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Honoring The States: The 12th State - North Carolina...

On November 21st, 1789, North Carolina ratified the US Constitution as the 12th state to join the union. North Carolina is known as the "Tar Heel State" due to the state's early history of the production of naval stores - tar, pitch, and turpentine - for wooden ships from the pine trees in the vast forests of this state. The production workers distilling pine oil would accumulate tar on their heels, and it was a legend that some British soldiers were slowed down when they stepped in tar during the Revolutionary War. North Carolina is the birthplace of flying, with the very first powered flight manifesting in December 1903. The capital is Raleigh, the state bird is the Northern Cardinal, the state flower is the Flowering Dogwood, and the state tree is the Pine Tree.


Around 700AD, the Native Americans that populated North Carolina and created more permanent settlements were the Cape Fear, Cheraw, Cherokee, Chowanoke, Croatoan, Meherrin, Saponi, Tuscarora, and Waccamaw. In the 1540's, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto landed in North Carolina, and he established the first English settlement in 1585. In 1629, from northern Florida to Albermarle Sound, King Charles I created the province of Carolina. Then, in the 1600's, the first colonists from Virginia began to settle in Carolina permanently. North Carolina and South Carolina were officially divided in 1712.


In the mid-1600's, the Indigenous were attacked and enslaved, their land was seized or manipulated from them through bogus trade negotiations, or they were killed by diseases that were brought over by the settlers. In 1711, the Tuscarora people attacked colonial settlements to try and drive them out. This led to the Tuscarora War, which finally ended in 1713 with hundreds of Tuscarora people being killed or sold as slaves. The remaining Natives migrated to join the Iroquois Confederation in the north. The Cherokee were also forced to give up their land to colonists in the early 1700's. After President Andrew Jackson signed the "Indian Removal Act" in 1830, about 17,000 Cherokee were forced out of North Carolina on the "Trail of Tears". Four thousand Cherokee died. Those that survived and didn't want to leave, were able to establish a reservation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee. There are 8 state-recognized indigenous tribes in North Carolina today. They are the Coharie, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Haliwa-Saponi, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the Meherrin, the Sappony, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, and the Waccamaw Siouan.


Five separate battles were fought during the American Revolution in North Carolina. It was the state that didn't allow the British to secure the southern colonies, making it a huge defeat for the British at the Battle of King's Mountain. North Carolina became the 12th state in the Union when the General Assembly ratified the Constitution in 1789.

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