History of Charlotte
The area of present-day Charlotte was originally inhabited by the Catawba people. European settlers soon realized the area was very fertile and started moving there, pushing away the native inhabitants. In the 1750s they named the area after Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of the King George III. Charlotte was incorporated in 1768 and in 1774 it became the seat of Mecklenburg County, also named after the king’s wife. The residents of Charlotte were always nurtured a spirit of independence and a general “can-do” attitude, so it is no surprise they signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in 1775, more than a year before the joint colonies did so. The town prospered in the late 18th century after the completion of flour and saw mills and the discovery of gold in the surrounding area.
The importance of mines in Charlotte later diminished, but the city established itself as an important center for cotton production and textile industry. Not one but several railroads arrived to Charlotte by the mid-1880s, which, naturally, provided additional boost for the city and its economy. By 1903, more than a half of the entire production of textile in the USA was located within a 100-mile radius of Charlotte. After the World War II Charlotte became a major distribution center and in 1920s it also became a center of banking and finance.
Recently, Charlotte has been one of the favorite destinations for relocation, not only for businesses but also for families. Population is still growing, the job market is expanding, and it seems that Charlotte has been experiencing a prosperity seldom seen in other cities during difficult economic times.
Geography and Climate
Charlotte has a total area of 297.68 square miles. It is located in the Carolina Piedmont and it is situated atop a rise between Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek. There are no significant geographic features, such as large bodies of water, elevations and similar, which has allowed the city to expand and become a road, rail and air transportation hub. The Catawba River and Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina, are located several miles northwest of the city
The city has a humid subtropical climate, typical for a southeastern U.S. Winters are short and cool and summers are long, hot and humid. The wettest period is between January and March, when severe ice storms are known to happen.
Population of Charlotte
In 2012, Charlotte had a population of 772,627. In 2010, the racial makeup in the city was 45.1% non-Hispanic Whites, 35% Black or African American, 13.1% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.8% some other race and 2.7% two or more races.
Charlotte is the historic seat of Southern Presbyterianism and the birthplace of Billy Graham, the famous evangelist. The city has the headquarters of the Baptist Peace fellowship of North Carolina and campuses of the Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as the headquarters of the Advent Christian Church.
The largest Christian church by attendance is the Elevation Church. The Cathedral of Saint Patrick is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and the Holy Trinity Cathedral is the primary Greek Orthodox church in North Carolina. The city also has a large Jewish population, the largest in the state.
Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the nation, after New York City. It is home to Bank of America, the second-largest financial institution by assets in the nation. Wachovia also had its corporate headquarters in Charlotte until the acquisition by Wells Fargo. Still, the city has kept the headquarters for East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo.
The city is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, such as Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Nucor, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, Goodrich Corporation, SPX Corporation and Chiquita Brands International. Other large companies in the city include Muzak, Bojangles, Carlisle Companies, Time Warner Cable RSC Brands, Babcock and Wilcox and others.
Charlotte is one of the most important centers of motorsports industry, with several NASCAR offices and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which, together with Carowinds amusement park, is the top tourist attraction in the city.
Museums and Arts
Notable museums in Charlotte include Mint Museum of Art, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Carolinas Aviation Museum, Discovery Place, Levine Museum of the New South, Wells Fargo History Museum and, of course, the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
As for the performing arts, Charlotte is home to the Opera Carolina, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, ImaginOn, Tremont Music Hall, North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and The Robert Johnson Show.
Notable institutions of higher learning in Charlotte include Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte School of Law, Johnson C. Smith University, Johnson and Wales University, Queens University of Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which is the largest university in the city.
Charlotte is served by the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the sixth-busiest airport in the USA and in the world for traffic or aircraft movements. The airport is the largest hub of US Airways.
As for the passenger rail transportation, the city is served by three Amtrak’s routes: The Crescent, The Carolinian and The Piedmont.