State Facts

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People

Statehood:  November 21, 1789, the 12th state

Capital:  Raleigh

Total Area:  29th among states, 139,509 sq km (53,865 sq mi)

Water Area:  10,241 sq km (3,954 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Mount Mitchell, 2,037 m (6,684 ft)

Total Population:   10th among states
2010 census -  

Population Density in 2010:  196.1 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000: 57.8% Urban, 42.2% Rural

Gross State Product - $407.4 billion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $34,453 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010: 
Charlotte:  731,424
Raleigh:  403,892

  • The state's best-known scenic attraction is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located astride the North Carolina-Tennessee border.

  • The North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh, is the nation's only art museum whose collection was founded with state funds.

  • The Wright Brothers made the first successful airplane flight in 1903 in Kitty Hawk.

  • Students at a Wilson County school petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly for the
    establishment of the sweet potato as the Official State Vegetable. Their assignment led to the creation of
    the newest state symbol. North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the nation harvesting
    over 4 billion pounds of the vegetable in 1989.

  • Coastal North Carolina was the scene of the first attempt to colonize America by English-speaking
    people. Two colonies were begun in the 1580's under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Walter
    Raleigh. The first colony, established in 1585 under the leadership of Ralph Lane, ended in failure.

  • North Carolina has had two permanent capitals, New Bern and Raleigh, and there have been three capitol buildings. Tryon Palace in New Bern was constructed in the period 1767-1770, and the main building was destroyed by fire February 27, 1798. The first capitol in Raleigh was completed in 1794 and was destroyed by fire on June 21, 1831. The present capitol building was completed in 1840.

  • The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest State University in the United States. 

  • Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States. 

  • Krispy Kreme Doughnut was founded in Winston-Salem.

  • Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern in 1898.