Today marks North Carolina’s 234th birthday! U.S. Sen. Ted Budd, R-NC, was among those remembering the Old North State’s special day on social media. 

Source: Sen, Ted Budd’s X page.

On Nov. 21, 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the United States Constitution and the only state with two ratification conventions. In 1729, the state started as a royal colony and was one of the original 13 colonies. 

The state was named in honor of King Charles I of England, who formed the English colony, as Carolus is Latin for “Charles.”

North Carolina adopted the Halifax Resolves resolution on Apr. 12, 1776, becoming the first colony to permit their delegates to vote in favor of independence from Great Britain. The slogan, “First in Freedom,” was coined and can be seen on license plates across the state. 

The Edenton Tea Party in October of 1774 marked the first time women organized any political activity in the United States. 

According to “The King’s Trouble Makers – Edenton’s Role in Creating a Nation and State,” by Dr. Troy Kickler, senior fellow and managing director of the North Carolina History Curriculum Project at the John Locke Foundation, a group of women from Edenton and the Chowan County area signed a petition to boycott English goods and protest the tax. Only men signed petitions in those days, making the women’s action a bold political move. 

An earlier controversial document, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, allegedly signed in Charlotte on May 20, 1775, was touted as the first Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. The “declaration” didn’t surface until 1819. Published text in the Raleigh Register was reconstructed from memory by John McKnitt Alexander.

According to, historian William Henry Hoyt dashed any hopes that it was a legitimate document. He used the latest methods to determine that the document was misconstrued from the Mecklenburg Resolves of May 31, 1775. It’s also worth noting that the May 20, 1775, date has been enshrined on the North Carolina state flag.

North Carolina became the 10th of 11 states to secede from the Union on May 20, 1861, joining the Confederacy, but was restored to the Union on July 4, 1868, after the end of the Civil War. 

On Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers had the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, which is now part of Kill Devil Hills. The slogan, “First in Flight,” was coined from their achievement and can be seen on many license plates across the state. 

The state motto, Esse Quam Videri, Latin for “To be rather than to seem,” was adopted in 1893.

The state has a population of 10.69 million and is the 28th largest and the 9th most populous state in the country. Charlotte is the largest city, with a population of 885,663, with the Charlotte Metro Area at 2.79 million. Raleigh, the state capital, has a population of 477,084, and the Raleigh Metro Area has about 1.5 million people. 

The state’s economy has shifted from its primary industries of tobacco, textiles, and furniture to agriculture (including being second in the nation for producing Christmas trees), technology, pharmaceuticals, banking, food processing, vehicle parts, and tourism.

The state’s geography ranges from the mountains (part of the Blue Ridge Mountains) in the western part of the state to the Piedmont region in the central part to the beaches along the coastal area in the east.

North Carolina is a proud military state with Fort Liberty (formerly known as Fort Bragg), Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, MCAS New River, Camp Geiger, Camp Johnson, Stone Bay, and Courthouse Bay.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City, and the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point in Southport, one of the largest military terminals in the world, which serves the U.S. Army, are also located in North Carolina.

The state boasts major sports teams like Carolina Panthers football, Charlotte Hornets basketball, and Carolina Hurricanes hockey. NASCAR plays an important role in the state, including its Hall of Fame, located in Charlotte, and golf has a significant presence with many tournaments, including a PGA Tour at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.

Colleges and universities serve a vital role in the state, including UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, NC State University, Wake Forest University, and Duke University. 

The arts are a prominent feature of the state, with many famous movies being filmed here, including Dirty Dancing, which was filmed at Lake Lure to many films based on North Carolina native Nicholas Sparks’ romance novels, including “The Notebook,” and the upcoming Hallmark Channel’s “A Biltmore Christmas” which was filmed at the Biltmore Estate. 

The state is known for several contributions to the food and drink industry, including Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Pepsi, Cheerwine, Hardees, and pork barbecue, including rivalries over Western (or Lexington style) to Eastern style.

Other popular facts about the state include:

  • The state bird – the cardinal.
  • The state tree – the pine tree.
  • The emerald – the gemstone.
  • The Shag – the state dance. 

“The Old North State” is the official state song, written in 1835 by William Gaston and adopted as the state song by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1927.

Happy 234th Birthday to The Old North State!