Capital City: Raleigh
Area Square Miles 48,718
Area Square kilometers 126,179
North Carolina is a state located on the Atlantic Seaboard in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte.
North Carolina was one of the original Thirteen Colonies, originally known as Province of Carolina. Joara, a native village near present-day Morganton, was the site in 1567 of Fort San Juan, the first Spanish colonial settlement in the interior of what became the United States. An English colony was later established at Roanoke Island in the island kingdom's first attempt to found a settlement in the Americas.
On May 20, 1861, North Carolina was one of the last of the Confederate states to declare secession from the Union, to which it was restored on July 4, 1868. The state was the location of the first successful controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, by the Wright brothers, at Kill Devil Hills, about 6.4 miles from Kitty Hawk on Dec. 17, 1903. Today, it is a fast-growing state with an increasingly diverse economy and population. As of July 1, 2008, the population was estimated to be 9,222,414 (a 14.5% increase since April 1, 2000). Recognizing eight Native American tribes, North Carolina has the largest population of Native Americans of any state east of the Mississippi River.
North Carolina has a wide range of elevations, from sea level on the coast to almost 6,751 feet (2,042 m) in the mountains. The coastal plains are strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the state falls in the humid subtropical zone. More than 300 miles (500 km) from the coast, the western, mountainous part of the state has a subtropical highland climate.
As of 2008 (the most current numbers available), North Carolina is the fourth-fastest growing state in the United States and the fastest growing state east of the Mississippi River.