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The State Nicknames – Part 17 North Carolina - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Florida History

Our fascination with the State Number Plates in the USA has continued each time we visit Florida. It is interesting to see the different plates which offer a snapshot of each state.

North Carolina
This magnificent state has wonderful mountains and hills, together with hundreds of rivers, lakes and waterfalls. With its great climate and varied economy which ranges from agriculture to high tech, it is a desirable place to live, particularly as it usually has mild winters and warm but comfortable summers. It is also a great tourist area.

The Great Smoky Mountains are majestic, whilst the Blue Ridge Parkway is stunning, and on the coast, the islands of the Outer Banks are quite beautiful. This string of islands, 200 miles long is a major tourist attraction, due to their wide expanses of beaches. In fact, in December 1903, the Wright Brothers made their first historic flight in a heavier than air, motorised flying machine on the Outer Banks.

Until 1729 the Carolinas were one colony, named in honour of Charles IX of France, and both Charles I and Charles II of England.

North Carolina has had many nicknames, and one of the first was ‘The Tarheel State. ’ At this time tar was one of the state’s major products. When organic matter such as wood, peat or coal decays it produces a black sticky liquid called tar. Why it should have been adopted is a matter of debate, and there are two stories which concern Civil War battles. One of these stories describes a battle when a brigade of North Carolinians failed to hold their position. The enemy, the Mississippians, taunted them by saying if they had tarred their heels they could have held or stuck to their position.

Another product of great importance to North Caroline in its early history was turpentine, and huge quantities were produced from the vast North Carolina pine forests, thus giving it the name, ‘The Turpentine State. ’

North Carolina is also known as ‘The Land of the Sky’ which refers to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina. It is also referred to as ‘The Old North State. ’ This name refers to the northern section of the original state of Carolina, which was divided into northern and southern sections in 1710.

Amusingly, North Carolina was also known as the ‘Rip Van Winkle State, ’ but where this originates is not really known. It may be that northern visitors might have compared the mountains of North Carolina to those of New York, where the Rip Van Winkle legend originated.

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