vowel of gate, bulge with the vowel sound /ah/. Along the coast, peanuts are goobers and a screech owl is a shivering owl.

In 2000, 6,909,648 North Carolinians92% of the population five years of age and olderspoke only English at home, down from 96.1% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali.

Population 5 years and over 7,513,165 100.0
  Speak only English 6,909,648 92.0
  Speak a language other than English 603,517 8.0
Speak a language other than English 603,517 8.0
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 378,942 5.0
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 33,201 0.4
  German 28,520 0.4
  Chinese 15,698 0.2
  Vietnamese 13,594 0.2
  Korean 11,386 0.2
  Arabic 10,834 0.1
  African languages 9,181 0.1
  Miao, Hmong 7,493 0.1
  Tagalog 6,521 0.1
  Greek 6,404 0.1
  Japanese 6,317 0.1
  Italian 6,233 0.1


The Church of England was the established church of colonial North Carolina but was never a dominant force among the early immigrants. Scottish Presbyterians settled in the upper Cape Fear Valley, and Scots-Irish Presbyterians occupied the piedmont after 1757. Lutheran Evangelical Reformed Germans later moved into the Yadkin and Catawba valleys of the same region. The Moravians, a German sect, founded the town of Salem (later merging with Winston to become Winston-Salem) in 1766 as the center of their utopian community at Wachovia. Methodist circuit riders and Separate Baptists missionaries won thousands of converts among blacks and whites, strengthening their appeal in the Great Revival of 1801. In the subsequent generation, a powerful evangelical consensus dominated popular culture. After the Civil War, blacks left the white congregations to found their own churches, but the overall strength of Protestantism persisted. When many North Carolinians left their farms at the end of the 19th century, they moved to mill villages that were well supplied with churches, often at the mill owners' expense.

The majority of North Carolinians are Protestant. The largest denomination in 2000 was the Southern Baptist Convention which reported 1,512,058 adherents; there were 28,169 newly baptized members reported in 2002. The United Methodist Church claimed 529,272 members in 2004 and the Presbyterian Church USA had 203,647 in 2000. The next largest Protestant denominations in 2000 were the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 88,830 adherents; the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), 81,037; the Episcopal Church, 80,068; the United Church of Christ, 50,088; the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, 50,265; the Original Free Will Baptists, 46,020; Independent Charismatic Churches, 42,559. In 2006, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) reported a statewide membership of 66,497 in 135 congregations; a Mormon temple was built in Raleigh-Durham in 1999. In 2000, the state had an estimated 25,545 Jews, and about 20,137 Muslims. There are still about 18,180 Moravians in the state. Over 4.3 million people (about 54.6% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization. In 2004, there were 319,492 Roman Catholics in the state.

The Advent Christian Church General Conference of America, representing 306 local Advent Christian churches in the United States and Canada, is based in Charlotte. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has its headquarters in Charlotte as well.


The history of North Carolina's growth and prosperity has been inextricably linked to the history of transportation in the state, especially the history of highway development. North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the nation. To provide and maintain this system, North Carolina relies strictly on user-related sources of funds, such as motor fuel taxes and state license and registration fees.

The early settlers widened and improved the Indian trails into bridle trails and then dirt roads. In colonial times, waterways were the avenues of commerce. Almost all products moved on rivers and streams within the state, and most manufactured goods arrived by sea. When it became necessary to transport goods farther inland, local laws were passed which directed that a road be built to the nearest landing. By this piecemeal process, the state slowly acquired a system of dirt roads.

As the population of the state grew, so did the demand for roads. From 1830 onward, a new element was introduced into the picturerailroads, representing the newest and most efficient means of travel. In the 1850s, transportation took yet another turn when the state invested in plank roads, which did not prove financially practical.

With the coming of the Civil War, transportation improvements in North Carolina ground to a halt. During the war, the existing railroads were used heavily for military purposes. Renovations and improvements were delayed during the early years of the Reconstruction period because of poor economic conditions in the state. By 1870, the state gave up on assistance to railroads and left their further development to private companies. In 1895, the Southern Railway acquired a 99-year lease on the piedmont section of the North Carolina Railroad while eastern routes fell to the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line Railway.

In the early years of the 20th century, the principal emphasis was on the further development of the investor-owned railroads. In 1911, there was 4,608 mi (7,414 km) of railroad right-of-way in the state, and by 1937 this figure had increased, if only slightly, to a total of 4,763 (7,663 km). By 2003, railroad track in North Carolina had fallen to 3,344 route mi (5,383 km). Two Class I railroads operate in the state, along with 13 local and eight switching and terminal lines. As of 2006, Amtrak provided service to 12 stations in the state via its New York to Charlotte Carolinian and its daily Charlotte to Raleigh Piedmont trains.

By the second decade of the century, the building of roads received new emphasis. It was during this period that North Carolina earned the label "the Good Roads State." In 1915, the Highway Commission was created, and in 1921 the General Assembly approved a $40 million state highway bond to construct a system of hard-surface roads connecting each of the 100 county seats with all of the others. The new hard-surface roads soon proved ideal for automobiles and trucks. More highway bonds were approved to pay for a statewide system of paved highways, giving the state more roads by the end of the decade than any other southern state except Texas. The state government took over the county roads in 1931.

In 2004, North Carolina had 102,666 mi (165,529 km) of public roads. There were some 6.195 million motor vehicles registered in the state that same year, including around 3.627 million automobiles, approximately 2,458 million trucks, and some 10,000 buses. Licensed drivers numbered 6,122,137 in 2004. The major interstate highways are I-95, which stretches north-south across the coastal plain, and I-85, which parallels it across the piedmont. I-40 leads from the mountains to the coast at Wilmington, and I-26 and I-77 handle north-south traffic in the western section. I-73 and I-74 add 325 mi (523 km) of interstate highway and will handle north-south traffic in the eastern section of the state.

Transportation 2001, a plan to speed up highway construction and complete key corridors, eliminate the road maintenance backlog, and develop a master plan for public transportation, was unveiled in 1994. A $950 million highway bond was approved by North Carolina voters in 1996 to accelerate construction of urban loops and intrastates and to pave secondary roads. Transit 2001, the master plan to improve public transportation was unveiled in February 1997. A major incentive has been placed on high-speed rail service from Raleigh to Charlotte, reducing travel time to two hours by 2000.

There are nine types of public transportation currently operating in North Carolina: human service transportation, rural general public transportation, urban transit, regional transit, vanpool and carpool programs, inter-city buses, inter-city rail passenger service, pupil transportation, and passenger ferry service. There are 17 publicly owned urban transit systems operating in North Carolina. More than three million North Carolinians have access to rural public transportation services operating in approximately 45 counties and towns.

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway follows sounds, rivers, and canals down the entire length of eastern North Carolina. The North Carolina ferry system, the second largest in the nation, transports more than 23 million passengers and 820,000 vehicles each year. Twenty-four ferry vessels move passengers and vehicles between the state's coastal communities. Seventeen of the vessels feature the colors and seals of North Carolina's public and private colleges and universities to promote the ferry system. There are major ports at Morehead City and Wilmington. In 2004, More-head City handled 3.407 million tons of cargo, while Wilmington handled 7.888 million tons. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 10.231 million tons. In 2004, North Carolina had 1,152 mi (1,854 km) of navigable inland waterways.

In 2005, North Carolina had a total of 382 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 305 airports, 74 heliports, and 3 STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing). The state's two busiest airports are Charlotte-Douglas International and Raleigh-Durham International. In 2004, Charlotte-Douglas had 12,499,476 passengers enplaned, making it the 19th-busiest airport in the United States, while Raleigh-Durham had 4,371,883 enplanements that same year, making it the 43rd-busiest airport in the United States. Other major airports were at Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Kinston, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.


Paleo-Indian peoples came to North Carolina about 10,000 years ago. These early inhabitants hunted game with spears and gathered nuts, roots, berries, and freshwater mollusks. Around 500 bc, with the invention of pottery and the development of agriculture, the Woodland Culture began to emerge. The Woodland way of lifegrowing corn, beans, and squash, and hunting game with bows and arrowsprevailed on the North Carolina coast until the Europeans arrived.

Living in North Carolina by this time were Indians of the Algonkian-, Siouan-, and Iroquoian-language families. The Roanoke, Chowanoc, Hatteras, Meherrin, and other Algonkian-speaking tribes of the coast had probably lived in the area the longest; some of them belonged to the Powhatan Confederacy of Virginia. The Siouan groups were related to larger tribes of the Great Plains. Of the Iroquoian-speakers, the Cherokee probably had lived in the mountains since before the beginning of the Christian era, while the Tuscarora had entered the upper coastal plain somewhat later. After their defeat by the colonists in the Tuscarora War of 171113, the tribe fled to what is now upper New York State to become the sixth member of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Contact with whites brought war, disease, and enslavement of the Algonkian and Siouan tribes. Banding together, the survivors probably gave rise to the present-day Lumbee and to the other Indian groups of eastern North Carolina. The Cherokee tried to avoid the fate of the coastal tribes by selectively adopting aspects of white culture. In 1838, however, the federal government responded to the demands of land-hungry whites by expelling most of the Cherokee to Indian Territory along the so-called Trail of Tears.

European penetration began when Giovanni da Verrazano, a Florentine navigator in French service, discovered the North Carolina coast in 1524. Don Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón led an unsuccessful Spanish attempt to settle near the mouth of the Cape Fear River two years later. Hernando de Soto tramped over the North Carolina mountains in 1540 in an unsuccessful search for gold, but the Spanish made no permanent contribution to the colonization of North Carolina.

Sixty years after Verrazano's voyage, North Carolina became the scene of England's first experiment in American empire. Sir Walter Raleigh, a courtier of Queen Elizabeth I, gained the queen's permission to send out explorers to the New World. They landed on the Outer Banks in 1584 and returned with reports so enthusiastic that Raleigh decided to sponsor a colony on Roanoke Island between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. After a second expedition returned without founding a permanent settlement, Raleigh sent out a third group in 1587 under John White as governor. The passengers included White's daughter Eleanor and her husband, Ananias Dare. Shortly after landfall, Eleanor gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in the New World. Several weeks later, White returned to England for supplies, but the threat of the Spanish Armada prevented his prompt return. By the time White got back to Roanoke in 1590, he found no trace of the settlersonly the word "Croatoan" carved on a tree. The fate of this "Lost Colony" has never been satisfactorily explained.

The next English venture focused on the more accessible Jamestown colony in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia. England tended to ignore the southern region until 1629, when Charles I laid out the territory between 30° and 36°N, named it Carolana for himself, and granted it to his attorney general, Sir Robert Heath. Heath made no attempt to people his domain, however, and Carolana remained empty of whites until stragglers drifted in from the mid-17th century onward. Events in England transformed Virginia's outpost into a separate colony. After the execution of Charles I in 1649, England had no ruling monarch until a party of noblemen invited Charles II back to England in 1660. Charles thanked eight of his benefactors three years later by making them lord proprietors of the province, now called Carolina. The vast new region eventually stretched from northern Florida to the modern boundary between North Carolina and Virginia, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

The proprietors divided Carolina into three counties and appointed a governor for each one. Albemarle County embraced the existing settlements in northeastern North Carolina near the waters of Albemarle Sound; it was the only one that developed a government within the present state boundaries. From the beginning, relations between the older pioneers and their newly imposed government were stormy. The English philosopher John Locke drew up the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, but his political blueprints proved unworkable. The proprietors' arbitrary efforts to collect royal customs touched off factional violence, culminating in Culpepper's Rebellion of 1677, one of the first American uprisings against a corrupt regime.

For a few years afterward, local residents had a more representative government, until the proprietors attempted to strengthen the establishment of the Anglican Church in the colony. In 1711, Cary's Rebellion was touched off by laws passed against the colony's Quakers. During the confusion, Tuscarora Indians launched a war against the white intruders on their lands. The whites won the Tuscarora War in 1713 with assistance from South Carolina, but political weakness in the north persisted. Proprietary officials openly consorted with piratesincluding the notorious Edward Teach, alias Blackbeardand royal inspectors questioned the fit-ness of proprietary government. South Carolina officially split off in 1719 and received a royal governor in 1721. Ten years later, all but one of the proprietors relinquished their rights for £2,500 each, and North Carolina became a royal colony. The remaining proprietor, Lord Granville, gave up his governing rights but retained ownership of one-eighth of the original grant; the Granville District thus included more than half of the unsettled territory in the North Carolina colony.

In the decades that followed, thousands of new settlers poured into North Carolina; by 1775 the population had swollen to 345,000, making North Carolina the fourthmost populous colony. Germans and Scots-Irish trekked down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania to the Piedmont. Scottish Highlanders spread over the upper Cape Fear Valley as more Englishmen filled up the coastal plain. Backcountry settlers practiced self-sufficient farming, but eastern North Carolinians used slave labor to carve out rice and tobacco plantations. The westerners were often exploited by an eastern-dominated colonial assembly that sent corrupt and overbearing officials to govern them. Organizing in 1768 and calling themselves Regulators, unhappy westerners first petitioned for redress and then took up arms. Royal Governor William Tryon used eastern militia to crush the Regulators in a two-hour pitched battle at Alamance Creek in 1771.

The eastern leaders who dominated the assembly opposed all challenges to their authority, whether from the Regulators or from the British ministry. When England tightened its colonial administration, North Carolinians joined their fellow colonists in protests against the Stamp Act and similar impositions by Parliament. Meeting at Halifax in April 1776, the North Carolina provincial congress resolved in favor of American independence, the first colonial representative body to do so. Years later, citizens of Mecklenburg County recalled a gathering in 1775 during which their region declared independence, but subsequent historians have not verified their claim. The two dates on the North Carolina state flag nevertheless commemorate the Halifax Resolves and the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence."

Support for Britain appeared among recent Scottish immigrants, who answered the call to aid the royal governor but were ambushed by patriot militia at Moore's Creek Bridge on 27 February 1776. The incident effectively prevented a planned British invasion of the South. There was little further military action in North Carolina until late in the War for Independence, when Gen. Charles Cornwallis invaded the state from South Carolina in the fall of 1780. Guerrilla bands harassed his troops, and North Carolina militia wiped out a Loyalist detachment at King's Mountain. Pursuing the elusive American army under Gen. Nathanael Greene, Cornwallis won a costly victory at Guilford Courthouse in March 1781 but could neither eliminate his rival nor pacify the countryside. For the rest of 1781, Cornwallis wearied his men in marches and countermarches across North Carolina and Virginia before he finally succumbed to a trap set at Yorktown, Va., by an American army and a French fleet.

Numerous problems beset the new state. The government had a dire need of money, but when the victors sought to pay debts by selling land confiscated from the Loyalists, conservative lawyers objected strenuously, and a bitter political controversy ensued. Suspicious of outside control, North Carolina leaders hesitated before joining the Union. The state waited until November 1789 to ratify the US Constitutiona delay that helped stimulate the movement for adoption of a Bill of Rights. North Carolina relinquished its lands beyond the Great Smokies in 1789 (after an unsuccessful attempt by settlers to create a new state called Franklin), and thousands of North Carolinians migrated to the new western territories. The state did not share in the general prosperity of the early federal period. Poor transportation facilities hampered all efforts to expand commercial agriculture, and illiteracy remained widespread. North Carolina society came to appear so backward that some observers nicknamed it the "Rip Van Winkle state."

In 1815, state senator Archibald D. Murphey of Orange County began to press for public schools and for improved transporta-tion to open up the Piedmont. Most eastern planters resisted Murphey's suggestions, partly because they refused to be taxed for the benefit of the westerners and partly because they feared the destabilizing social effects of reform. As long as the east controlled the General Assembly, the ideas of Murphey and his sympathizers had little practical impact, but in 1835, as a result of reforms in the state constitution, the west obtained reapportionment and the political climate changed. North Carolina initiated a program of state aid to railroads and other public works, and established the first statesupported system of common schools in the South.

Like other southern whites, North Carolina's white majority feared for the security of slavery under a national Republican administration, but North Carolinians reacted to the election of Abraham Lincoln with caution. When South Carolina and six other states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America in 1861, North Carolina refused to join, instead making a futile attempt to work for a peaceful settlement of the issue. However, after the outbreak of hostilities at Ft. Sumter, S.C., and Lincoln's call for troops in April 1861, neutrality disappeared and public opinion swung to the Confederate side. North Carolina became the last state to withdraw from the Union, joining the Confederacy on 20 May 1861.

North Carolina provided more troops to the Confederacy than any other state, and its losses added up to more than one-fourth of the total for the entire South, but support for the war was mixed. State leaders resisted the centralizing tendencies of the Richmond government, and even Governor Zebulon B. Vance opposed the Confederacy's conscription policies. North Carolina became a haven for deserters from the front lines in Virginia. William W. Holden, a popular Raleigh editor, organized a peace movement when defeat appeared inevitable, and Unionist sentiment flourished in the mountain counties; nevertheless, most white North Carolinians stood by Vance and the dying Confederate cause. At the war's end, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the last major Confederate army to Gen. William T. Sherman at Bennett House near Hillsborough on 26 April 1865.

Reconstruction was marked by a bitter political and social struggle in North Carolina. United in the Conservative Party, most of the prewar slaveholding elite fought to preserve as much as possible of the former system, but a Republican coalition of blacks and nonslaveholding white Unionists defended freedmen's rights and instituted democratic reforms for the benefit of both races. After writing a new constitution in 1868, Republicans elected Holden as governor, but native whites fought back with violence and intimidation under the robes of the Ku Klux Klan. Holden's efforts to restore order were ineffectual, and when the Conservatives recaptured the General Assembly in 1870, they impeached him and removed him from office. Election of a Conservative governor in 1876 signaled the end of the Reconstruction era.

Once in power, the Conservativesor Democrats, as they renamed themselvesslashed public services and enacted legislation to guarantee the power of landlords over tenants and sharecroppers. They cooperated with the consolidation of railroads under northern ownership, and they supported a massive drive to build cotton mills on the swiftly flowing streams of the Piedmont. By 1880, industry had surpassed its prewar level. But it was not until 1900 that blacks and their white allies were entirely eliminated as contenders for political power.

As the Industrial Revolution gained ground in North Carolina, small farmers protested their steadily worsening condition. The Populist Party expressed their demands for reform, and for a brief period in the 1890s shared power with the Republican Party in the Fusion movement. Under the leadership of Charles Brantley Aycock, conservative Democrats fought back with virulent denunciations of "Negro rule" and a call for white supremacy. In 1900, voters elected Aycock governor and approved a constitutional amendment that barred all illiterates from voting, except for those whose ancestors had voted before 1867. This literacy test and "grandfather clause" effectively disenfranchised blacks, while providing a temporary loophole for uneducated whites. To safeguard white rights after 1908 (the constitutional limit for registration under the grandfather clause), Aycock promised substantial improvements in the school system to put an end to white illiteracy.

In the decades after Aycock's election, an alliance of business interests and moderate-to-conservative Democrats dominated North Carolina politics. The industrial triumvirate of textile, tobacco, and furniture manufacturers, joined by banks and insurance companies, controlled the state's economy. The Republican Party shrank to a small remnant among mountain whites as blacks were forced out of the electorate.

In the years after World War II, North Carolina took its place in the booming Sunbelt economy. The development of Research Triangle Parkequidistant from the educational facilities of Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillprovided a home for dozens of scientific and technology laboratories for government and business. New industries, some of them financed by foreign capital, appeared in formerly rural areas, and a prolonged population drain was effectively reversed.

The process of development has not been smooth or uniform, however. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a shift in employment patterns as financial and high-technology industries boomed while jobs in the state's traditional industries, notably textiles and tobacco, declined. North Carolina possessed both the largest percentage of manufacturing jobs in the country and the lowest manufacturing wages. In 1990, 30% of all jobs paid annual wages below the poverty line for a family of four, resulting in 13% of North Carolinians living below the nationally established poverty line. Despite widespread prosperity in the 1990s, North Carolina was one of only 15 states where povertyand child povertywere on the rise. The rate had climbed to 14% by 1998, and to 15.1% by 200304 (measured as a two-year average). The national poverty rate in 200304 was 12.6%.

The excellence of many of North Carolina's universities contrasted with the inferior education provided by its primary and secondary public schools. North Carolina students' SAT scores placed them last nationally in 1989. In the ongoing effort to improve the public school system, in 2000 Democratic Governor Jim Hunt's top two priorities were raising teacher pay by 6.5% and funding the Smart Start (early childhood education) program. But Hunt's stance was not popular with the state's workers, who were lobbying the governor and the General Assembly for pay raises.

Racial tensions have created divisions within the state, which has one of the highest levels of Ku Klux Klan activity in the country. While Charlotte integrated its schools peacefully in 1971 through court-ordered busing, the militancy of black activists in the late 1960s and early 1970s provoked a white backlash. That backlash, along with the identification of the Democratic party in the early 1970s with liberal causes and with opposition to the Vietnam War, helped the conservative wing of the Republican party gain popularity in a state whose six military bases had given it a hawkish tradition. In 1972, North Carolina elected its first Republican US senator (Jesse A. Helms) and governor (James E. Holshouser Jr.) since Fusion days, and Republican strength continued to build into the mid-1990s. But after 1998 elections, the state was leaning toward a more bipartisan representation: Democratic candidate John Edwards took the state's second Senate seat while conservative Republican Helms retained the other; and voters sent seven Republicans and five Democrats to represent them in the US House. In 2004, John Edwards was the Democratic Party's vice-presidential nominee; he and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry were defeated by President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard B. Cheney by a margin of 3 million popular votes. As of 2005, North Carolina was represented by two Republican senators, Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, but Democrat Michael Easley remained governor.

Rising crime rates were among the leading public policy issues in the 1990s. The state legislature enacted laws imposing tough penalties on adults who supply guns to minors, and mandating life imprisonment without parole for three-time violent offenders.

Mother Nature has posed serious problems for North Carolinians in recent times. In September 1999, successive hurricanes moved onshore, water logging the low-lying eastern part of the state. The worst flooding in North Carolina history was intensified by more rainfall in the weeks that followed. The death toll climbed to 40 while property damages and agricultural losses rose. Cleanup of the state's waterways, which were polluted by waste from pigs and other livestock as well as from flooded sewage plants, remained a major health concern. In January 2000 the same region was blanketed in record snowfalls, adding further hardships to those who were struggling to recover. A month earlier, in an emergency legislative session, the General Assembly approved Governor Jim Hunt's plan to send $836 million to flood victims. By July 2000 the federal government had approved more than $1 billion in aid to the state. But it was estimated that the conditions had put thousands of farmers permanently out of business. North Carolina experienced a harsh winter in 200203, with some of the heaviest snowfalls since 1989.

The state's agricultural producers were also facing the declining demand for tobacco. The documented health hazards of smoking, state and federal excise taxes, ongoing lawsuits, and declining exports combined to cut cigarette production (also hurting the state's manufacturing sector in the process). With Kentucky, North Carolina farmers produced more than 65% of the total US crop. The state's historical dependency on the cash crop caused lawmakers to allocate half the funds from the national tobacco settlement to tobacco communitiesto support educational and job training programs, provide employment assistance for farmers and displaced laborers, fund rural health care and social service programs, and invest in local public works and economic development projects to attract new businesses to areas that had been dependent on tobacco. The other half of the settlement was evenly divided between statewide health care and a trust fund for (former) tobacco growers and farm laborers.

Governor Mike Easley set his 2003 executive agenda on education, proposing a state lottery to fund education. In August 2005, Easley signed into law the North Carolina State Lottery Act, which enacted the North Carolina Education Lottery. One hundred percent of the net lottery proceeds will go to educational expenses, including reduced class sizes in early grades, academic pre-kindergarten programs, school construction, and scholarships for needy college and university students.

In 2005, Easley also focused on bringing more highly-skilled and high-tech jobs to the state, providing a quality transportation system for all of North Carolina, enacting strong Patients Bill of Rights legislation, helping seniors cope with the high costs of prescription drugs, promoting land and water conservation, and providing a strong environmental enforcement program.


North Carolina has operated under three constitutions, adopted in 1776, 1868, and 1971, respectively. The first was drafted hurriedly under wartime pressures and contained several inconsistencies and undemocratic features. The second, a product of Reconstruction, was written by native white Republicans and a sprinkling of blacks and northern-born Republicans. When conservative whites regained power, they left the basic framework of this constitution intact, though they added the literacy test, poll tax, and grandfather clause to it.

A century after the Civil War, the document had become unwieldy and partially obsolete. A constitutional study commission submitted to the General Assembly in 1969 a rewritten constitution, which the electorate ratified, as amended, in 1971. As of January 2005, the document had been amended a total of 34 times. One amendment permits the governor and lieutenant governor to serve a maximum of two successive four-year terms.

Under the 1971 constitution, the General Assembly consists of a 50-member Senate and a 120-member House of Representatives. Regular sessions are held in odd-numbered years, with the provision that the legislature may (and in practice, does) divide to meet in even-numbered years. Sessions begin in January and are not formally limited in length. Special sessions may be called by three-fifths petition of each house. Senators must be at least 25 years old and must have been residents of the state for at least two years and residents of their districts for at least one year prior to election. Representatives must have lived in their district for at least a year; the constitution establishes 21 as the minimum age for elective office. All members of the General Assembly serve two-year terms. The legislative salary was $13,951 in 2004, unchanged from 1999.

The governor and lieutenant governor (who run separately) must be 30 years old and a qualified voter; each must have been a US citizen for five years and a state resident for two. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $121,391. North Carolina's chief executive has powers of appointment, supervision, veto, and budgetary recommendation. The voters also elect a secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, and commissioners of agriculture, insurance, and labor; all serve four-year terms. These officials preside over their respective departments and sit with the governor and lieutenant governor as the council of state. The governor appoints the heads of the other executive departments.

Bills become law when they have passed three readings in each house of the General Assembly, and take effect 60 days after adjournment. Bills that are not signed or vetoed by the governor become law after 10 days when the legislature is in session and after 30 days if the legislature adjourns. A three-fifths vote of the elected members in each house is required to override a gubernatorial veto. Constitutional amendments may be proposed by a convention called by a two-thirds vote of both houses and a majority of the voters, or may be submitted directly to the voters by a three-fifths consent of each house. In either case, the proposed amendments must be ratified by a popular majority before becoming part of the constitution.

To vote in North Carolina a person must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, a resident of the state and county for at least 30 days prior to election day, and not registered to vote in another state. Restrictions apply to convicted felons.


Prior to the Civil War, Whigs and Democrats were the two major political groups in North Carolina. The Republican Party emerged during Reconstruction as a coalition of newly enfranchised blacks, northern immigrants, and disaffected native whites, especially from non-slaveholding areas in the mountains. The opposing Conservative Party, representing a coalition of antebellum Democrats and former Whigs, became the Democratic Party after winning the governorship in 1876; from that time and for most of the 20th century, North Carolina was practically a one-party state.

Beginning in the 1930s, however, as blacks reentered the electorate as supporters of the New Deal and the liberal measures associated with Democratic presidents, the Republican Party at-

North Carolina Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
1948 14 *Truman (D) 459,070 258,572 69,652 3,915
1952 14 Stevenson (D) 652,803 558,107
1956 14 Stevenson (D) 590,530 575,069
1960 14 *Kennedy (D) 713,136 655,420
1964 13 *Johnson (D) 800,139 624,841
1968 13 *Nixon (R) 464,113 627,192 496,188
1972 13 *Nixon (R) 438,705 1,054,889 25,018
1976 13 Carter (D) 927,365 741,960 2,219 5,607
1980 13 *Reagan (R) 875,635 915,018 9,677
1984 13 *Reagan (R) 824,287 1,346,481 3,794
1988 13 *Bush (R) 890,167 1,237,258 1,263 5,682
IND. (Perot)
1992 14 Bush (R) 1,114,042 1,134,661 5,171 357,864
1996 14 Dole (R) 1,107,849 1,225,938 8,740 168,059
2000 14 *Bush, G. W. (R) 1,257,692 1,631,163 12,307 8,874
WRITE-IN (Nader)
2004 15 *Bush, G. W. (R) 1,525,849 1,961,166 11,731 1,805

tracted new white members who objected to national Democratic policies. Republican presidential candidates picked up strength in the 1950s and 1960s, and Richard Nixon carried North Carolina in 1968 and 1972, when Republicans also succeeded in electing Governor James E. Holshouser Jr., and US Senator Jesse A. Helms. The Watergate scandal cut short this movement toward a revitalized two-party system, and in 1976, Jimmy Carter became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1964.

Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan narrowly carried North Carolina in 1980, and a second Republican senator, John P. East, was elected that year. In 1984, the Republican Party had its best election year in North Carolina. Reagan won the state by a landslide, Helms won a third termdefeating two-term Governor James B. Hunt in the most expensive race to date in Senate history (more than $26 million was spent)and Republican James G. Martin, a US representative, was elected governor, succeeding Hunt. In 1990, Helms was reelected to the Senate, defeating black mayor Harvey Gantt in a bitterly contested race. In 1996 Gantt challenged Helms again, and once again Helms was the victor. Helms subsequently announced he would not run for reelection in 2002, and Republican Elizabeth H. Dole won his seat. In 2000 and 2004, Republican George W. Bush won 56% of the presidential vote, to Democrat Al Gore's 43% (2000) and Democrat John Kerry's 44% (2004).

But by the mid-1990s the states' Democrats were influential again. In 1993 Democrat James B. Hunt returned to the governor's office after a hiatus of eight years. He was elected to his third term (having served the first two between 1977 and 1985) in the 1992 election, and went on to a fourth term following the 1996 elections. Having served the limit, Hunt was leaving the gubernatorial race open for 2000, and Democrat Mike Easley won the governorship in 2000. In 1998 elections the second US Senate seat, which had been won by Republican Lauch Faircloth in 1992, was won by Democrat John Edwards. In 2003 Edwards was running for president and had announced he would not seek reelection in 2004; the seat he vacated was won by Republican Richard Burr.

In 2004 there were 5,537,000 registered voters. In 1998, 53% of registered voters were Democratic, 34% Republican, and 14% unaffiliated or members of other parties. The state had 15 electoral votes in the 2005 presidential election, an increase of 1 vote over 2000.

Following the 2004 elections, 6 of North Carolina's 13 US Representatives were Democrats and 7 were Republicans. In mid-2005 the State Assembly had 63 Democrats and 57 Republicans, and there were 21 Republicans and 29 Democrats in the state Senate.

Minor parties have had a marked influence on the state. George Wallace's American Independent Party won 496,188 votes in 1968, placing second with more than 31% of the total vote. In 1992, Independent Ross Perot captured 14% of the vote.


As of 2005, North Carolina had 100 counties, 541 municipalities, and 319 special districts. That year the state has 120 public school systems.

Counties have been the basis of local government in North Carolina for more than 300 years, and are still the primary governmental units for most citizens. All counties are led by boards of commissioners; commissioners serve either two- or four-year terms, and most are elected at large rather than by district. Most boards elect their own chairman from among their members, but voters in some counties choose a chairman separately. More than half the counties employ a county manager to supervise day-today operations of county government. Other elected officials are the sheriff, register of deeds, and the school board. Counties are subdivided into townships, but these are for administrative convenience only; they do not exercise any independent government functions.

County and municipal governments share many functions, but the precise allocation of authority varies in each case. Although the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County share a common school system, most often schools, streets, sewers, garbage collection, police and fire protection, and other services are handled separately. Most cities use the council-manager form of government, with council members elected from the city at large. Proliferation of suburban governments was hampered by a 1972 constitutional amendment that forbids the incorporation of a new town or city within 1 mi (1.6 km) of a city of 5,000-9,999 people, within 3 mi (4.8 km) of a city of 10,000-24,999, within 4 mi (6.4 km) of a city of 25,000-49,999, and within 5 mi (8 km) of a city of 50,000 or more unless the General Assembly acts to do so by a three-fifths vote of all members of each house.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 348,179 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in North Carolina operates under executive order; the public safety director/secretary is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

The Department of Public Instruction administers state aid to local public school systems, a board of governors directs the 16 state-supported institutions of higher education, and the Department of Community Colleges administers the 58 community colleges. The Department of Cultural Resources offers a variety of educational and enrichment services to the public, maintaining historical sites, operating two major state museums, funding the North Carolina Symphony, and providing for the State Library. The Department of Transportation plans, builds, and maintains state highways; registers motor vehicles; develops airport facilities; administers public transportation activities; and operates 24 ferries.

Within the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services operates psychiatric hospitals, mental retardation centers, and alcoholic rehabilitation centers; it also coordinates mental health programs that include community mental health centers, group homes for the developmentally disabled and emotionally disturbed, shelter workshops, halfway houses, a special-care facility, and reeducation programs for emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. The Division of Social Services administers public assistance programs, and other divisions license medical facilities, promote public health, administer programs for juvenile delinquents and the vocationally handicapped, and operate a school for the blind and visually impaired and schools for the deaf. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services protects the consumer.

The Department of Crime Control and Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol and the National Guard, while the Department of Correction manages the prison system. Local law enforcement agencies receive assistance from the Department of Justice's State Bureau of Investigation. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources addresses the issues of air and water quality, coastal management, environmental health, forest and land resources, marine fisheries, wildlife resources, waste management, and the Museum of Natural Sciences. The Department of Labor administers the state Occupational Safety and Health Act; inspects boilers, elevators, amusement rides, mines, and quarries; offers conciliation, mediation, and arbitration services to settle labor disputes; and enforces state laws governing child labor, minimum wages, maximum working hours, and uniform wage payment.


North Carolina's general court of justice is a unified judicial system that includes appellate courts (Court of Appeals) and trial courts (Superior Court). District court judges are elected to four-year terms. Judges above that level are elected for eight years.

The state's highest court is the North Carolina Supreme Court, which consists of a chief justice and six associate justices. It hears cases from the Court of Appeals as well as certain cases from lower courts. The Court of Appeals comprises 12 judges who hear cases in 3-judge panels. Superior courts, in 44 districts, have original jurisdiction in most major civil and criminal cases. There are 99 superior court judges appointed by the governor to eight-year terms. All Superior Court justices rotate between the districts within their divisions. District courts try misdemeanors, civil cases involving less than $5,000, and all domestic cases. They have no juries in criminal cases, but these cases may be appealed to Supe-rior Court and be given a jury trial de novo; in civil cases, jury trial is provided on demand.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 35,434 prisoners were held in North Carolina's state and federal prisons, an increase from 33,560 of 5.6% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 2,430 inmates were female, up from 2,256 or 7.7% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), North Carolina had an incarceration rate of 357 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 447.8 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 38,244 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 355,328 reported incidents or 4,160.2 reported incidents per 100,000 people. North Carolina has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has carried out 42 executions, of which five were carried out in 2005 and three in 2006 (as of 5 May 2006). As of 1 January 2006, North Carolina had 190 inmates on death row.

In 1976, the US Supreme Court invalidated North Carolina's death penalty statute and the sentences of all inmates then on death row reverted to life imprisonment. However, the state passed a new capital punishment statute in 1977 which apparently assuaged the Court's objections. Two persons were executed in 1984the state's first executions since 1961. One of the prisoners executed that year, Velma Barfield, was the first woman executed in the United States since 1962 and the first in North Carolina since 1944.

In 2003, North Carolina spent $354,328,968 on homeland security, an average of $43 per state resident.


North Carolina holds the headquarters of the 3rd Army at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville. By population, Fort Bragg is the largest Army installation in the world, providing a home to almost 10% of the Army's active component forces. Approximately 43,000 military and 8,000 civilian personnel work at Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg hosts America's only airborne corps and airborne division, the "Green Berets" of the Special Operations Command, and the Army's largest support command. The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers and others make 100,000 parachute jumps each year at Fort Bragg. The Marine Corps Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville is home base for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Force Service Support Group and other combat units and support commands with a population of more than 41,000 Marine and Sailors. The Marine Corps air stations at Cherry Point and New River and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro are the state's other important military installations. North Carolina firms received more than $2.2 billion in defense contract awards in 2004. Additionally, defense payroll outlays, including retired military pay, were $6.5 billion. In 2002, there were 94,296 active duty military personnel and 16,444 civilian personnel stationed in North Carolina, most of whom were at Ft. Bragg.

There were 767,051 veterans living in North Carolina in 2003. Of these, 90,599 saw service in World War II; 77,617 in the Korean conflict; 225,498 during the Vietnam era; and 140,170 in the Persian Gulf War. For the fiscal year 2004, total Veterans Affairs expenditures in New Carolina exceeded $2.0 billion.

As of 31 October 2004, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol employed 1,686 full-time sworn officers.


For most of the state's history, more people have moved away every decade than have moved into the state, and population growth has come only from net natural increase. In 1850, one-third of all free, native-born North Carolinians lived outside the state, chiefly in Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, and Alabama. The state suffered a net loss of population from migration in every decade from 1870 to 1970.

Before 1890, the emigration rate was higher among whites than among blacks; since then, the reverse has been true, but the number of whites moving into North Carolina did not exceed the number of white emigrants until the 1960s. Between 1940 and 1970, 539,000 more blacks left North Carolina than moved into the state; most of these emigrants sought homes in the North and West. After 1970, however, black out-migration abruptly slackened as economic conditions in eastern North Carolina improved. Net migration to North Carolina was estimated at 278,000 (sixth among the states) from 1970 to 1980, at 83,000 (ninth among the states) from 1980 to 1983; and 347,000 (fifth among the states) from 1985 to 1990. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 501,000 in domestic migration and 49,000 in international migration. In 1998, 6,415 foreign immigrants arrived in North Carolina. The state's overall population increased 13.8% between 1990 and 1998. In the period 200005, net international migration was 158,224 and net internal migration was 232,448, for a net gain of 390,672 people.


North Carolina adheres to at least 23 interstate compacts, including 4 that promote regional planning and development. The oldest of the 4, establishing the Board of Control for Southern Regional Education, pools the resources of southern states for the support of graduate and professional schools. The Southeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact promotes regional forest conservation, while the Southern States Energy Board fosters cooperation in nuclear power development. The Southern Growth Policies Board, formed in 1971 at the suggestion of former North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford, collects and publishes data for planning purposes from its headquarters in Research Triangle Park. The Tennessee Valley Authority operates four dams in western North Carolina to aid in flood control, generate hydroelectric power, and assist navigation downstream on the Tennessee River; most of the electricity generated is exported to Tennessee. North Caroline also belongs to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Ohio River Basin Commission, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Total federal grants in fiscal year 2005 were $9.657 billion, an estimated $10.285 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $10.8 billion in fiscal year 2007.


North Carolina's economy was dominated by agriculture until the closing decades of the 19th century, with tobacco the major cash crop. Today, tobacco is still the central factor in the economy of the coastal plain. In the piedmont, industrialization accelerated after 1880 when falling crop prices made farming less attractive. During the "cotton mill crusade" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, local capitalists put spinning or weaving mills on swift streams throughout the region, until nearly every hamlet had its own factory. Under the leadership of James B. Duke, the American Tobacco Co. (now American Brands, with headquarters in New York City) expanded from its Durham headquarters during this same period to control, for a time, virtually the entire US market for smoking products. After native businessmen had established a successful textile boom, New England firms moved south in an effort to cut costs, and the piedmont became a center of southern industrial development.

As more and more Tar Heels left agriculture for the factory, their per capita income rose from 47% of the national average in 1930 to slightly less than 100% of the national average in 2000. The biggest employers are the textile and furniture industries. State government has made a vigorous effort to recruit outside investment and to improve the state's industrial mix. Major new firms now produce electrical equipment, processed foods, technical instruments, fabricated metals, plastics, and chemicals. The greatest industrial growth, however, has come not from wholly new industries, but from fields related to industries that were firmly established. Apparel manufacture spread across eastern North Carolina as an obvious extension of the textile industry, while other new firms produced chemicals and machinery for the textile and furniture business. Manufacturing remains the dominant sector in the state's economy, peaking at an output of nearly $62 billion (23.8% of total output) in 1999, as the overall state economy grew at a rate of 8.8% in 1998 and 8% in 1999. A decline in manufacturing output of 4.9% by 2001 was accompanied by declining overall growth rates, of 4.7% in 2000, and 0.98% in the national recession of 2001. While the nation's unemployment rose 1.4 percentage points between the third quarter 1999 and third quarter 2002, the rise in North Carolina over this period was 6.4%, reflecting mainly layoffs in its manufacturing sector.

North Carolina's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 totaled $336.398 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) accounted for $72.295 billion or 21.4% of GSP, followed by the real estate sector, at $32.848 billion (9.7% of GSP), and healthcare and social assistance services, at $19.862 billion (5.9% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 671,810 small businesses in North Carolina. Of the 182,598 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 179,008 or 98% were small companies. An estimated 23,387 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 4.1% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 22,055, down 5.1% from 2003. There were 486 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 8% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 464 filings per 100,000 people, ranking North Carolina 33rd in the nation.


In 2005 North Carolina had a gross state product (GSP) of $345 billion which accounted for 2.8% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 12 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 North Carolina had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $29,322. This ranked 38th in the United States and was 89% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 3.7%. North Carolina had a total personal income (TPI) of $250,426,537,000, which ranked 13th in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.7% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.5%. Earnings of persons employed in North Carolina increased from $181,840,239,000 in 2003 to $193,812,229,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.6%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $39,000 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 14.8% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in North Carolina numbered 4,396,000, with approximately 189,800 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 4.3%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 3,962,200. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in North Carolina was 10.2% in February 1983. The historical low was 3.1% in April 1999. Preliminary non-farm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 6% of the labor force was employed in construction; 14.1% in manufacturing; 18.4% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5.1% in financial activities; 11.3% in professional and business services; 11.9% in education and health services; 9.1% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17% in government.

North Carolina working conditions have brought the state considerable notoriety over the years. North Carolina is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law, and public officials are legally barred from negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.

The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 107,000 of North Carolina's 3,631,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 2.9% of those so employed, up from 2.7% in 2004, well below the national average of 12% and the second-lowest in the United States. Overall in 2005, a total of 143,000 workers (3.9%) in North Carolina were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. North Carolina is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, North Carolina had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 46.3% of the employed civilian labor force.


Farm marketings in North Carolina totaled $7.7 billion in 2005, eighth among the 50 states, with 34% from crop marketings. North Carolina led the nation in the production of tobacco and sweet potatoes, ranked fifth in peanuts, and was also a leading producer of corn, grapes, pecans, apples, tomatoes, and soybeans. Farm life plays an important role in the culture of the state.

The number of farms fell from 301,000 in 1950 to 52,000 in 2004, while the number of acres in farms declined from 17,800,000 to 9,000,000 (7,203,000 to 3,642,000 hectares). At 173 acres (70 hectares), the average North Carolina farm was only 39% the size of the average US farma statistic that in part reflects the smaller acreage requirements of tobacco, the state's principal crop. The relatively large number of family farm owner-operators who depend on a modest tobacco allotment to make their small acreages profitable is the basis for North Carolina's opposition to the US government's antismoking campaign and its fight to preserve tobacco price supports.

Although farm employment continues to decline, a significant share of North Carolina jobsperhaps more than one-thirdare still linked to agriculture either directly or indirectly. North Carolina's most heavily agricultural counties are massed in the coastal plain, the center of tobacco, corn, and soybean production, along with a bank of northern piedmont counties on the Virginia border. Virtually all peanut production is in the eastern part of the state, while tobacco, corn, and soybean production spills over into the piedmont. Cotton is grown in scattered counties along the South Carolina border and in a band leading northward across the coastal plain. Beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, and blueberries are commercial crops in selected mountain and coastal plain locations. Apples are important to the economy of the mountains, and the sand hills are a center of peach cultivation.

In 2004, tobacco production was 351,630,000 lb (159,496,685 kg), 40% of US production. Production and value data for North Carolina's other principal crops were as follows: corn, 86,580,000 bushels, $203,463,000; soybeans, 51,000,000 bushels, $257,550,000; peanuts, 357,000,000 lb, $77,112,000; and sweet potatoes, 6,880,000 hundredweight, $92,880,000.


North Carolina farms and ranches had an estimated 870,000 cattle and calves in 2005, valued at $661.2 million. In 2004, the state had around 9.8 million hogs and pigs, valued at $823.2 million. During 2003, North Carolina led the nation in turkey production with 1.1 billion lb (0.5 billion kg) of turkey, worth $397.8 million; the state was fourth in broiler production with 4.3 billion lb (2 billion kg), worth $1.51 billion; egg production totaled 2.52 billion eggs, worth $241.8 million. Milk cows numbered 61,000 in 2003 and they produced 1.04 million lb (0.48 million kg) of milk.


In 2004, the commercial catch in North Carolina totaled over 136.4 million lb (62 million kg) valued at $77.1 million. The record landing for the state was in 1981, with a total of 432 million lb. Flounder, menhaden, and sea trout are the most valuable finfish; shrimp, crabs, and clams are the most sought-after shellfish. In 2004, the state catch for hard blue crab accounted for 20% of the total national supply, the second-highest percentage in the nation (after Louisiana). The port at Beaufort-Morehead City ranked 19th in the nation for volume, with a catch of 63.5 million lb (28.9 million kg).

In 2003, there were 31 processing and 78 wholesale plants in the state with about 1,471 employees. In 2001, the commercial fleet had 773 vessels.

North Carolina lakes and streams are stocked in part by three state fish hatcheries and two national hatcheries within the state (Edenton and KcKinney Lake). In 2004, the state issued 692,497 sport fishing licenses.


As of 2004, forests covered 18,269,000 acres (6,179,000 hectares) in North Carolina, or about 59% of the state's land area. North Carolina's forests constitute 2.5% of all US forestland, and 97% of the state's wooded areas have commercial value. The largest tracts are found along the coast and in the Western Mountains, where most counties are more than 70% tree-covered. Hardwoods make up 53% of the state's forests. Mixed stands of oak and pine account for an additional 14%. The remaining 33% is pine and other conifers. More than 90% of the acreage harvested for timber is reforested.

National forests cover 6% of North Carolina's timberlands, and state and local governments own another 2%. The remainder is privately owned. In the days of wooden sailing vessels, North Carolina pine trees supplied large quantities of "naval stores"tar, pitch, and turpentine for waterproofing and other nautical purposes. Today, the state produces mainly saw logs, pulpwood, veneer logs, and Christmas trees.

In 2004, lumber production totaled 2.62 billion board feet, eighth in the United States and 5.3% of national production.


According to data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the value of nonfuel mineral production by North Carolina in 2004 was $805 million, an increase from 2003 of about 9.7%. The USGS data ranked North Carolina as 21st among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for about 2% of total US output.

According to the data for 2004, crushed stone was the state's top nonfuel mineral produced, accounting for 68% by value of all nonfuel mineral output that year. It was followed by phosphate rock, construction sand and gravel, industrial sand and gravel, feldspar, dimension stone, common clays and mica. By volume, North Carolina was the leading state in the production of feldspar, common clays, mica, olivine, and pyrophyllite, of which the state was the sole producer. The state also ranked third in phosphate rock output, seventh in the production of industrial sand and gravel, and eighth in crushed stone.

Crushed stone production in 2004 totaled 72.3 million metric tons and was valued at $548 million, while construction sand and gravel output that year totaled 11.5 million metric tons, with a value of $59.7 million. Industrial sand and gravel production in 2004 totaled 1.630 million metric tons and was valued at $29 million. Feldspar output totaled 351,000 metric tons and was valued at $20.5 million. Dimension stone production in 2004 came to 43,000 metric tons and was valued at $18.2 million.

North Carolina in 2004 was ranked 11th in the production (by value) of gemstones.


As of 2003, North Carolina had 111 electrical power service providers, of which 72 were publicly owned and 32 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, three were investor owned, one was fed-erally operated and three were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 4,365,692 retail customers. Of that total, 2,934,296 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 892,553 customers, while publicly owned providers had 538,836 customers. There were four federal customers and three were independent generator or "facility" customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 27.263 million kW, with total production that same year at 127.582 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 92.8% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 74.776 billion kWh (58.6%), came from natural gas fired plants, with nuclear power generation in second place at 40.906 billion kWh (32.1%) and hydroelectric plants in third at 7.200 billion kWh (5.6%). Other renewable power sources, pumped storage facilities, petroleum and natural gas fired plants, and other types of generation accounted for the remainder.

As of 2006, North Carolina had three operating nuclear power stations: the Brunswick plant in Brunswick County; the McGuire plant near Charlotte; and the Shearon-Harris plant near Raleigh.

No petroleum or natural gas has been found in North Carolina, but major companies have expressed interest in offshore drilling. The state has no refineries. There is also no coal mining, and proven coal reserves are minor, at only 10.7 million short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).


North Carolina has had a predominantly industrial economy for most of the 20th century. Today, the state is a major manufacturer of textiles, cigarettes, and furniture, as well as of chemicals and allied products, industrial machinery, food products, electronics/electrical equipment, and rubber and plastics products.

The industrial regions of North Carolina spread out from the piedmont cities. Roughly speaking, each movement outward represents a step down in the predominant level of skills and wages and a step closer to the primary processing of raw materials.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, North Carolina's manufacturing sector covered some 20 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $163.838 billion. Of that total, chemical manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $26.387 billion. It was followed by beverage and tobacco product manufacturing at $24.029 billion; food manufacturing at $15.294 billion; transportation equipment manufacturing at $14.360 billion; and machinery manufacturing at $9.664 billion.

In 2004, a total of 550,217 people in North Carolina were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 411,087 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the furniture and related product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 59,457, with 48,753 actual production workers. It was followed by food manufacturing at 54,848 employees (41,503 actual production workers); textile mills at 52,459 employees (44,442 actual production workers); plastics and rubber products manufacturing at 39,711 employees (30,816 actual production workers); and fabricated metal product manufacturing with 38,355 employees (29,699 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that North Carolina's manufacturing sector paid $19.861 billion in wages. Of that amount, the chemical manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $1.882 billion. It was followed by furniture and related product manufacturing at $1.632 billion; food manufacturing at $1.558 billion; textile mills at $1.509 billion; and computer and electronic product manufacturing at $1.488 billion.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, North Carolina's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $104.3 billion from 11,913 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 7,300 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 3,535 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 1,078 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $45.1 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $43.3 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $15.8 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, North Carolina was listed as having 35,851 retail establishments with sales of $88.8 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: gasoline stations (4,818); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (4,589); clothing and clothing accessories stores (4,508); miscellaneous store retailers (4,044); and food and beverage stores (3,814). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $24.1 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $12.7 billion; general merchandise stores at $12.2 billion; and gasoline stations at $8.3 billion. A total of 435,421 people were employed by the retail sector in North Carolina that year.

The state ports at Wilmington and Morehead City handle a growing volume of international trade. In 2005, North Carolina exported $19.4 billion worth of its goods to foreign markets (14th in the United States).


Consumer protection issues in North Carolina are the responsibility of the Consumer Protection Division, which is a function of the state's Attorney General, both of which are part of the North Carolina Department of Justice. The Division has as its function the protection of North Carolina consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices and from dishonest and unethical business competition. Although it assists in the resolution of disputes, investigates cases of consumer fraud, and initiates action to halt proscribed trade practices, it does not represent individual consumers in court. It also represents the public before the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General can initiate civil and to a limited extent, criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The offices of the Consumer Protection Division are located in Raleigh.


As of June 2005, North Carolina had 108 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 84 state-chartered and 48 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 43 institutions and $90.216 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 3.5% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $21.984 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 96.5% or $607.160 billion in assets held.

In 2004, the median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) was 3.67%, up from 3.65% in 2003. The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans in 2004 was 1.23%, down from 1.58% in 2003.

Regulation of state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions is the responsibility of the Office of the Commissioner of Banks and the North Carolina Banking Commission.


In 2004, there were over 6.5 million individual life insurance policies in force, with a total value of over $390 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $604 billion. The average coverage amount is $59,300 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $1.66 billion.

As of 2003, there were 70 property and casualty and 6 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $10.6 billion. That year, there were 109,097 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $19.4 billion.

In 2004, 52% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 5% held individual policies, and 24% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 17% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 16% for single coverage and 28% for family coverage. The state offers an 18-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 6.2 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Of those, 23% (over 1.4 million) were issued through the shared market, a system of insurance companies assigned by the state to offer coverage to high risk drivers. Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, North Carolina has the highest percentage of insureds in the shared market. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $30,000 per individual and $60,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $25,000. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $604.75.


There are no securities exchanges in North Carolina. The Securities Division of the Office of Secretary of State is authorized to protect the public against fraudulent issues and sellers of securities. In 2005, there were 3,240 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 4,720 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 167 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 65 NASDAQ companies, 39 NYSE listings, and 6 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 14 Fortune 500 companies; Bank of America Corp. (based in Charlotte) ranked first in the state and 12th in the nation with revenues of over $83.9 billion, followed by Lowe's, based in Mooresville, and Wachovia Corp., Duke Energy, and Nucor, all based in Charlotte. All five of these companies are listed on the NYSE.


The North Carolina budget is prepared biennially by the governor and reviewed annually by the Office of State Budget and Management, in consultation with the Advisory Budget Commission, an independent agency composed of five gubernatorial appointees, five members from the Senate, and five from the House of Representatives. It is then submitted to the General Assembly for amendment and approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 July to 30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $17.4 billion for resources and $17.3 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to North Carolina were $12.6 billion.


In 2005, North Carolina collected $18,640 million in tax revenues or $2,147 per capita, which placed it 25th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 24.7% of the total; selective sales taxes, 16.2%; individual income taxes, 45.2%; corporate income taxes, 6.8%; and other taxes, 7.1%.

As of 1 January 2006, North Carolina had four individual income tax brackets ranging from 6.0 to 8.25%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 6.9%.

In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $6,093,170,000 or $713 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 38th highest nationally. North Carolina does not collect property taxes at the state level.

North Carolina taxes retail sales at a rate of 4.50%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 3%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 7.50%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is exempt from state tax, but subject to local taxes. The tax on cigarettes is 30 cents per pack, which ranks 45th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. North Carolina taxes gasoline at 30.15 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, North Carolina citizens received $1.10 in federal spending.

North CarolinaState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 44,371,161 5,195.69
  General revenue 32,951,167 3,858.45
    Intergovernmental revenue 11,608,798 1,359.34
    Taxes 16,836,454 1,971.48
      General sales 4,351,822 509.58
      Selective sales 2,917,379 341.61
      License taxes 1,017,247 119.12
      Individual income tax 7,510,978 879.51
      Corporate income tax 837,085 98.02
      Other taxes 201,943 23.65
    Current charges 2,794,075 327.18
    Miscellaneous general revenue 1,711,840 200.45
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 11,419,994 1,337.24
Total expenditure 37,050,568 4,338.47
  Intergovernmental expenditure 10,326,743 1,209.22
  Direct expenditure 26,723,825 3,129.25
    Current operation 18,871,108 2,209.73
    Capital outlay 2,961,676 346.80
    Insurance benefits and repayments 3,939,093 461.25
    Assistance and subsidies 511,322 59.87
    Interest on debt 440,626 51.60
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 6,142,326 719.24
Total expenditure 37,050,568 4,338.47
  General expenditure 33,009,076 3,865.23
    Intergovernmental expenditure 10,326,743 1,209.22
    Direct expenditure 22,682,333 2,656.01
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 13,290,923 1,556.31
    Public welfare 8,755,747 1,025.26
    Hospitals 1,107,043 129.63
    Health 1,274,446 149.23
    Highways 3,198,090 374.48
    Police protection 378,278 44.29
    Correction 1,041,109 121.91
    Natural resources 516,959 60.53
    Parks and recreation 151,009 17.68
    Government administration 764,436 89.51
    Interest on general debt 440,626 51.60
    Other and unallocable 2,090,410 244.78
  Utility expenditure 102,399 11.99
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 3,939,093 461.25
Debt at end of fiscal year 14,102,900 1,651.39
Cash and security holdings 73,703,368 8,630.37


North Carolina's government has actively stimulated economic growth ever since the beginning of the 19th century. During the administration of Governor Luther H. Hodges (195461), the state began to recruit outside investment directly, developing such forward-looking facilities as Research Triangle Park. Since the 1970s, other policies and legislation have been aimed at the fostering of development in rural areas, where per capita income is lower and unemployment is higher than elsewhere in the state. In 1996, under the administration of Governor James B. Hunt, the General Assembly adopted the William S. Lee Quality Jobs and Business Expansion Act. The act groups North Carolina's counties into Enterprise Tiers, and provides for graduated tax credit amounts, depending upon Enterprise Tier location, for specific company activities including job creation, machinery and equipment investment, worker training, and research and development. The North Carolina Economic Development Board's goal has been to help the transformation of the economy from manufacturing to more high-technology enterprises.

The state also actively participates in programs involving industrial revenue bonds, state and federally assisted loan and grant programs, business energy loans, and assistance to local communities with shell buildings that can be customized to meet the needs of a company in a shorter period of time. The Business and Industry ServiCenter is a one-stop information and resource center for businesses.


Health conditions and health care facilities in North Carolina vary widely from region to region. In the larger cities-and especially in proximity to the excellent medical schools at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, quality health care is as readily available as anywhere in the United States.

The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 8.4 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 14.1 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 21 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 84.5% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 82% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 8.7 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 222.6; cancer, 194.8; cerebrovascular diseases, 63.2; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 44.2; and diabetes, 26.5. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 5.8 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 13.3 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 54.5% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 23.1% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, North Carolina had 113 community hospitals with about 23,300 beds. There were about 987,000 patient admissions that year and 14.5 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 16,600 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,020. Also in 2003, there were about 423 certified nursing facilities in the state with 43,022 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 88.2%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 69.4% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. North Carolina had 252 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 831 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there was a total of 3,903 dentists in the state.

The state acted to increase the supply of doctors in eastern North Carolina in the 1970s by the establishment of a new medical school at East Carolina University in Greenville. Medical schools and superior medical research facilities are also located at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, UNC Hospitals at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. In 2005, Duke University Medical Center ranked eighth on the Honor Roll of Best Hospitals 2005 by U.S. News & World Report. In the same report, the hospital ranked fourth in the nation for best care in heart disease and heart surgery, sixth for best care in cancer, and in the top 20 for pediatric care.

About 17% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 14% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 17% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $10.5 million.


In 2004, about 273,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $256. For 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 799,747 persons (343,397 households); the average monthly benefit was about $89.21 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $856 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. North Carolina's TANF program is called Work First. In 2004, the state program had 77,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $136 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 1,467,400 North Carolina residents. This number included 910,400 retired workers, 131,150 widows and widowers, 236,680 disabled workers, 59,010 spouses, and 130,160 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 17.2% of the total state population and 94.7% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $934; widows and widowers, $828; disabled workers, $877; and spouses, $464. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $480 per month; children of deceased workers, $606; and children of disabled workers, $263. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 195,654 North Carolinians, averaging $359 a month. An additional $10.8 of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 24,056 residents.


In 2004, there were an estimated 3,860,078 units of housing in North Carolina, of which 3,340,330 were occupied; 69% were owner-occupied. About 64.7% of all housing units were single-family, detached homes. The state had one of the highest percentages of mobile home units in the nation at 16.8%. Nearly 36% of the entire housing stock was built between 1970 and 1989. The most common energy source for heating was electricity. It was estimated that 183,095 units lacked telephone service, 11,661 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 11,745 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.48 members.

Also in 2004, 93,100 new privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $117,771. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,028. renters paid a median of $610 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of $679,942 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $45 million in community development block grants.


North Carolina's commitment to education was strengthened with legislative and financial support for improving student achievement through high standards; teacher accountability; an emphasis on teaching the basics of reading, writing and mathematics; and moving state control of schools to the local, community level. Legislation passed in 1996 allowed for the state's first public charter schools, up to 100 of them, and the first ones approved began operating in 1997. In 2004, 80.9% of North Carolinians age 25 and older were high school graduates, lower than the national average of 84%. Some 23.4% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher; the national average was 26%.

North Carolina has a rich educational history, having started the first state university in the United States, in 1795, and the first free system of common schools in the South in 1839. North Carolina led the nation in the construction of rural schools in the 1920s. In 1957, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem were the first cities in the South to admit black students voluntarily to formerly all-white schools. But, as was the case throughout the South, widespread desegregation took much longer. In 1971, the US Supreme Court, in the landmark decision Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, upheld the use of busing to desegregate that school system. The remainder of the state soon followed suit.

North Carolina established a statewide testing program in 1977 and increased high school graduation requirements in 1983, becoming the first state to require that students pass Algebra I in order to earn a diploma. North Carolina has been active in providing special programs for gifted students. Governor's School, a summer residential program for the gifted, was founded in 1963. Other talented students are served by the highly regarded North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, which began operating in 1965, and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, located in Durham, which opened in 1980.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in North Carolina's public schools stood at 1,336,000. Of these, 964,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 372,000 attended high school. Approximately 58.3% of the students were white, 31.6% were black, 6.7% were Hispanic, 2% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.5% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 1,355,000 in fall 2003 and was expected to be 1,381,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 3.3% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $10.2 billion. In fall 2003, there were 102,642 students enrolled in 661 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in North Carolina scored 282 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 447,335 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 28.5% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 North Carolina had 130 degree-granting institutions. The University of North Carolina (UNC) was chartered in 1789 and opened at Chapel Hill in 1795. The state university system now embraces 16 campuses under a common board of governors. The three oldest and largest campuses, all of which offer research and graduate as well as undergraduate programs, are UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University in Raleigh (the first land-grant college for the study of agriculture and engineering), and UNC-Greensboro. North Carolina had 58 community colleges and 1 specialized technology center as of 2005.

Duke University in Durham is North Carolina's premier private institution and takes its place with the Chapel Hill and Raleigh public campuses as the third key facility in the Research Triangle. In addition to the public institutions and community colleges, there are also 49 private, four-year schools, of which Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem and Davidson College in Davidson are most noteworthy.


North Carolina has been a pioneer in exploring new channels for state support of the arts. It was the first state to fund its own symphony, to endow its own art museum, to found a state school of the arts, to create a statewide arts council, and to establish a cabinet-level Department of Cultural Resources. The North Carolina Arts Council was established in 1964 and as of 2006 it was providing 1,000 grants annually to nonprofit organizations and artists. The council was instrumental in funding two of the first arts-based curriculum experiments in the state. The Arts Council's Grassroots Arts Program, established in 1977, was the nation's first per capita funding program for the local arts initiatives in which decision-making remained at the local level.

In 2005, North Carolina arts organizations received 41 grants totaling $1,535,926 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The North Carolina Humanities Council (NCHC), founded in 1972, is active in a number of programs. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $2,475,754 to 29 state programs.

The North Carolina Symphony, based in Raleigh, is noted for having one of the most extensive educational programs of any orchestra nationwide. As of the 2006/07 season, its 75th anniversary, the North Carolina Symphony performed approximately 55 free concerts for more than 100,000 children annually. The North Carolina Museum of Art features one of the finest collections of early European master paintings in the country. The museum's collection spans 5,000 years and includes work by Dutch masters, Renaissance masterpieces, Egyptian artifacts, classical statues, and tribal and contemporary art. In 2005, the museum received a gift of 23 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin, including 22 bronze sculptures. The gift made the museum one of the top Rodin repositories worldwide; the works of art were to be on display in new galleries that were part of a $75 million expansion project, scheduled to be completed in 2008.

Summer dance and music festivals, as well as professional theaters and historical outdoor dramas, galleries and museums, and the crafts community all serve as anchors for the state's tourism industry. North Carolina's Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green created the genre of historical drama with the 1937 production of The Lost Colony.

Based for 20 years in Durham, the American Dance Festival (ADF) has commissioned new dance works, preserved dance history, trained dancers, and presented the best in contemporary dance. The African American Dance Ensemble, established in 1984 and based in North Carolina, performs for people across the United States promoting the preservation of African and African American dance. In 1961 Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated the state theater of North Carolina.

Folk and traditional arts thrive across North Carolina in all disciplines. The North Carolina Folk Heritage Awards are given to recognize the state's leading folk artists. Penland School of Crafts, the John C. Campbell Folk School, the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, and the North Carolina Pottery Center are but a few of the organizations in North Carolina that help to keep the craft traditions alive.


For the fiscal year ending in June 2001, North Carolina had 76 public library systems, with 379 libraries, of which 314 were branches. Libraries, in nearly every North Carolina community, are linked together through the State Library, ensuring that users in all parts of the state can have access to printed, filmed, and recorded materials. In that same year, the state's 76 public library systems had 15,916,000 volumes of books and serial publications on their shelves, and a total circulation of 43,313,000. The system also had 521,000 audio and 438,000 video items, 68,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 47 bookmobiles. Major university research libraries are located at the Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Greensboro campuses of the University of North Carolina and at Duke University in Durham. The North Carolina Collection and Southern Historical Collection at the Chapel Hill campus are especially noteworthy. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the public system totaled $156,375,000 and included $1,334,000 in federal grants and $17,910,000 in state grants.

North Carolina had 188 museums and historical sites in 2000. Established in 1956, the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh, is one of only two state-supported art museums in the United States (the other is in Virginia); the museum had an attendance of 233,893 in 1999. The North Carolina Museum of History is in Raleigh, with an annual attendance of 239,642. The Department of Cultural Resources administers 20 state historical sites and Try-on Place Restoration in New Bern. The Museum of Natural History in Raleigh is maintained by the state Department of Agriculture; smaller science museums exist in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Durham.


Government postal service in North Carolina began in 1755 but did not become regular until 1771, with the establishment of a central post office for the southern colonies. Mails were slow and erratic, and many North Carolinians continued to entrust their letters to private travelers until well into the 19th century. Rural free delivery in the state began on 23 October 1896 in Rowan County.

Telephone service began in Wilmington and Raleigh in October 1879, and long distance connections between Wilmington and Petersburg, Va., began later that same year. In 2004, 93.3% of the state's occupied housing units had telephones. In addition, by June of that same year there were 4,875,916 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 57.7% of North Carolina households had a computer and 51.1% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 1,237,877 high-speed lines in North Carolina, 1,124,284 residential and 113,593 for business.

There were 50 major AM radio stations in North Carolina in 2005, and 106 major FM stations. Major television stations numbered 33. In 1999, the Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson area had 732,490 television households, 61% of which received cable. The Raleigh-Durham area had 858,490 television-viewing households, 62% of which had cable. Finally, the Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem viewing area boasted 64% of all television households with cable.

A total of 120,858 Internet domain names were registered in the state in the year 2000.


As of 2005, North Carolina had 34 morning newspapers, 13 evening dailies, and 39 Sunday papers.

The following table shows the circulation of the largest dailies as of 2005:

Charlotte Observer (m,S) 226,082 278,573
Greensboro News & Record (m,S) 90,436 111,257
Raleigh News & Observer (m,S) 176,550 211,735
Winston-Salem Journal (m,S) 84,459 95,179

The Charlotte Observer won a 1981 Pulitzer Prize for its series on brown lung disease. The (Raleigh) News & Observer won a 1996 Pulitzer Prize for its series on the hog industry in North Carolina.

North Carolina has been the home of several nationally recognized "little reviews" of literature, poetry, and criticism, including The Rebel, Crucible, Southern Poetry Review, The Carolina Quarterly, St. Andrews Review, The Sun, Pembroke Magazine, and Miscellany. The North Carolina Historical Review is a quarterly scholarly publication of the Division of Archives and History.


In 2006, there were 8,500 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 6,404 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations.

The North Carolina Citizens Association serves as the voice of the state's business community. A teachers' organization, the North Carolina Association of Educators, is widely acknowledged as one of the most effective political pressure groups in the state, as is the North Carolina State Employees Association. Every major branch of industry has its own trade association; most are highly effective lobbying bodies. Carolina Action, the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group, the Kudzu Alliance, and the Brown Lung Association represent related consumer, environmental, antinuclear power, and public health concerns.

National organizations headquartered in the state include the American Board of Pediatrics, Association of Professors of Medicine, the American Senior Citizens Association, the Institute for Southern Studies, the Tobacco Association of the United States, the US Power Squadrons, the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the World Methodist Council, and the Center for Creative Leadership. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is based in Charlotte.

Cultural and educational organizations at the local and national levels include the American Dance Festival, the Appalachian Consortium, the Moravian Music Foundation, Art in the Public Interest, the Center for Urban and Regional Studies, the National Humanities Center, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and Preservation North Carolina. There are several clan associations for those of Scottish heritage.


North Carolina promotes itself as "the heart of motorsports." Raleigh and Charlotte are right in the heart of NASCAR racing. In 2002, there were 44.4 million visitors to North Carolina, with total travel expenditures reaching $11.9 billion. About 30% of all trips are made by residents traveling within the state. About 53% of visitors travel from the following states: Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York, Maryland, and Ohio.

Tourists are attracted by North Carolina's coastal beaches (301 miles of coastline); by golf and tennis opportunities; and by parks and scenery in the North Carolina mountains. Sites of special interest are the Revolutionary War battlegrounds at Guilford Courthouse and Moore's Creek Bridge; Bennett Place, near Hillsborough, where the last major Confederate army surrendered; Ft. Raleigh, the site of the Lost Colony's misadventures; and the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk. With more than 600 golf courses across the state, North Carolina is often nicknamed the "Golf Capital of the World." North Carolina is the home of three United States presidents; Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.

Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout national seashores, which protect the beauty of the Outer Banks, together cover 58,563 acres (23,700 hectares). The Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic motor route operated by the National Park Service that winds over the crest of the Blue Ridge in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, attracts millions of visitors to North Carolina yearly. There are 300 mi (500 km) of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. Another popular attraction, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee border. There are more than 1.2 million acres of national forest land located in North Carolina, 1,500 lakes of 10 acres or more, and 37,000 miles of freshwater streams. North Carolina was first settled by residents of Scotland and still maintains its Scottish heritage with festivals and crafts.


There are four major professional sports teams in North Carolina: the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, and the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League, who relocated to Raleigh from Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997. The Charlotte Hornets, now located in New Orleans, left North Carolina in 2002. Minor league baseball's Carolina League is based in North Carolina, and 14 minor league teams call the state home. Additionally, there is minor league hockey in Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Winston-Salem. Two other professional sports that figure prominently in the state are golf and stock-car racing. The Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in April is a major tournament on the Professional Golfers' Association tour. The Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte is the home of the Nextel All-Star Challenge, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Bank of America 500 on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit.

College basketball is the ruling passion of amateur sports fans in North Carolina. Organized in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Wake Forest University, and Duke University consistently field nationally ranked basketball teams. North Carolina won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship in 1957, 1982, 1993, and 2005, North Carolina State captured the title in 1974 and 1983, and Duke won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992, and in 2001.

Other annual sporting events include the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Southern Pines in April and the National Hollerin' Contest in Spivey's Corner, which tests farmers' ability to call livestock.

Track and field star Marion Jones and boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard were born in North Carolina.


Three US presidents had North Carolina roots, but all three reached the White House from Tennessee. Andrew Jackson (17671845), the seventh president, was born in an unsurveyed border region, probably in South Carolina, but studied law and was admitted to the bar in North Carolina before moving to frontier Tennessee in 1788. James K. Polk (17951849), the 11th president, was born in Mecklenburg County but grew up in Tennessee. Another native North Carolinian, Andrew Johnson (180875), was a tailor's apprentice in Raleigh before moving to Tennessee at the age of 18. Johnson served as Abraham Lincoln's vice president for six weeks in 1865 before becoming the nation's 17th president when Lincoln was assassinated. William Rufus King (17861853), the other US vice president from North Carolina, also served for only six weeks, dying before he could exercise his duties.

Three native North Carolinians have served as speaker of the US House of Representatives. The first, Nathaniel Macon (17581837), occupied the speaker's chair from 1801 to 1807 and served as president pro tem of the US Senate in 182627. The other two were James K. Polk and Joseph G. "Uncle Joe" Cannon (18361926), who served as speaker of the House from 1903 to 1911, but as a representative from Illinois.

Sir Walter Raleigh (or Ralegh, b.England, 1552?1618) never came to North Carolina, but his efforts to found a colony there led state lawmakers to give his name to the new state capital in 1792. Raleigh's "Lost Colony" on Roanoke Island was the home of Virginia Dare (1587?), the first child of English parents to be born in America. More than a century later, the infamous Edward Teach (or Thatch, b.England, ?1716) made his headquarters at Bath and terrorized coastal waters as the pirate known as Blackbeard.

Principal leaders of the early national period included Richard Caswell (b.Maryland, 172989), Revolutionary War governor; William Richardson Davie (b.England, 17561820), governor of the state and founder of the University of North Carolina; and Archibald De Bow Murphey (17771832), reform advocate, legislator, and judge. Prominent black Americans of the 19th century who were born or who lived in North Carolina were John Chavis (17631838), teacher and minister; David Walker (17851830), abolitionist; and Hiram Revels (18271901), first black member of the US Senate.

North Carolinians prominent in the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction included antislavery author Hinton Rowan Helper (18291909), Civil War governor Zebulon B. Vance (183094), Reconstruction governor William W. Holden (181892), and "carpetbagger" judge Albion Winegar Tourgee (b.Ohio, 18381905). Among major politicians of the 20th century are Furnifold McLendell Simmons (18541940), US senator from 1901 to 1931; Charles Brantley Aycock (18591912), governor from 1901 to 1905; Frank Porter Graham (18861972), University of North Carolina president, New Deal adviser, and US senator, 194950; Luther H. Hodges (b.Virginia, 18981974), governor from 1954 to 1960, US secretary of commerce from 1961 to 1965, and founder of Research Triangle Park; Samuel J. Ervin Jr. (18961985), US senator from 1954 to 1974 and chairman of the Senate Watergate investigation; Terry Sanford (191798), governor from 1961 to 1965, US presidential aspirant, and president of Duke University; and Jesse Helms (b.1921), senator from 1973 to 2003. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson (b.1941) began his career as a student activist in Greensboro. The most famous North Carolinian living today is probably evangelist Billy Graham (b.1918).

James Buchanan Duke (18561925) founded the American Tobacco Co. and provided the endowment that transformed Trinity College into Duke University. The most outstanding North Carolina-born inventor was Richard J. Gatling (18181903), creator of the "Gatling gun," the first machine gun. The Wright brothers, Wilbur (b.Indiana, 18671912) and Orville (b.Ohio, 18711948), achieved the first successful powered airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks, on 17 December 1903. Psychologist Joseph Banks Rhine (b.Pennsylvania, 18951980) was known for his research on extrasensory perception. Kary Mullis, 1993 winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry, was born in Lenoir, North Carolina.

A number of North Carolinians have won fame as literary figures. They include Walter Hines Page (18551918), editor and diplomat; William Sydney Porter (18621910), a short-story writer who used the pseudonym O. Henry; playwright Paul Green (18941984); and novelists Thomas Wolfe (190038) and Reynolds Price (b.1933). Major scholars associated with the state have included sociologist Howard W. Odum (b.Georgia, 18841954) and historians W. J. Cash (190141) and John Hope Franklin (b.Oklahoma, 1915). Journalists Edward R. Murrow (190865), Tom Wicker (b.1926), and Charles Kuralt (193497) were all North Carolina natives. Harry Golden (Harry L. Goldhurst, b.New York, 190381), a Jewish humorist, founded the Carolina Israelite.

Jazz artists Thelonious Monk (191882), John Coltrane (192667), and Nina Simone (19332003) were born in the state, as were pop singer Roberta Flack (b.1939), folksinger Arthel "Doc" Watson (b.1923), bluegrass banjo artist Earl Scruggs (b.1924), and actor Andy Griffith (b.1926). North Carolina athletes include former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson (19352006), NASCAR driver Richard Petty (19372000), football quarterbacks Sonny Jurgenson (b.1934) and Roman Gabriel (b.1940), baseball pitchers Gaylord Perry (b.1938) and Jim "Catfish" Hunter (194699), and basketball player Meadowlark Lemon (b.1932), long a star with the Harlem Globetrotters. Michael Jordan (b.New York, 1963) played college basketball at the University of North Carolina, and went on to fame as a National Basketball Association star.


Byrd, William L. In Full Force and Virtue: North Carolina Emancipation Records, 17131860. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1999.

Coastal Southeast 2005: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina. Park Ridge, Ill.: ExxonMobil Travel Publications, 2005.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Doherty, Craig A. North Carolina. New York: Facts On File, 2005.

Fleer, Jack D. North Carolina Government & Politics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1994.

Hossfeld, Leslie H. Narrative, Political Unconscious, and Racial Violence in Wilmington, North Carolina. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Jones, H.G. North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.

McKinney, Gordon B. Zeb Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

North Carolina Handbook. Chico, Calif.: Moon Publications, 1999.

Ready, Milton. The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005.

Rodenbough, Charles D. Governor Alexander Martin: Biography of a North Carolina Revolutionary War Statesman. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2004.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. North Carolina, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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North Carolina


NORTH CAROLINA. One of the thirteen states to declare independence from Great Britain in 1776, North Carolina has also been a proprietary British colony, a royal colony, and a state in the Confederacy.


Native Americans have populated North Carolina since about 10,000 b.c.e. After European contact in the 1600s, some thirty tribes numbered about 35,000 people. The largest tribes were the Tuscarora, the Catawba, and the Cherokee. Early European explorers of North Carolina were Giovanni da Verrazzano (1524), Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon (1520 and 1526), Hernando de Soto (1540), Juan Pardo and Hernando Boyano (1566–1567), and Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe (1584). Receiving a patent from Queen Elizabeth in 1584, Walter Raleigh dispatched the Ralph Lane Colony to Roanoke Island in 1585, but it returned to England in 1586. In 1587 Raleigh sent a colony under John White to Roanoke Island, but it also failed and became known as the "Lost Colony" because the people disappeared. Virginia sent the first settlers into the Albemarle Sound region of North Carolina in the 1650s.

Proprietary period, 1663–1729. In 1663 Charles II granted eight proprietors a charter for Carolina, intended as a buffer colony between Virginia and Spanish settlements. This charter provided for religious liberty and representative government. Carolina's boundaries extended

from 29 degrees north to 36 degrees 30 minutes, and from sea to sea. The proprietors sought to establish a feudal society through the Fundamental Constitutions but abandoned the idea by 1700. Instead, the society and government developed as in other colonies, the Assembly being elected by freeholders. In 1711 the proprietors established the separate colonies of North and South Carolina.

North Carolina grew slowly; towns were established at Bath, New Bern, Edenton, Beaufort, and Brunswick from 1705 to1727. New Bern was devastated by the Tuscarora War, 1711–1713. Aided by headrights, colonists arrived from England, Switzerland, the German Palatinate, and France. Slaves also arrived from Africa, and African slavery became a fixed mode of labor. Quakers helped thwart the establishment of the Anglican Church. In 1729 North Carolina became a royal colony; all the proprietors but the earl of Granville sold their interests to the Crown.

Royal colony, 1729–1775. Under royal government North Carolina experienced phenomenal growth. Highland Scots settled the Cape Fear Valley, but most settlers in the Piedmont arrived via the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania. They were of Scotch-Irish and German origins and established Presbyterian, Lutheran, Moravian, German Reformed, and Baptist churches. In 1771 Presbyterians founded Queen's College, the first in the colony. The Assembly established the Anglican Church in 1765, but it was never strong. New towns sprang up in the back-country: Cross Creek (Fayetteville), Hillsborough, Salisbury, and Charlotte. Cherokees siding with the French were defeated in 1761 at the Battle of Echoee. The colonial economy was based on tobacco, foodstuffs, livestock, naval stores, and lumber products.

In government three major conflicts developed, the struggle for power between the governor and the Assembly, the Regulator movement, and opposition to parliamentary taxation. Royal governors used their royal prerogative to demand on occasion that the Assembly do their bidding. The Assembly, however, used its "power of the purse" to control the governor's salary, establish courts, determine a quorum, prevent the appointment of judges for life, and issue bills of credit, all actions the governor was instructed to prohibit.

The Regulator movement was an attempt by back-country farmers to "regulate" the corrupt actions of county officials. In 1766 Regulators met in Orange County to protest extortionate public fees and corrupt practices. In 1768 they refused to pay taxes, charging the sheriff with embezzlement. While Governor William Tryon ordered Regulators to disband and pay taxes, he also warned county officials against extortion. In 1770 Regulators assaulted local officials at the Orange County courthouse, and Tryon assembled an army and defeated them at Alamance Creek in 1771.

The political issue causing the most conflict was parliamentary taxation. When Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, pamphleteer Maurice Moore argued that colonists could be taxed only with their consent, and they had not consented to the stamp tax. Many towns protested the tax, but in Wilmington the Sons of Liberty forced the stamp master William Houston to resign, leaving no one to enforce the act. HMS Viper then seized two ships on Cape Fear because their papers lacked stamps. Armed insurgents, led by Cornelius Harnett and others, boarded the Viper and forced the release of the ships.

After the repeal of the Stamp Act, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts (1767), which, among other things, imposed duties on many imported goods. The 1769 Assembly organized an association boycotting British goods until Parliament repealed the taxes. In 1770 Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts but retained the tax on tea, thus leading to the Boston Tea Party. When Parliament ordered the port of Boston closed in 1774, North Carolina sent a shipload of food to help the city. The colony also elected delegates to the First Continental Congress in 1774, which urged nonimportation of British goods. Locally elected committees of safety enforced the boycott. Supposedly a Charlotte committee of safety adopted a declaration of independence on 20 May 1775. Although corroborating evidence for this event is lacking, the North Carolina flag bears this date.

Revolutionary War and Early Statehood

North Carolina devised a new government after Governor Josiah Martin fled in May 1775. The provincial congress, meeting in Hillsborough, established a provisional government headed by a council of thirteen men and supported by district safety committees. On 12 April 1776 in Halifax the provincial congress urged the Continental Congress to declare independence. This was the first official state action for independence, and this date too is emblazoned on the state flag. The same congress abolished the council of thirteen and created a Council of Safety to govern the state.

Needing a permanent form of government, delegates to the provincial congress in Halifax late in 1776 drafted the first constitution. Conservative delegates wanted a strong executive and protection for property, but radical delegates desired more democratic government, religious freedom, and a strong legislature. The Constitution of 1776 reflected both positions. Conservatives got property and religious qualifications for holding office and a property qualification for voting, while the Radicals got a strong legislature, religious liberty, and the abolition of the established church. The new constitution provided for the separation of powers, but the legislature had preeminent power because it elected the governor and judges.

North Carolina became a battleground in the Revolutionary War. In February 1776 loyalist Scottish Highlanders marched down the Cape Fear Valley to make Wilmington a British base but were defeated at Moore's Creek. The British incited the Cherokees against the colonists in 1776, and General Griffith Rutherford burned their towns. The Cherokees then concluded in 1777 the Treaty of Holston, ceding their lands east of the Blue Ridge. Lord Cornwallis's invasion of North Carolina in late 1780 was blunted by three defeats at Ramsour's Mill, King's Mountain, and Cowpens. Although Cornwallis occupied Wilmington and Hillsborough, he was unable to destroy General Nathanael Greene's army at Guilford Courthouse in March 1781. Cornwallis then abandoned North Carolina for Virginia and defeat at Yorktown.

As an independent state, North Carolina faced many challenges. Industries no longer received British bounties, trade languished, inflation raged, and state government proved weak. Still, much progress was made. Most Tories were pardoned, but much animosity toward them remained. One law confiscating Tory property was declared unconstitutional in the North Carolina Supreme Court decision Bayard v. Singleton (1787), the first use of judicial review in one of the United States. The Hillsborough Convention of 1788—called to act on the U.S. Constitution—located a state capital in Wake County. In 1792 the state purchased 1,000 acres of land there and laid off the city of Raleigh. In 1789 the legislature chartered the University of North Carolina, which in 1795 became the first state university to enroll students.

North Carolina sent five delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, William R. Davie and Hugh Williamson taking active parts. When the new constitution was publicized, eastern planters, merchants, and professionals supported it while western small farmers were opposed. The Hillsborough Convention of 1788 demanded a bill of rights before it would act on ratification. In 1789 Congress proposed a bill of rights and public opinion favored the constitution. The Fayetteville Convention of November 1789 then ratified the constitution.

As in other states, the two-party system that arose around the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton developed in North Carolina as well. The Federalists were at first ascendant, but opposition to Federalist initiatives—especially Jay's Treaty (1794), the Judiciary Act (1801), funding the national debt, assumption of state debts, and the excise tax—emerged and formed the Republican Party. In North Carolina Republicans gained control of the state government, and the Federalist Party declined rapidly after 1800, making North Carolina a one-party state.

Poor Carolina, 1801–1834. Many factors contributed to the state's relative economic and population decline through the 1830s. Although the Republican legislature chartered the state's first two banks in 1804 and created a state bank in 1810, the state lacked capital and a stable currency to support development. The Republican philosophy of the least government being the best government precluded using government for economic development. The lack of cheap transportation also retarded the state. Only one river, the Cape Fear, flowed directly into the ocean; it was navigable up to Wilmington. The state's other main port was Beaufort. The lack of good roads increased the costs of transporting farm products to market and thus discouraged exports. In addition, the lack of an urban culture, little manufacturing except for a few textile mills, emigration to more fertile western lands, and legislative underrepresentation of western counties all hindered development.

Two-party politics and progress, 1837–1861. Following changes in the state constitution made in 1835, the lower house of the legislature came to represent the population and the upper house the amount of taxes paid by county. These constitutional changes ushered in a second era of two-party politics. The Whigs, a new party supporting internal improvements, controlled the governorship 1837 to 1851 and the legislature some of these years. The Whigs supported the state's first railroads, which sped transport, lowered freight costs, and spurred trade and manufacturing. Another Whig contribution was a public school system. In 1839 the legislature enacted a school law allowing counties to establish schools by referendum. The first school opened in 1840, and by 1850 over 100,000 pupils were enrolled statewide. All of these changes quickened economic activity. The expansion of cotton acreage and the discovery of brightleaf tobacco curing increased farm income by half in the 1850s. Gold mining also flourished and necessitated a branch U.S. mint in Charlotte. Improved transportation greatly enhanced manufacturing, which nearly doubled in value in the 1850s. The leading products by order of value in 1860 were turpentine, flour and meal, tobacco, lumber, and textiles.

During this same antebellum era, religious schools that became Wake Forest University, Duke University, Davidson College, and Guilford College were founded. The federal government, moreover, concluded with the Cherokees the Treaty of New Echota (1835) that led to their later notorious removal and opened their lands to settlement by whites.

Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861–1877

Although North Carolina was not as eager for secession as Deep South states, it followed themin to the Confederacy after a state convention overwhelmingly approved secession on 20 May 1861. But state politics during the war reflected North Carolina's ambivalence toward the Confederacy. Zebulon B. Vance, a former Whig Unionist, was elected governor in 1862. He fully supported the war effort, but he fought Jefferson Davis's policies that impinged on civil liberties. In 1864 William W. Holden, a Democratic leader and engineer of Vance's 1862 victory, organized the Peace Party and became its nominee for governor. This party urged North Carolina to rejoin the Union. Vance was reelected, but Holden won favor in the North as a Unionist.

North Carolina furnished a sixth of Confederate troops and suffered high casualties. Wilmington became a major blockade-running port, providing military supplies until it was captured in 1865. The state was also a battleground. Union forces seized the Outer Banks and gained a foothold on the mainland from Plymouth to Beaufort in 1862. In 1865 Sherman's army advanced on Raleigh and secured Joseph E. Johnston's surrender near Durham.

President Andrew Johnson began reconstructing North Carolina by appointing William Holden provisional governor and pardoning many Confederates. Holden called a state convention that voided secession, abolished slavery, and repudiated the state war debt. In the fall elections Jonathan Worth, wartime state treasurer, defeated Holden for the governorship, and many former Confederate officials were elected to Congress. Congress refused to seat these and other delegates sent by governments dominated by former Confederates on the grounds that they were disloyal and freedmen were being mistreated. Indeed, North Carolina was among the states with a "black code" of laws that treated freedmen as a separate class of people, denied basic rights.

Congress and President Johnson became locked in a struggle over Reconstruction policy. Congress wanted full citizenship and civil rights for freedmen, and Johnson opposed this. Congressional Republicans passed over Johnson's veto the Reconstruction acts, which placed the southern states, except Tennessee, under military rule, disfranchised many former Confederates, and required states to revise their constitutions to enfranchise freedmen. When these states were reorganized under their new constitutions, they were required to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. Then they would regain their seats in Congress.

North Carolina did all that Congress required. William Holden headed the new state Republican Party, which included freedmen, carpetbaggers, and native whites. The Republicans controlled the state convention of 1868 that drafted a more democratic constitution. They also controlled the new state government, and Holden was elected governor.

Opponents of Holden's regime used the issue of "white supremacy" and violence to regain control of state government. The Ku Klux Klan operated in counties with slight Republican majorities. Using murder and intimidation, the Klan suppressed the Republican vote in 1870. Controlling the 1871 legislature, Democrats impeached Holden and removed him from office. The Republican Party still had vitality, for it elected the governor in 1872 and nearly controlled the state convention of 1875 that revised the constitution for Democratic advantage. Finally in 1876 the Democratic Party established white supremacy in state government and used fraud to remain in power.

The New South and Populism, 1877–1901

Young Democratic leaders desired a "New South" of diversified economy and greater wealth for North Carolina. Democrats supported policies under which tobacco manufacturing grew, textile mills expanded, furniture factories arose, and railroads established a 3,800-mile network. Democrats neglected public schools but did charter a black normal school in Fayetteville and an agricultural and mechanical college in Raleigh.

While industry prospered, agriculture languished. Rejecting contract labor, plantation owners adopted share-cropping and the crop-lien system for their labor needs. Tobacco and cotton cultivation were well suited to this system, and overproduction and low prices followed. To address their economic problems, farmers joined the Farmers' Alliance and controlled the 1891 legislature that chartered a female normal college and a black agricultural and mechanical college. Proposing an inflationary monetary policy rejected by the major parties, the Alliance formed the Populist Party in 1892 and fused with the Republicans to control the legislature and elect a Republican governor. The fusionists restored elective local government, secured bipartisan election boards, increased school appropriations, and enhanced railroad regulation. Seizing on the issue of growing numbers of black office-holders, Democrats vowed to restore white supremacy. Using fraud and violence, Democrats controlled the 1899 legislature that proposed a literacy test to disfranchise black voters and a grandfather clause to exempt white voters from the test. Intimidating voters again in 1900, the Democrats secured passage of the literacy test, thus eliminating most black voters and assuring Democratic ascendancy. To win white votes, Democrats began a modern public school system.

Economic Progress, 1901–1929

The great economic expansion of the middle decades of the twentieth century was based partly on the infrastructure developed before 1930. The advent of automobiles led the state to borrow heavily and pave nearly 6,000 miles of roads, thus securing a reputation as a "Good Roads State." Improved roads led to the creation of truck and bus lines and the consolidation of public schools. Streetcar lines flourished from the 1890s to the 1930s, when buses replaced them. Railroads created a 4,600-mile network by 1930. Communications also improved; telephones and radio became common in the 1920s. WBT in Charlotte was the state's first commercial radio station. The Wright brothers first flew at Kill Devil Hill in 1903, and aviation advanced to provide the first air mail in 1927 and the first scheduled passenger service in 1931.

Commercial electrical power generation also spurred economic growth. Companies dammed Piedmont and mountain rivers to make North Carolina a leading hydroelectric power state by 1930. From 1900 to 1930 electrical power helped the state achieve a thirteenfold increase in the value of manufactures. These rapid changes also caused conflict. In the 1920s some legislators introduced bills banning the teaching of evolution in public schools, but they were rejected. Conflict also developed over the stretch-out, a way of forcing textile workers to increase production. Violent textile strikes occurred in Marion and Gastonia in 1929 as employers forcibly suppressed union workers.

Depression and War, 1929–1945

The Great Depression caused economic damage and human suffering. Agricultural prices dropped sharply, forcing tenants from the land and bankrupting many farmers. About 200 banks failed, and the state began stricter regulation. Industrial production declined, causing 25 percent unemployment. Governments and private agencies provided relief and made jobs for the unemployed, but their efforts were inadequate. Unable to pay high property taxes that supported local roads and schools, taxpayers staged a tax revolt. They got the state to pay for all road construction and teachers' pay with a sales tax. Many local governments went bankrupt, and the state henceforth regulated their indebtedness. In 1934 textile workers struck for higher pay but achieved nothing.

New Deal programs provided effective unemployment relief and raised tobacco prices. Despite passage of the Wagner Act in 1935, textile mills blocked union organizing. North Carolina reluctantly provided matching funds for relief programs and social security. Only World War II provided full employment and quickened economic activity. The military established twenty-one training centers in the state, the largest being Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Cherry Point. Farmers increased production, making North Carolina third in the nation in farm product value. Shipbuilding was one of the major new industries.

Since 1945

North Carolina has eagerly embraced the use of state government to advance the common weal. It has supported a state symphony, an art museum, a zoological park, an arboretum, a residential high school for science and mathematics, a school of the arts, summer schools for gifted students, and an enrichment center for teachers.

Most notable are the state's advances in education. From sixteen disparate state colleges and universities, the state organized in 1971 an excellent university system called the University of North Carolina. The state also constructed an outstanding community college system containing fifty-eight two-year institutions. The system's primary aim is training people for specific jobs. The state has also reformed public schools, providing improved teacher training, standardized tests, experimental charter schools, preschool enrichment, and the grading of each school's performance.

North Carolina has also tackled the problem of low wages—the state ranked forty-fourth in per capita income in 1954. The state recruited industry and helped establish a Research Triangle Park near Raleigh to attract high technology firms, about seventy of them by 2000, when these efforts had raised the state to twenty-ninth place in per capita income.

The recruitment of industry led to greater economic diversification. The old triumvirate of textiles, tobacco, and furniture manufacturing gave way, in order of value, to electrical and electronic equipment, chemicals, and textiles. New industries located mainly in cities, causing a majority of people to move from rural to urban settings. Charlotte, the state's largest city, became a national banking center.

The state also witnessed a revolution in civil rights. In the 1950s African Americans integrated the University of North Carolina and began the integration of public schools. In the 1960s black college students devised the sit-in to integrate Greensboro lunch counters and in Raleigh formed the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee to launch sitins elsewhere. In Charlotte the NAACP secured the Swann decision (1971), which ordered busing to achieve racial balance in public schools.

Since 1972 North Carolina has been evolving as a two-party state. Republicans elected U.S. senators, congressmen, judges, and two governors, but by 2002 they had yet to control the legislature. In every presidential election from 1980 to 2000 the state voted Republican. As politics changed, so did the state's image. Considered a "progressive plutocracy" in the 1940s, the state's image in the early 2000s was cast as a "progressive paradox" or even a "progressive myth."


Barrett, John G. The Civil War in North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963.

Bell, John L., Jr., and Jeffrey J. Crow. North Carolina: The History of an American State. 2d ed. Montgomery, Ala.: Clairmont Press, 1998.

Crow, Jeffrey J., et al. A History of African Americans in North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C.: Division of Archives and History, 1992.

Durden, Robert F. The Dukes of Durham, 1865–1929. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1975.

Ekirch, A. Roger. "Poor Carolina": Politics and Society in Colonial North Carolina, 1729–1776. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981.

Escott, Paul D. Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850–1900. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

Glass, Brent D. The Textile Industry in North Carolina: A History. Raleigh, N.C.: Division of Archives and History, 1992.

Ireland, Robert E. Entering the Auto Age: The Early Automobile in North Carolina, 1900–1930. Raleigh, N.C.: Division of Archives and History, 1990.

Lefler, Hugh T., and Albert R. Newsome. North Carolina: The History of a Southern State. 3d ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1973.

Luebke, Paul. Tar Heel Politics: Myths and Realities. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Powell, William S. North Carolina through Four Centuries. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

John L.Bell

See alsoDemocratic Party ; Federalist Party ; Hydroelectric Power ; Reconstruction ; Republicans, Jeffersonian ; Two-Party System .

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North Carolina

North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N).

Facts and Figures

Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. (2010) 9,535,483, an 18.5% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Raleigh. Largest city, Charlotte. Statehood, Nov. 21, 1789 (12th of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution). Highest pt., Mt. Mitchell, 6,684 ft (2,039 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Tar Heel State. Motto,Esse Quam Videri [To Be Rather than to Seem]. State bird, cardinal. State flower, dogwood. State tree, pine. Abbr., N.C.; NC


The eastern end of North Carolina juts out from the East Coast of the United States into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, making the state prone to Atlantic hurricanes, which tend to strike the state every three to four years. Running along the entire coast of North Carolina, serving as a buffer against the Atlantic, is a long chain of barrier islands (the Outer Banks), with constantly shifting sand dunes, from which project three famous capes—Hatteras, Lookout, and Fear. Between the islands and the shoreline stretch lagoons—Albemarle Sound and Pamlico Sound are the largest—that receive the Chowan, Roanoke, Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. Wilmington, the chief port, is at the head of the Cape Fear estuary. The mainland bordering the sounds is low, flat tidewater country, often swampy, even beyond the Dismal Swamp in the north. In the upper coastal plain the land rises gradually from the tidewater, reaching 500 ft (152 m) at the fall line.

There begins the Piedmont, a rolling hill country with many swift streams such as the Broad River; the Catawba; and the Pee Dee, with its three large dams. The hydroelectric power these rivers generate has made this an important manufacturing area, and the Piedmont is home to most of the state's population and its largest cities. At the western edge of the Piedmont the land rises abruptly in the Blue Ridge, then dips down to several basins, and rises again in the Great Smoky Mts. Asheville is the leading urban center of this mountain region. Mt. Mitchell (6,684 ft/2,037 m) is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The French Broad River, the Watauga, and other rivers rising west of the Blue Ridge flow into the Mississippi system, almost all via the Tennessee River.

North Carolina, in the warm temperate zone, has a generally mild climate, with abundant and well distributed rainfall. The state's congenial climate, its many miles of beaches, and its beautiful mountains attract large numbers of visitors and vacationers each year. Chief among the tourist attractions are the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Great Smoky Mts. National Park. Wildlife abounds in national forests (the state has four) and in the Dismal Swamp. Places of historic interest include Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, on Roanoke Island; the Wright Brothers National Memorial, at Kitty Hawk; Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, at Flatrock; and Guilford Courthouse and Moores Creek national military parks.

One of the largest military reservations in the nation is at Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville, and the huge Marine Corps amphibious training base is at Camp Lejeune, near the mouth of the New River. Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city. The largest city is Charlotte; other major cities include Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville.


North Carolina leads the nation in the production of tobacco and is a major producer of textiles and furniture. It grows 40% of all U.S. tobacco, but the continuing trend is toward diversification. Broilers, hogs, turkeys, greenhouse products, sweet potatoes, corn, soybeans, peanuts, and eggs are important. Plentiful forests supply the thriving furniture and lumber industries. The state has long been a major textile manufacturer, producing cotton, synthetic, and silk goods as well as various kinds of knit items. Other leading manufactures are electrical machinery, computers, and chemicals; the Research Triangle complex near Chapel Hill has spurred high-tech manufacturing, as well as bringing federal jobs into the state. The state also has mineral resources: It leads the nation in the production of feldspar, mica, and lithium materials and produces substantial quantities of olivine, crushed granite, talc, clays, and phosphate rock. There are valuable coastal fisheries, with shrimp, menhaden, and crabs the principal catches. Charlotte developed in the 1980s into a major U.S. banking center, and related businesses have flourished in the area.

Government and Higher Education

North Carolina's first constitution was adopted in 1776. Its present constitution dates from 1868 but was thoroughly revised in 1875–76 as a result of Reconstruction experiences; it has been amended many times since. The state's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. North Carolina's general assembly has a senate with 50 members and a house with 120 members, all elected for two-year terms. The state elects 2 senators and 13 representatives to the U.S. Congress and has 15 electoral votes. James B. Hunt, Jr., a Democrat, was elected governor in 1992 and reelected in 1996. In 2000, Democrat Mike Easley won the governorship; he was reelected in 2004. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, won in the post in 2008, becoming the state's first woman governor, but in 2012 Republican Pat McCrory was elected governor.

The state's notable institutions of higher learning include the Univ. of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill and four other campuses; Duke Univ., at Durham; North Carolina State Univ., at Raleigh; Wake Forest Univ. and the North Carolina School of the Arts, at Winston-Salem; East Carolina Univ., at Greenville; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical Univ., at Greensboro; and Appalachian State Univ., at Boone.


Exploration and Colonization

North Carolina's treacherous coast was explored by Verrazano in 1524, and possibly by some Spanish navigators. Under Juan Pardo, the Spanish explored (1566–68) the interior of the Carolinas, establishing several short-lived forts. In the 1580s, Sir Walter Raleigh attempted unsuccessfully to establish a colony on one of the islands (see Roanoke Island). The first permanent settlements were made (c.1653) around Albemarle Sound by colonials from Virginia. Meanwhile, Charles I of England had granted (1629) the territory S of Virginia between the 36th and 31st parallels (named Carolina in the king's honor) to Sir Robert Heath. Heath did not exploit his grant, and it was declared void in 1663. Charles II reassigned the territory to eight court favorites, who became the "true and absolute Lords Proprietors" of Carolina. In 1664, Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia and one of the proprietors, appointed a governor for the province of Albemarle, which after 1691 was known as North Carolina.

By 1700 there were only some 4,000 freeholders, predominantly of English stock, along Albemarle Sound. There, with the labor of indentured servants and African- and Native-American slaves, they raised tobacco, corn, and livestock, mostly on small farms. The people were semi-isolated; only vessels of light draft could negotiate the narrow and shallow passages through the island barriers. Furthermore, communication by land was almost impossible, except with Virginia, and even then swamps and forests made it difficult. There was some trade (primarily with Virginia, New England, and Bermuda).

In 1712, North Carolina was made a separate colony. The destructive war with Native Americans of the Tuscarora tribe broke out that year. The Tuscarora were defeated, and in 1714 the remnants of the tribe moved north to join the Iroquois Confederacy. A long, bitter boundary dispute with Virginia was partially settled in 1728 when a joint commission ran the boundary line 240 mi (386 km) inland.

The British government made North Carolina a royal colony in 1729. Thereafter the region developed more rapidly. The Native Americans were gradually pushed beyond the Appalachians as the Piedmont was increasingly occupied. German and Scotch-Irish settlers followed the valleys down from Pennsylvania, and Highland Scots established themselves along the Cape Fear River. These varied ethnic elements, in addition to smaller groups of Swiss, French, and Welsh that had migrated to the region earlier in the century, gradually amalgamated. There has been little new immigration since colonial days, and North Carolina's white population is now largely homogeneous.

Resistance and Revolution

In 1768 the back-country farmers, justifiably enraged by the excessive taxes imposed by a legislature dominated by the eastern aristocracy, organized the Regulator movement in an attempt to effect reforms. The insurgents were suppressed at Alamance in 1771 by the provincial militia led by Gov. William Tryon, who had seven of the Regulators executed.

After the outbreak of the American Revolution, royal authority collapsed. A provisional government was set up, the disputed Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was allegedly promulgated (May, 1775), and the provincial congress instructed (Apr. 12, 1776) the colony's delegates to the Continental Congress to support complete independence from Britain. Most Loyalists, including Highland Scots, fled North Carolina after their defeat (Feb. 27, 1776) at the battle of Moores Creek Bridge near Wilmington. The British, however, did not give up hope of Tory assistance in the state until their failure in the Carolina campaign (1780–81). The designation of North Carolinians as "Tar Heels" was said to have originated during that campaign when patriotic citizens poured tar into a stream across which Cornwallis's men retreated, emerging with the substance sticking to their heels.

Westward Expansion and Civic Improvements

Settlements had been established beyond the mountains before the Revolution (see Watauga Association and Transylvania Company) and were increased after the war. In 1784 North Carolina ceded its western lands to the United States, spurring the transmontane people to organize a new, short-lived government (see Franklin, State of). Within the year North Carolina repealed the act ceding the land; however, the cession was reenacted in 1789, and that territory became (1796) the state of Tennessee.

North Carolina opposed a strong central government and did not ratify the Constitution until Nov., 1789, months after the new U.S. government had begun to function. Little social and economic progress was made under the state's undemocratic constitution (framed in 1776), which largely served the interests of the politically dominant, tidewater planter aristocracy, and North Carolina appeared to be on the verge of revolution.

In 1835, however, the western part of the state, now its most populous section, finally succeeded in enacting a constitution that abolished the property and religious qualifications for voting and holding office (except for Jews) and provided for the popular election of governors. In the same year began the final forced removal of most of the Cherokee; but to check the steady, voluntary outmigration of whites, internal improvements, especially the building of railroads and plank roads, were effected. The Public School Law (1839) inaugurated free education, and other important reforms were instituted. The period of progress continued until the Civil War.

Secession and Civil War

Few North Carolinians held slaves, and considerable antislavery sentiment existed until the 1830s, when organized agitation by Northern abolitionists began, provoking a defensive reaction that North Carolinians shared with most Southerners. Yet it was a native of the state, Hinton Rowan Helper, who made the most notable southern contribution to antislavery literature. Not until President Lincoln's call for troops after the firing on Fort Sumter did the state secede and join (May, 1861) the Confederacy. The coast was ideal for blockade-running, and the last important Confederate port to fall (Jan., 1865) was Wilmington (see Fort Fisher).

Gov. Zebulon B. Vance zealously defended the state's rights against what he considered encroachments by the Confederate government. Although many small engagements were fought on North Carolina soil, the state was not seriously invaded until almost the end of the war when Gen. William Sherman and his huge army moved north from Georgia. After engagements at Averasboro and Bentonville in Mar., 1865, Confederate Gen. J. E. Johnston surrendered (Apr. 26, 1865) to Sherman near Durham; next to Lee's capitulation at Appomattox, it was the largest (and almost the last) surrender of the war.

Reconstruction and Agrarian Revolt

In May, 1865, President Andrew Johnson applied his plan of Reconstruction to the state. The radical Republicans in Congress, however, adopted their own scheme in 1867, and the Carolinas, organized as the second military district, were again occupied by federal troops. The Reconstruction constitution of 1868 abolished slavery, removed all religious tests for holding office, and provided for the popular election of all state and county officials. In 1871 the legislature, with conservatives again in control, impeached and convicted Gov. William H. Holden.

The often maligned period of Reconstruction actually saw the beginning of the modern state, with a tremendous rise in industry in the Piedmont. Increased use of tobacco in the Civil War stimulated the growth of tobacco manufacturing (first centered at Durham), and the introduction of the cigarette-making machine in the early 1880s was an immense boon to the industry, creating tobacco barons such as James B. Duke and R. J. Reynolds.

Agriculture, however, was in a critically depressed condition. The old plantation system had been replaced by farm tenancy, which long remained the dominant system of holding land. Much farm property was destroyed, credit was largely unavailable, and transportation systems broke down. The nationwide agrarian revolt reached North Carolina in the Granger movement (1875), the Farmers' Alliance (1887), and the Populist party, which united with the Republicans to carry the state elections in 1894 and 1896. However, the Fusionists (as members of the alliance were called) were blamed for the rise of black control in many tidewater towns and counties, and in the election of 1898, when the Red Shirts, like the Ku Klux Klan of Reconstruction days, were active, the Democrats regained control.

Progress in the Twentieth Century

The turn of the century marked the beginning of a new progressive era, typified by the successful airplane experiments of the Wright Brothers near Kitty Hawk. The crusade for public education for both whites and blacks led by Gov. Charles B. Aycock, elected in 1900, had a wide impact, and new interest was created in developing the state's agricultural and industrial resources. However, one old pattern was strengthened when a suffrage amendment, the "grandfather clause" assuring white supremacy, was added (1900) to the state constitution.

Since World War I the state government has increasingly followed a policy of consolidation and centralization, taking over the public school system and the supervision of county finances and roads. A huge highway development program, begun by the counties in 1921, was assumed by the state a decade later when the counties could no longer meet the costs. Expenditures for higher education were greatly increased, and the three major state educational institutions were merged into a greater entity, the Univ. of North Carolina. North Carolina, more than many other Southern states, was able to make a peaceful adjustment to integration in the public schools following the Supreme Court's desegregation ruling in 1954.

Industrialization burgeoned after World War II, and in the 1950s the value of manufactured goods surpassed that of agriculture for the first time, as North Carolina became the leading industrial state in the Southeast. The Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham airports were both transformed into major air-travel hubs during the 1980s, reflecting the tremendous growth (most of it suburban) in those metropolitan areas, which were becoming financial, business, and research boomtowns. Traditional, low-skill industries have been gradually replaced by high-technology concerns, especially in the Research Triangle between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, which draws on the resources of the three cities' universities. Farming in North Carolina has become increasingly dominated by the large-scale production of hogs and broiler chickens, raising environmental concerns about the disposal of their waste. In Sept., 1999, floods on the Cape Fear and other rivers followed Hurricane Floyd, causing widespread devastation in the southeast.


See Federal Writers' Project, The North Carolina Guide, ed. by B. P. Robinson (rev. ed. 1955); J. H. Wheeler, ed., Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851 (from original records, 1964); J. Brickell, The Natural History of North Carolina (1737, repr. 1969); H. T. Lefler and A. R. Newsome, North Carolina: The History of a Southern State (3d ed. 1973); H. T. Lefler and W. S. Powell, Colonial North Carolina: A History (1973); J. W. Clay, North Carolina Atlas (1975); J. Vickers et al., Chapel Hill: An Illustrated History (1985); J. Crutchfield, The North Carolina Almanac and Book of Facts (1989).

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North Carolina


Charlotte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363

Greensboro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

Raleigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389

The State in Brief

Nickname: Tar Heel State; Old North State

Motto: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem)

Flower: Dogwood

Bird: Cardinal

Area: 53,818 square miles (2000, U.S. rank: 28th)

Elevation: Ranges from sea level to 6,684 feet above sea level

Climate: Warm and mild with abundant rainfall; subtropical in southeast, cooler in the mountains

Admitted to Union: November 21, 1789

Capital: Raleigh

Head Official: Governor Mike F. Easley (D) (until 2009)


1980: 5,882,000

1990: 6,628,637

2000: 8,049,313

2004 estimate: 8,541,221

Percent change, 19902000: 21.4%

U.S. rank in 2004: 11th

Percent of residents born in state: 63.0% (2000)

Density: 165.2 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 392,826

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 5,804,656

Black or African American: 1,737,545

American Indian and Alaska Native: 99,551

Asian: 113,689

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 3,983

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 378,963

Other: 186,629

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 539,509

Population 5 to 19 years old: 1,653,851

Percent 65 years and older: 12.0%

Median age: 35.3 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 117,981

Total number of deaths (2003): 73,443 (infant deaths,931)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 6,545


Major industries: Textiles, agriculture, tobacco, furniture, bricks, metalworking, chemicals, paper, tourism, manufacturing

Unemployment rate: 5.2% (December 2004)

Per capita income: $28,301 (2003; U.S. rank: 37th)

Median household income: $38,096 (3-year average,2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 14.2% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: Ranges from 6.0% to 8.25%

Sales tax rate: 4.5% (food and prescription drugs are exempt; food sales are subject to local sales taxes)

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North Carolina

North Carolina State in e USA, on the Atlantic coast; the capital is Raleigh. The first English colony in North America was founded in 1585 on Roanoke Island. Permanent settlers moved into the region from Virginia in the 1650s. It was the last state to secede from the Union. North Carolina's coastal plain is swampy and low-lying. Its w edge rises to rolling hills; further w are the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. It is the leading producer of tobacco in the USA. Important agricultural products are corn, soya beans, peanuts, pigs, chickens and dairy produce. Industries: textiles, timber, fishing, tourism, electrical machinery, chemicals. Mineral resources include phosphate, feldspar, mica and kaolin. Area: 136,523sq km (52,712sq mi). Pop. (2000) 8,049,313.

Statehood :

November 21, 1789

Nickname :

The Tar Heel State

State bird :


State flower :

Flowering dogwood

State tree :


State motto :

To be, rather than to seem

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North Carolina


North Carolina was slow to develop, abundant in resources and natural beauty, and traditionally tied to the tobacco empire. It is a study in contrasts. Once thought by Virginia settlers to be backward and wild, North Carolina has become an important player in the nation's industrial development and a major producer of agricultural products. It is also an attractive destination for tourists. Though thought to be unfriendly to labor, the state continued to employ hundreds of thousands of workers in its manufacturing and services industries as the twentieth century closed.

Italian explorer Giovanni di Verrazano discovered the North Carolina coast in 1524. Other explorers from Spain later attempted unsuccessfully to settle in the North Carolina wilderness. English courtier Sir Walter Raleigh sponsored the famous "lost colony" at Roanoke, and in 1629 Charles I began settlement in earnest of the colony he called, after himself, "Carolana". It was set up as a proprietorship and it extended its boundaries from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and from northern Florida to the present boundary between North Carolina and Virginia. The colony of South Carolina split off from North Carolina in 1719.

Less accessible and wilder in geography than neighboring Virginia, the North Carolina country grew slowly. Wealthy landowner William Byrd of Virginia undertook a surveying expedition to settle a boundary dispute between Virginia and North Carolina in 1728. In his History of the Dividing Line, he expressed his low opinion of the North Carolina "backwoodsmen" he found there (an opinion which was shared by many of his contemporaries). "Both cattle and hogs ramble into the neighboring marshes and swamps . . . and are not fetched home till the spring. Thus these indolent wretches, during one half of the year, lose advantage of the milk of their cattle . . . and many of the poor creatures perish in the mire . . . by this bad management."

After North Carolina became a royal colony in 1731, thousands of new settlers came to the colony; the population reached 345,000 by 1775. From the beginning the colony was beset by geographical divisions. While western backcountry farmers were self-sufficient but poor, the wealthy eastern plantation owners used slave labor to cultivate their tobacco and rice fields. Although the colony harbored a number of Loyalists, most North Carolinians were united in opposition to colonial controls from Great Britainthey supported independence in 1776.

After the American Revolution (17751783) North Carolina was sometimes known as the "Rip Van Winkle" state because of its slowness to develop. It was among the last states to ratify the new U.S. Constitution, in 1789. In addition to widespread illiteracy, the state's transportation routes were substandard, making it difficult to expand commercial agriculture. The western part of the state was the least developed, and eastern interests refused to be taxed to support the westerners. In 1835, however, reforms in the state constitution brought state aid to railroads and other badly needed public works, as well as the first common schools.

North Carolina fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War (18611865). Politics in that war's aftermath was very divisive. Republicansthe party of Lincolnwrangled with states' rights Democrats, who finally took over state government in 1876. Democrats then slashed public services and solidified the power of landlords over tenants and sharecroppers. They also saw to it that cotton mills were built in the piedmont area and that railroads were consolidated. By 1880 industry in North Carolina had made a big recovery. The plight of African Americans in the state did not improve, however, leaving a legacy of poverty and inequality which persisted into the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and beyond.

The development of the railroads was very important to the rise of big tobacco in the state. In 1875 young R. J. Reynolds saw that railroad access to the city of Winston (now Winston-Salem) would be an important asset to tobacco manufacture and distribution. He established his own plant and by 1920 he had absorbed most of the other small tobacco companies in Winston. Around the turn of the century Reynolds Tobacco (which then manufactured only chewing tobacco) was part of James B. Duke's tobacco trust but it became independent again in 1911. By 1913 Reynolds had expanded into the cigarette market and he was producing the nation's best-selling cigarettes.

Small farmers in the state continued to protest against their depressed economic condition. They were overshadowed by the textile, furniture, and tobacco producers, who, along with banks and insurance companies, dominated the state by 1900. Both World War I (19141918) and World War II (19391945) deeply affected the state. For one thing, many industrial plants were built in North Carolina to produce war materials, many of them expanding and continuing to provide employment after the war. In addition, returning veterans came home with new ideas. According to historian William S. Powell, after World War II, "Veterans who were no longer content to farm or to work in cotton mills set about to improve themselves by taking advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights. . . . Military service gave many of these people new skills and broadened their perspectives. . . . "

A good example of postwar economic development in North Carolina was the Research Triangle Park, which began in 1957 in an area equidistant from Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The park was constructed to provide research facilities and high-technology industrial sites; it soon became home to many government offices, private research concerns, and cultural agencies. The Research Triangle Park was also ideally situated, close to the University of Carolina, Duke University, and other colleges.

North Carolina has advanced in many areas, but not in its relationship to organized labor. The many "company towns" which grew up around the textile mills left their legacy of fear and dependence. The American Federation of Labor attempted to organize workers in the textile industry at the turn of the century but it failed to produce lasting unions. A number of failed strikes in the first four decades of the twentieth century left a generally anti-union sentiment among North Carolina workers. Repeated charges of unfair labor practices against textile giant J. P. Stevens and Company during the 1970s and 1980s reinforced the anti-labor reputation of the state. By 1970 the percentage of workers belonging to unions in the state was only 7.8, compared to 27.9 percent nationwide. By 1995 the percentage of union members had decreased to 4.2 percent, the second-lowest in the nation. In the late 1990s North Carolina held the dubious distinction of having the largest percentage of manufacturing jobs in the nation but the lowest manufacturing wages. In 1990 30 percent of jobs in the state paid wages below the poverty line.

The continuing story of tobacco in North Carolina has also had its vicissitudes. For the last three decades tobacco manufacturers have been under fire from the federal government for causing health problems for large numbers of Americans. Cigarette advertising was banned from radio and television after 1971, and the federal cigarette tax was doubled in 1983. As the public perception of smoking steadily declined, an heir to the Reynolds Tobacco fortune, Patrick Reynolds, shocked his state and the nation in 1986 when he appeared before a congressional committee to call attention to the detrimental effects of tobacco. However, Reynolds Tobacco (now owned by RJR Nabisco), along with other tobacco firms, has survived by diversifying its interests and increasing overseas sales. In the late 1990s North Carolina was still the producer of 38 percent of the U.S. supply of tobacco and shipments of tobacco were second only to those of textile manufacturers in the state.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s North Carolina experienced a shift in job patterns. Traditional industries like furniture, textiles, and tobacco lost ground to high-tech industries and financial concerns. In 1997 the state was home to seven Fortune 500 companies, none of which was connected to the kinds of industries which historically developed the state.

In modern North Carolina agriculture and industry coexist and they are mutually dependent. Although the actual number of tobacco farms has decreased significantly, perhaps one-third of the jobs in the state are directly related to agriculture. North Carolina remains the largest manufacturer of textiles, cigarettes, and furniture in the United States. In addition to J. P. Stevens, some of the important textile manufacturers are Blue Bell Inc., Cannon Mills, and Burlington Industries. The furniture industry is centered in the High Point-Thomasville and Hickory-Statesville areas. Although per capita income has increased faster than the national average since 1986, it still ranks only 32nd among all states. Alternate sources of income in the service industry are increasingly important to the state. Tourism and retirement living were major sectors of North Carolina's economy in the 1990s, with many people flocking to the state's historic sites, recreation areas, and scenic mountains.

See also: Furniture Industry, Tobacco, Tobacco Industry


Clay, James W., et al., eds. North Carolina Atlas: Portrait of a Changing Southern State. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975.

Jones, H.G. North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Kruman, Marc W. Parties and Politics in North Carolina: 18361865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983.

Lefler, Hugh T. and Albert Ray Newsome. North Carolina: The History of a Southern State, 3rd ed. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina University Press, 1973.

Powell, William S. North Carolina: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1977.

Reynolds, Patrick, and Tom Schactman. The Gilded Leaf: Triumph, Tragedy, and Tobacco: Three Generations of the R. J. Reynolds Family and Fortune. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989.

the only business [in north carolina] is raising of hogs, which is managed with the least trouble, and affords the diet they are most fond of.

william byrd, virginian landowner, 1728

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