North Carolina is a state on the Atlantic coast in the eastern
United States of America. It borders
South Carolina and
to the south, Tennessee to the west, and
Virginia to the north.
Due to its geographical location, the state can be divided into
three climatic zones, the temperate coastal region in the east,
the Piedmont Plateau and the cooler mountainous region of the
Appalachian Mountains. The flora and fauna is diverse, ranging
from the shallow-rooted vegetation of the coast and the American
alligators that live there, to the coniferous forests inhabited
by black bears and white-tailed deer in the west.
Today's state goes back to a crown colony founded in 1663 and is named after the English King Charles I. In 1776, North Carolina was one of the Thirteen Colonies that seceded from the mother country in the American Declaration of Independence, making it one of the founding states of the United States. Raleigh has been the state capital since 1792 and the city was named in honor of the discoverer of the North Carolina coast, Sir Walter Raleigh. During the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865, North Carolina seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America. It was readmitted to the United States in 1868 in the post-war Reconstruction process. Then the transformation from an agricultural state to an industrial region began, which lasted until the first half of the 20th century. After the New Deal in the 1930s, North Carolina became a center of American finance and research and development in various high-technology industries.
The state is characterized by steady population growth and is one of the ten most populous states in the country. As of July 2009, the state's population was estimated at 9,380,884 people, just over a fifth of the residents are of African American descent, eight tribes of indigenous peoples (Native American Indians) live within the state lines. North Carolina is part of the Bible Belt (German "Bible Belt"), the population is mostly Protestant. Originally, North Carolina belonged to the heartland of the Democrats; in the second half of the 20th century, the general political orientation shifted in favor of the Republicans. It was not until the 2008 presidential election that a democratic candidate was able to win the state back after 30 years.
North Carolina is part of the greater cultural region of the southern states, both the regional music, the typical cuisine and the traditional open-air theater are shaped by it, while different influences can be found in the architecture of the state. A number of museums and, in particular, areas and individual buildings that are protected as nature and monuments are of supra-regional importance. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States, draws a large portion of North Carolina's visitors. Another attraction is the annual NASCAR auto races and intercollegiate collegiate sports competitions.
North Carolina Mountains - the western region of the state; the main
cities are Asheville and Boone.
Piedmont - the central, flat area of the state. This is where the majority of the population lives, e.g. in the Piedmont Triad (triple) Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point or in the Research Triangle Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Charlotte, the state's largest city, is also located here. This region also includes the Sandhills.
Coastal Plain - the coastal region with the Outer Banks, Wilmington, Kitty Hawk and the Crystal Coast. Military facilities are also located in this region, e.g. B. Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro and Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.
Asheville - scenic mountain town, known for its culture.
Charlotte is North Carolina's largest city and is synonymous with banking and professional sports. Downtown with only a few historical buildings.
Fayetteville - Site of Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.
Greensboro - Located in the north center of the state. Third largest city in North Carolina. Nice downtown with a mix of high rise and older brick buildings.
Wilmington - colonial port city, especially popular with beach pilgrims.
Winston-Salem - medium-sized city; Headquarters of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.
Research Triangle (also: "The Triangle") - urban region in the north of the Piedmont, which is known for its top-class research institutions (North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The triangle includes i.a. the cities:
Durham - City of Tobacco; Duke University.
Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and home to many of the state's cultural institutions.
Chapel Hill, site of the University of North Carolina.
location and extent
North Carolina is located on the southeast coast of the United States, bordering the states of South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, and Virginia to the north. To the east is the Atlantic. The northern border of the state runs at latitudes from 36°35′10″ in the west to 36°32′27″ in the east. The western border runs along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The southernmost point of the state is at 33°50′57″ north latitude; its north-south extension measures 300.3 kilometers, the west-east extension between 75°27′15″ and 84°19′01″ west longitude is 807.4 kilometers. The state covers an area of 139,389 square kilometers, of which 125,919 square kilometers are land area, slightly larger than Greece.
North Carolina can be divided geographically and geologically into three main parts from east to west: the coastal plain on the Atlantic, the Piedmont plateau in the hinterland and the mountainous region of the Appalachia.
About two-thirds of the state is occupied by the Atlantic coastal plain. The soils of the very flat plain are sandy and are covered by dense forests consisting mostly of pine and other evergreen trees. The soils are particularly suitable for growing tobacco, soya, melons and cotton. This region, which includes the Inner Banks, is North Carolina's most rural, with few major cities and towns. Inland are the Outer Banks, a chain of narrow and variable dune islands that form a barrier between the Atlantic and the inland waterways. The Outer Banks enclose the two largest lagoons in the United States, Albemarle Sound to the north and Pamlico Sound to the south, which are larger than the state of Connecticut. North Carolina's coast lacks a suitable natural harbor, which is why a major seaport such as Charleston in South Carolina or Savannah in Georgia never developed. The state's only major port, Wilmington, is about 15 miles inland on the Cape Fear River. The Coastal Plain is the largest and at the same time youngest geological section of the state. It consists mainly of sedimentary rock, mostly sand and clay, but limestone is also found in the south of the coastal plain. The state's most economically important mineral, fertilizer-grade phosphate, is mined in this region. The coastal plain is bounded by the three-million-year-old shoreline, also known as the fall zone, 90 meters above sea level; where the Piedmont Plateau drops relatively steeply to the coastal region, and the state's Appalachian rivers feature rapids and waterfalls here.
The Piedmont region, in the center of the state, is North Carolina's most urbanized and densely populated region. The Piedmont is a hilly landscape, often broken by smaller foothills and river-carved valleys, formed from the almost completely eroded remains of higher mountains. The geological structures are shaped by the Inner Piedmont Belt, ranging in age from 750 to 500 million years, the Kings Mountain Belt, Milton Belt, Charlotte Belt, Carolina Slate Belt, Raleigh Belt, and the Eastern Slate Belt, all ranging in age from 650 to 300 have millions of years. Also part of the Piedmont are the Triassic Basins, which are much younger at 200 to 190 million years. The first gold discovery in the USA was documented in the Carolina Slate Belt in 1799 and mines were operated to extract gold at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, in addition to lithium and clay, granite, gneiss and other materials for the construction industry are mainly mined in this region. The elevation of the Piedmont ranges from about 90 meters in the east to 300 meters above sea level in the west. The soils consist mainly of thin stony layers with a clay base; only on the eastern edge of the plateau are sandy hills that mark a former coastline with its dunes and beaches. Peaches and melons, for which the region is known, are mainly grown on the well-drained soil. Due to the rapid urbanization of the countryside since the 1970s, agriculture has been and is being largely displaced and giving way to a suburban structure.
The Appalachian mountain range forms the western border of the state. The mountains in North Carolina can be divided into four mountain ranges. The Blue Ridge Mountains are the largest mountain range and run in a sinuous line through the west of the state with occasional high outcroppings over the surrounding terrain; Mount Mitchell is the highest point in the state at 2037 m and also the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains, also known as the Smokies, form the western border of the state and are the second highest mountain range in North Carolina. The oldest rock, around one and a half billion years old, is found in the west of the state. The belt, referred to as the Blue Ridge Belt, which includes the smaller sections of the Murphy Belt and Grandfather Mountain Window, consists of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks containing feldspar, mica and quartz. The Brushy Mountains are significantly smaller and lower, their highest peak being Pores Knob. It is 817 meters above sea level. The Uwharrie Mountains are the easternmost, oldest and lowest mountain range in North Carolina. The highest peak of this mountain range is the High Rock Mountain with less than 350 meters above sea level. Between the mountains lie fertile valleys, which are criss-crossed with numerous rivers and streams. The mountains themselves are covered with lush forests, only a few peaks are bare with prairie-like vegetation. Although agriculture still plays an important role in this region, tourism is becoming increasingly important and has become the most important economic sector in the mountain region.
bodies of water
The river systems of North Carolina can essentially be divided into two groups. The main eastern watershed of North America runs along the Appalachian Ridge. Only the rivers in the extreme west of the state drain via the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, the rivers that rise on the eastern flank of the mountains empty into the Atlantic. The latter are further subdivided according to their mouth, which is either on the state territory of North or South Carolina. The separation between the river systems that flow into the Atlantic is caused by an uplift that stretches from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a southeasterly direction almost to the port city of Wilmington along the Virginia border.
The Catawba River and Yadkin River flow through about 30 counties in the state with their tributaries. They fan out across the country, draining much of the Piedmont before flowing across the border into South Carolina and hitting the coast there. Chowan, Roanoke, Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear Rivers flow into North Carolina and were important trade routes before the railroads were built. Only one of the rivers flows directly into the sea, the others fan out in the coastal plain and flow into the Sounds. These lagoons and the rivers that flow into them create a network of waterways some 1800 kilometers long, suitable for steam and sailing navigation.
The banks of the rivers are lined with poplar, willow and alder forests in the upper reaches and forests with bald cypresses in the lower reaches. In their course from the high plateaus to the lowlands, they overcome height differences of several hundred meters through rapids and waterfalls. In the colonial past, cotton mills and other businesses such as sawmills often used this gradient and thus favored the rise of many cities and towns. The sounds and shallower rivers in the low-lying coastal plain provide rich fish stocks and waterfowl colonies.
Smaller natural lakes are found throughout North Carolina; However, the damming of the rivers by energy supply companies has also resulted in larger reservoirs and reservoirs, which, in addition to flood control and energy generation, also serve as tourist destinations, local recreation areas and hunting and fishing regions. A larger lake area, for example, was created by the backwater of the Yadkin River at the foothills of the Uwharrie Mountains: the Uwharrie Lakes. The largest of these lakes is High Rock Lake. The largest man-made lake in North Carolina is Lake Norman, covering 129 square kilometers, a reservoir on the Catawba River on whose shores Lake Norman State Park was created.
Most of the state has a warm temperate rainy climate; except for the
higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains, which are considered
part of the fully humid boreal climate zone. The mountains often serve
as the Piedmont's "shield," keeping low temperatures and storms out of
the Midwest. The average daily temperature in most areas of the state is
around 32°C in July. In January, the average temperature is 10 °C.
The coastal plain is climatically influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, which produces mild winters and moderately warm summers. The daily high on the coast is 31°C in summer, while winter temperatures rarely drop below 4°C. The average daily maximum temperature in the winter months is around 15 °C in the coastal plain, temperatures below freezing are extremely rare. About two centimeters of snow falls annually on the coastal plain, and many winters are completely free of snow and ice. In the Piedmont, on the other hand, the summers are warmer and the winters colder than in the coastal region. Daily maximum temperatures average over 32°C in summer, but rarely rise above 37°C. In winter, the daytime temperatures average around 10 °C and often fall below freezing at night. The annual snowfall is between 7 and 20 centimeters. Winter weather in the Piedmont is known for sleet and freezing rain, which in some storms can be severe enough to collapse trees and power lines under the load. The annual rainfall and humidity in the Piedmont are lower than on the coast or in the mountains, about 1000 liters per square meter of precipitation are measured annually. The coolest area of North Carolina is the Appalachian Mountains; there the temperature rarely rises above 26 °C in summer. The average daily temperatures in winter are between −1 °C and 5 °C, often dropping below −9 °C. It falls between 36 and 51 centimeters of snow per year, usually more in the higher regions.
Because of its exposed location on the Atlantic coast in the extreme southeast, North Carolina is hit by a hurricane on average once a decade, with further tropical storms hitting the state about every three to four years. In some years, North Carolina may experience repeated hurricanes and other tropical storms, or experience the effects of the coastal plain's foothills of these storms. Only the states of Florida, Texas and Louisiana are hit by hurricanes more frequently than North Carolina. Thunderstorms are recorded an average of 50 days per year, some severe enough to cause hail and hurricane-force gusts. Although most hurricanes cause damage in the country's coastal regions, they can reach inland and cause great destruction there. On an annual average, North Carolina experiences fewer than 20 tornadoes, most of which are caused by hurricanes or coastal plain tropical storms. Tornadoes resulting from thunderstorms occur in the eastern parts of the state, while the western Piedmont is often sheltered from such storms by the mountains. Another weather phenomenon called Cold Air Damming, the accumulation of cold air masses, occasionally takes place in the west of the state. This can weaken the storms, but also leads to heavy freezing rain in winter.
The fauna and flora of the state offers a very diverse picture,
ranging from the sparse and shallow-rooted vegetation of the coastal
region and the American alligators that live there, to the coniferous
forests inhabited by bears and white-tailed deer in the Appalachian
Mountains. The typical plants and animals of the southeast are
represented in the lowlands, while species more common in the north are
found in the higher elevations. A total of around 300 tree species and
subspecies and around 3000 different flowering plants were counted. Many
of North Carolina's plant and animal species are classified as
endangered, in part because they are found in the state, but North
Carolina is also home to nationally endangered species, such as various
whale species and the Blue Ridge goldenrod.
In the coastal region, the marsh grass Spartina patens and the grass Distichlis spicata settle in the salt marshes and the tall grass Uniola paniculata (sea oats) grows on coastal dunes. Trees are primarily Virginian cedar and pine, but bald cypress, swamp magnolia and tupelo trees also find good growing conditions in the region's blackwater swamps. The Venus flytrap is found worldwide only in the Pocosin bogs around Wilmington. In addition to a variety of saltwater and freshwater fish, oysters, sea turtles, and the protected American alligators live in the state's rivers, lakes, and shoreline. A special feature of the Outer Banks are the bank ponies, which live semi-wild on the island chain.
In the Piedmont, the trees can have deeper roots, the forests are dominated by various oak and hickory species, formerly also by American chestnut. Various types of poplar, birch, linden, horse chestnut and maple grow there, as well as Carolina hemlock and various types of orchids. In addition to raccoons and squirrels, common animal species include opossums, some endangered species of bats and beavers. The rivers and lakes are populated by perch, catfish and other fish, and there are also a large number of different water birds, especially ducks and geese.
Towards the mountains, the vegetation changes into coniferous forests, and here the habitats of the animals sometimes overlap with the Piedmont. Gray wolves and mountain lions are already extinct, but bobcats are found in the forests of North Carolina. Black bears also live in the Great Smoky Mountains area and are now a tourist attraction. Introduced in the 19th century, wild boar are common, as are white-tailed deer. Trout and perch live in the clear rivers of the mountains.
Native American settlement in North Carolina dates back to the
Paleo-Native American era in the 10th millennium BC. back.
Hunter-gatherers probably first lived in the Piedmont. From the Archaic
period, which is about 7500 to 1000 BC. There are projectile tips
typical of the area, which are referred to as Hardaway after a locality
in the Uwharrie Mountains. It is the most important find site on the
east coast because it was inhabited for several thousand years and was
undisturbed until it was excavated. The post-glacial tundra landscape
gave way to dense forests, the way of life changed insofar as the
inhabitants no longer followed the caribou herds, but increasingly
preferred large tail areas. Nuts and other vegetables and fish made up
an increasing proportion of the diet, and the population grew. Stone
vessels and wooden tools were traded items, vast quantities of rhyolite
were quarried from Morrow Mountain and traded within 75,000 km²;
eventually a kind of horticulture developed in which the pumpkin played
a central role. Added acorns and hickory nuts. Between 6000 and 3000 BC
An extremely warm climate prevailed, which enabled a strong population
growth, the territories of the individual tribes shrank dramatically,
more and more villages arose on the rivers, where before 3000 BC.
horticulture was increasingly practiced. Hunting was only practiced
seasonally, long-distance trade brought shells from the Gulf of Mexico
and copper from the Great Lakes to the area, and an extensive network of
This culture changed around 1000 BC. through the Woodland and Mississippi cultures, with great continuity up to about 1000 AD. Of particular importance was the incipient use of pottery, known as Swannanoa ware, although it is unclear whether groups migrated or whether local groups adopted this technique. In any case, the historical tribes that the first Europeans encountered can be traced back to the groups now settled. From about 300 B.C. the Pigeon is dated to AD 200, this phase was followed by the Connestee until about AD 600.
Strong influences came from the Mississippi. These vast areas were named the Hopewell Interaction Sphere after the Hopewell culture. North Carolina was culturally divided as a result. While the culture known as the Late Woodland prevailed in the coastal area and in the northern Piedmont from around 1000 AD, which was linked to that of its predecessors and apparently had an egalitarian political and social structure, the mountain zones and the southern Piedmont were characterized by a pronounced stratification of society. A probably hereditary ruling class used the long-distance trade networks to procure luxury goods such as shells or rare stones. Mica was added as a new commodity. The Mounds Nununyi and Town Creek trace back to these influences and show a changed relationship to death. The flat-topped Town Creek Indian Mound is the most visited archaeological site in North Carolina. It contains a mound and sacred as well as stately buildings. It is a remnant of a culture that flourished around 950-1400 AD and is referred to as the Pee Dee (not after the tribe of the same name, but after the river there). It finally disappeared before 1600. Intensive cultivation of maize began as early as 900, after 1200 the small settlements became large villages of perhaps 150 inhabitants in 15 to 20 houses, which were built around a central square and whose number and size increased considerably from around 1400.
On the coast, on the other hand, a cultural divide between north and south can be seen along the Neuse River. South of the river ruled from 2000 BC. BC clay vessels, probably taken over from Georgia, which were reinforced with plant fibers (stallings ware), but north of them real pottery. Most mounds are found south of the Neuse River. The inhabitants of North Carolina are likely to have become largely sedentary and they cultivated an increasingly rural lifestyle (Eastern Agricultural Complex), but without a radical change occurring. After all, they integrated the cultivation of beans, corn and squash, while the dominance of nuts declined. The third cultural region is the mountain region, which was later inhabited by the Cherokee (Pisgah, around 1000 to 1450, then Qualla). There, too, the larger villages built mounds. Around 800 Iroquoian groups immigrated to the north (Cashie, until 1750).
When in 1524 the first European, Giovanni da Verrazzano, entered the region in search of a passage to the Pacific, tribes of the Cherokee, Tuscarora, Muskogee, Cheraw, Tutelo, Catawba and some smaller tribes related to the Iroquois and the Algonquin settled the country.
In 1584, Queen Elizabeth I granted Walter Raleigh a charter establishing an English colony. However, the first settlement attempt failed. The second attempt began in the spring of 1587. A group of 110 people settled the island of Roanoke. There, on August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare was born, the first child born in the New World to English-speaking settlers. When the leader of the settlers returned to the island after a trip after 1590, he found only the remains of the settlement there. It could never be clarified what had happened in the settlement. This second failed settlement attempt has gone down in history as the "Lost Colony". The disappearance of its residents without a trace has given rise to speculation to this day.
Separation into North and South Carolina
After the restoration of the House of Stuart in 1663, King Charles II gave charters to eight followers establishing a new colony, which they were to administer as proprietors. It was named Carolina in honor of his father Charles I (lat. Carolus). In the area around Albemarle Sound in present-day North Carolina, settlers advancing from Virginia had already settled around 1650, but further settlement progressed slowly. By 1700, white settlers had settled south along the coast to the Pamlico River, and by 1722 to Bogue Sound near modern-day Jacksonville. However, these settlers remained isolated for a long time from the other settlement focus of the colony around the port city of Charleston, so that two fundamentally different government and administrative systems developed in North and South Carolina from the beginning of settlement, which were also managed by two governors from 1664 to 1691 . A legislature for Albemarle also first met in 1664. It was not until 1701 that the owners, the Lord Proprietors, of the colony recognized their de facto separation into North and South Carolina; However, it was not until 1712 that the person responsible for the northern settlements held the title "Governor of North Carolina". In 1729, the two Carolinas were converted into crown colonies, cementing the separation.
Socially and politically, North Carolina in colonial times resembled its northern neighbor Virginia more than South Carolina. While in South Carolina in the 18th century a politically and economically leading class of rice planters based primarily on slavery developed, the majority of the population in the north lived on small farms that, apart from tobacco, mainly grew grain and ran livestock. While blacks made up around 38% of the population in the South in 1710, in North Carolina it was only 6%. In contrast to the south, a uniform local administrative structure developed in the north with the founding of counties and some towns. In 1705, Bath was incorporated as the first city in what is now North Carolina.
North Carolina during the American Revolution
In the late 1760s, tensions arose between the lower-class farmers of the Piedmont and the wealthy planters of the coastal region. The apparent squandering of public funds by Governor William Tryon to build a new seat of government, Tryon Palace in New Bern, was the last straw and the farmers rose up in the regulators' revolt. Tryon was victorious at the Battle of Alamance on May 17, 1771, ending the seven-year conflict. Some historians see this uprising as one of the contributors to the outbreak - or even one of the first military acts - of the American Revolutionary War.
It is in Charlotte that the people of Mecklenburg County are said to have made the first declaration of independence during the American Revolution on May 20, 1775, although there is no evidence for such a declaration. However, the date of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is still used in the seal and flag of today's state of North Carolina. On April 12, 1776, the Provincial Congress, the congress of the province of North Carolina, decided to declare independence from the British crown. North Carolina was the first colony to authorize its delegates to the Second Continental Congress to secede from England through the so-called Halifax Resolves. This event is also commemorated by the date in the North Carolina seal and flag.
North Carolina was largely spared hostilities in the early years of the Revolutionary War, but became a major theater of war in 1780 and 1781. The American patriots won a major victory over the English loyalists on October 7, 1780 at the Battle of Kings Mountain. After defeating the British at the Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781, Nathanael Greene lured British troops into the heartland. He thus cut them off from the English supply stores in Charleston. This maneuver became known as "The Race to the Dan".
The troops of Generals Greene and Cornwallis met at the Battle of Guilford Court House on March 15, 1781. Although the British troops were victorious, they were severely weakened by the losses they suffered. This ultimately led to their final defeat in 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown. The victory of the American-French army ensured America's independence from the British Crown. The warring parties signed the Peace of Paris in September 1783 and England recognized America as a sovereign state.
Between the wars (1783–1861)
The 1787 draft United States Constitution received mixed reviews in North Carolina. It was not until a year later that delegates in Fayetteville agreed to approve it, and North Carolina became the twelfth and penultimate of the former 13 colonies to ratify the constitution. In 1790, North Carolina brought the western lands under government; these areas were referred to as Tennessee Territory between 1790 and 1796. In 1796, this finally became Tennessee, the 16th state of the Union.
The prosperity and economic growth of the heavily rural state were based on slave labor, in the early years mainly in the field of tobacco cultivation. After the revolution, Quakers and Mennonites tried to persuade slave owners to free their slaves. However, the number of free blacks in North Carolina increased steadily during the first decades after the Revolutionary War. Although slavery was less common than in the Deep South, as of the 1860 census, more than 330,000 people, 33% of the population, were black slaves.
In 1840 the surviving government building in Raleigh was completed. Unlike many other southern states, North Carolina did not develop a dominant "cotton aristocracy", but the state and its government were predominantly controlled by independent middle-class farmers. In the mid-1800s, rural North Carolina was connected by the 135-mile Farmer's Railroad. It ran east from Fayetteville to Bethania, northwest of Winston-Salem, and was made of wooden rails.
In 1860 North Carolina had a long tradition of slave ownership.
Despite this, initially it did not vote in favor of joining the
Confederacy; only President Abraham Lincoln's call to invade the sister
state of South Carolina caused North Carolina to join the Confederates.
Even after secession, some North Carolinians refused to support the
Confederates, mostly non-slave farmers. Nonetheless, men from all parts
of North Carolina took part in the major battles of the Civil War as
part of the Army of Northern Virginia, one of the Confederate Army's
most important major units.
The largest battle in North Carolina was the Battle of Bentonville in the spring of 1865. It was an unsuccessful attempt by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to halt the advance of Union troops under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman through the Carolinas. This capitulated the last major combat unit of the Confederates, which ended the military conflict. Wilmington, the Confederacy's last port, also fell in the early summer of 1865.
North Carolina was reinstated into the United States on July 4, 1868, after the passage of a new constitution promoting education, prohibiting slavery, universal suffrage, and providing social services. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which regulated equal treatment of citizens after the Civil War, was also ratified. During this difficult period of Reconstruction, Andrew Johnson, a native of North Carolina, served as President of the United States from 1865 to 1869.
In the late 19th century, the cotton and textile industries developed
in the Piedmont; the development of these industries helped the state
develop an alternative to the hitherto predominant agriculture. On
December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers launched mankind's first
successful manned powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
In response to racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and agricultural difficulties, tens of thousands of African Americans left North Carolina in the first wave of African American migration between 1910 and 1930. In the hope of better living conditions and work, they moved primarily to the large cities in the north of the country.
In the early 20th century, North Carolina embarked on a large-scale education initiative and road construction to boost the state's economy. The state highway project began in the 1920s after the automobile had become a popular mode of transportation. During the first decades of the 20th century, several important US military installations, such as Fort Bragg, were located in North Carolina.
After Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, a program to revitalize the
domestic economy, North Carolina developed particularly strongly in the
areas of education and manufacturing. During World War II, North
Carolina supplied the country's armed forces with a number of locally
produced goods. North Carolina also placed an emphasis on research and
In 1931, the Negro Voters League was formed in Raleigh to promote voter registration for African-American citizens. Work to desegregate and restore civil rights to the African American population continued across the state. African-American students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University began the Greensboro sit-ins, a form of resistance that spread throughout the South. After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the state's African American population began to participate fully in political life. In 1973, Clarence Lightner made American history when he successfully ran for mayor of Raleigh, becoming the first African American to be elected mayor of the southern United States and the first black mayor in a predominantly white community.
In 1971, North Carolina's third constitution was ratified, with a 1997 amendment giving the governor the power of veto over most legislative decisions. While Democrat Jim Hunt was reelected governor for the fourth time in 1996, setting a record in North Carolina, which traditionally votes Republican, Elaine Marshall was the first woman to be elected Secretary of State and thus a state-level office.