15 Interesting Facts About North Carolina

Did you know that Pepsi-Cola was invented by Caleb Davis Bradham in North Carolina in 1893?

North Carolina, also known as the Tar Heel State, the Old North State, and the Turpentine State, became the 12th state to join the United States on November 21, 1789. As of 2019, it has a population of 10,488,0841 people, making it the 9th most populous state. North Carolina is bordered by South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia, and covers a total area of 53,819 square miles (139,390 square kilometers), making it the 28th largest state. The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh, which is located in the center of the state.

But let’s move on to some more interesting facts about the Tar Heel State!

North Carolina has been inhabited for over 10,000 years!

The first people to inhabit North Carolina were the descendants of Paleo-Indians who settled in the Americas. These nomads migrated from modern-day Russia to Alaska via the Bering Strait between 13-11,000 BC, and slowly spread across North America. The earliest evidence of human existence in North Carolina comes from the Hardaway Site, which dates back as far as 8,000 BC. The people of this region lived a predominantly hunter-gatherer life for the next seven thousand years.

Many different Native American tribes were living in North Carolina when Europeans first arrived.

By 1000 BC, the people of modern-day North Carolina began to settle in villages and live a sedentary life based on agriculture. When the first European explorers arrived, the people living in the region already had complex societies and often lived in large towns. Some of the major tribes in the region included the Algonquian-speaking Croatan, Chowanoke, and Roanoke; the Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee, Tuscarora, and Meherrin; and the Siouan-speaking Catawba, Cheraw, Waccamaw, and Saponi.

The first European to set foot in North Carolina was Italian.

The Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano first encountered modern-day North Carolina as early as 1524. He was in the service of King Francis I of France and hoped to find a route through to the Pacific Ocean. He first landed at Cape Fear, near the border of North and South Carolina, and traveled north, making various expeditions inland. When Verrazzano came upon Pamlico Sound, he believed it to be the way through to the Pacific Ocean and sent his findings back to France.

The first Europeans to attempt to colonize North Carolina were the Spanish.

Spain had claimed parts of what we now know as South Carolina by the 1560s. In 1567, Captain Juan Pardo was sent by Spain to North Carolina to claim the region for Spain and establish a future colony. He was tasked with making peace with the local tribes and converting them to Christianity. Pardo’s journey took him to Joara, a Native American settlement near present-day Morganton, where he promptly renamed it Cuenca and stationed a garrison of 30 men while he continued his journey. Pardo established six forts in total, but they were all destroyed by the locals in 1568. This was Spain’s only attempt to colonize the interior of North Carolina.

The first attempt by England to colonize North Carolina, known as the Roanoke Colony, was a complete failure. In 1585, a group of around 100 settlers landed on Roanoke Island to establish a fort while they waited for a supply ship, but the ship was delayed. The colonists eventually gave up and returned to England when a British ship passed by. When the supply ship returned, they found the island empty of colonists but left behind a small group of men to guard the fort and supplies while they fetched a new group of settlers. In 1857, the second wave of 136 colonists arrived to find the fort empty again, except for the bodies of the men left behind, who were seemingly slaughtered by the locals. The colonists tried to establish their new lives on Roanoke Island but were delayed when the supply ship was delayed by war. When a ship finally arrived in 1890, the colony was completely abandoned, with only defensive walls remaining and the word “CROATOAN” carved into the walls. The fate of the colonists remains a mystery, with theories ranging from slaughter by the locals to illness or vanishing into thin air. The first English child born in America was born in the Roanoke colony.

John White, an English aristocrat, led the second attempt to establish the Roanoke Colony in 1587. His daughter gave birth to Virginia Dare on August 15, 1587, marking the first birth of an English child in modern-day America. Although Virginia disappeared along with other colonists, she became a symbol for many in the thirteen colonies and the US, with numerous places named after her.

North Carolina was named after King Charles I, as the Latin word for Charles is Carolus. The state was a slave state, with at least 330,000 African American slaves by 1860, representing 33% of the population. North Carolina was hesitant to participate in the American Civil War, but eventually joined the Confederate States of America after Abraham Lincoln demanded that they invade newly Confederate South Carolina.

The Wright Brothers’ successful powered aircraft flight took place near the town of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where they covered a distance of 120 feet on December 17, 1903, and improved their design to stay in the air for up to 39 minutes by 1905. North Carolina is also home to the largest mansion in the United States, the Biltmore mansion.

The Biltmore mansion was constructed by the wealthy George Vanderbilt as a country estate, but he ended up living there shortly after. The construction took over six years and was finished in 1895. The mansion occupies a vast 8,000 acres (3237 hectares) of land, which is equivalent to 6150 American football fields. It was built to resemble a French chateau and has 250 rooms. The mansion itself covers approximately four acres (1.6 hectares), which is about three American football fields in size.

North Carolina is also home to the smallest historic post office in the US, the Grimshawe Post Office. It was the smallest post office in the country from 1878 until 1953. The post office is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a wooden hut measuring 5 by 6 feet (1.5 by 1.8 meters). It was created because no village in the surrounding rural area was large enough to have a post office. The Grimshawe Post Office was decommissioned in 1953 due to changes in the US postal system, but it remains a curious attraction.

Another famous invention from North Carolina is Pepsi-Cola, which was created by Caleb Davis Bradham in 1893. Bradham came up with the idea while working in a pharmacy, and his original recipe was designed to aid digestion and was called “Brad’s Drink.” The drink was an instant hit, and in 1898, it was renamed Pepsi-Cola.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are also a North Carolina creation. Vernon Rudolph opened the first Krispy Kreme doughnut store in 1937 in Old Salem, which is now Winston-Salem. The recipe for the doughnuts was created by a French chef in New Orleans, and it was a top-secret formula. The doughnuts were an instant success, and many more stores opened across the state.

While some people may overlook North Carolina as just another southern state, it has many great things to offer. Yes, there have been dark times in the state’s history, but there are also many things to celebrate, such as the Biltmore mansion, the Grimshawe Post Office, Pepsi-Cola, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.


1. What is the capital of North Carolina?

The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh. The city was founded in 1792 and named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who attempted to establish the first English colony in the new world. Today, Raleigh is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States and is known for its high-tech research and development industries.

2. Which famous aviation pioneers were born in North Carolina?

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were born in Dayton, Ohio, but they moved to North Carolina in 1900 to conduct their flying experiments. In 1903, they achieved the first successful powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Today, visitors can see a replica of their airplane and visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

3. What is the highest point in North Carolina?

The highest point in North Carolina is Mount Mitchell, which reaches an elevation of 6,684 feet (2,037 meters). The mountain is located in the Black Mountains and is part of the Pisgah National Forest. Visitors can drive to the summit or hike one of the many trails in the area.

4. What is North Carolina’s state bird?

The state bird of North Carolina is the cardinal. The bird is known for its bright red plumage, which makes it easy to spot in trees and bushes. The cardinal is also the state bird of six other states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

5. What is the nickname of North Carolina?

North Carolina is often called the Tar Heel State. The origin of the nickname is uncertain, but one theory is that it comes from the state’s production of tar, pitch, and turpentine, which were important commodities in the colonial era.

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