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All about North Carolina

Historical Note:

The outer limits . . .

An interesting part of North Carolina is its Outer Banks, a line of barrier islands which protect North Carolina from the sea, but take a brutal beating themselves. On a map of the United States, the thin strip of the Outer Banks looks like a stray strand of hair out of place on the face of America.

A lot of mystery and intrigue surround the Outer Banks. Like the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island, where a group of settlers mysteriously disappeared. The governor went to England for supplies in 1587. When he returned in 1590, the place was empty. The only clue was the word "Croatoan" carved on one tree and "Cro" on another. To this day no one knows what happened. Just as no one knows what happened to thousands of ships that sank off the stormy Cape Hatteras over the years.

And then there's the infamous pirate, Blackbeard, a murderer and rapist who terrorized the area, molesting almost everyone he saw. Appeals were made to the governor for help, but to no avail; it was rumored that he shared the pirate's booty. The governor of Virginia finally sent recruits to save the day. A fierce battle took place on Blackbeard's boat, the "Adventure." Blackbeard was killed, his crew captured. But no one knows where his treasure went. When asked where his treasure was hidden, Blackbeard said, nobody but him "and the devil" knew.

Speaking of the devil . . . on Kill Devil Hills, the Wright Brothers took flight. They launched their 605-pound flyer into 20 mph winds. With Orville in the pilot seat, the flyer took off on a flight that lasted 12 seconds over a distance of 120 feet. It's a mystery how two untrained bicycle makers beat some of the greatest scientists in the world in getting a motor engined plane to take off.

Trivia Questions about North Carolina:

1. Why is North Carolina nicknamed the Tar Heel State?

  1. In Colonial days the state's plentiful pine trees produced a sap that was made into tar and used to waterproof ships. Workers getting tar on their feet were called Tar Heels
  2. In1781 on their way to Yorktown, Cornwallis' troops forded the Tar River and came out with tar on their feet. They marked their passage through North Carolina as their "tar heel" days.
  3. On a Virginia battlefield during the Civil War the supporting column of soldiers fled, leaving the North Carolinians to fight alone. The victorious North Carolinian soldiers claimed they should give their tar to the other states so their soldiers would stay and fight the next time. General Lee reportedly commented, "God bless the Tar Heel boys!" and the nickname stuck like tar.
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.

2. Why is the plateau called the "Piedmont"?

  1. Pied is Latin, meaning patchy; the land in this region is patchy-colored.
  2. Pied is French for foot and mont is French for Mountain. This plateau is at the foot of the mountains.
  3. The plateau is named after the Piedmont region of Italy
  4. The story of the Pied piper originates from this region.

3. True or False?

North Carolina is named after King Charles I of England.

(Answers at bottom of this page)

Name Origin: English. (Named after Charles II)

Capital: Raleigh

Population: 7,070,000

Area: 52,669 square miles

Statehood: November 21, 1789 (12th)

Nickname: The Tar Heel State

Motto: "To be rather than to seem"

Famous For: Blue Ridge Mountains, Smoky Mountains, Outer Banks, Roanoke Island, Cape Hatteras, Kitty Hawk, Tobacco, Textiles, Furniture

Answers to Trivia Questions about North Carolina:

1. (d)

2. (c)

3. True. The word Carolina comes from the word Carolus, the Latin form of Charles. When the Carolinas split in the early 1700s, the southern part was called South Carolina and the older, northern settlement was called North Carolina, or the "Old North State." The Old North State is also the name of the official state song.

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