North Carolina – History and Geography
North Carolina, part one of the thirteen original colonies, comprises three central geographic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, occupying the eastern portion of the state; the central Piedmont region, and the Mountain region in the west, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The coastal plain contains the famous Outer Banks, a string of sandy, narrow barrier islands separated from the mainland by sounds or inlets. The Outer Banks is a favorite vacation destination for many families. In the central part of the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” as so many ships have been lost off its shores. Since records began in 1526, more than 1,000 ships have sunk, including the famous Queen Anne’s Revenge, flagship of the famed pirate Blackbeard, going aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718.
North Carolina’s economy was based heavily on tobacco, cotton, and other agriculture in its post-Civil War era. Cotton mills in the Piedmont region contributed to a significant industrial base in the 19th century. In 1703, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, was the site of the Wright brothers’ first successful controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air flight.
North Carolina is home to many military installations, including Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville and Southern Pines. In Jacksonville, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, combined with the nearby Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, MCAS New River, Camp Geiger, Camp Johnson, Stone Bay, and Courthouse Bay, comprises the largest concentration of Marines and sailors in the world. In addition, Elizabeth City is home to one of the busiest air stations in the United States Coast Guard.
Tourism of North Carolina
In addition to the Outer Banks, the Appalachian Mountains attract several million tourists to the Western part of the state. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are the two most visited National Park saw more than 25 million visitors in 2013 and continue to be significant draws due to the splendor of their natural beauty. In addition, the City of Asheville is consistently voted as one of the top places to visit and live in the United States, known for its rich art deco architecture, mountain scenery, and outdoor activities.
Art, music, and cuisine play a significant role in North Carolina culture. Generating more than one billion dollars in direct economic activity and supporting almost 44,000 full-time jobs, the nonprofit arts and culture industry is not missed. Local governments benefit as well, with the industry bringing in $119 million in revenue. In addition, the North Carolina Museum of Art is the first significant museum collection in the country to be formed by state legislation and funding and continues to bring millions into the North Carolina economy.
One of the more famous arts communities in North Carolina is Seagrove, the hand-crafted pottery capital of the United States. Here, artisans create unique pottery inspired by the same traditions that began in this community more than 200 years ago. Boasting almost 100 shops and galleries scattered throughout the area, visitors can find anything their hearts desire, from traditional tableware to folk and collectible art pieces and historical reproductions.