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5 Biggest Cities in North Carolina: How Well Do You Know The Tar Heel State?

By    |   Monday, 13 Apr 2015 03:49 PM

There are a couple of reasons why North Carolina may be referred to as the Tar Heel State. According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during the Revolutionary War, British troops crossed a river in a shallow area and got tar on their heels that may or may not have been dumped there by North Carolinians to slow the British.

Another story from the Civil War states that North Carolina soldiers threatened to put tar on the heels of their comrades to keep them from retreating in battle. Today, if you're a North Carolina resident, you're a Tar Heel.

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Here are the five biggest cities in North Carolina:

1. Charlotte: With a population of 751,999, Charlotte is the state's largest city. Before it was settled by European immigrants in 1750, the area was home to the Catawba Indians. It was established as a city in 1768, and grew rapidly during the Civil War because its many cotton mills were often built near railroad lines.

2. Raleigh: This city of approximately 412,311 people is the capital city of North Carolina and is the home to many cultural and historical sites, including the North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Art, and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The capital city was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who sent the first colonists to North Carolina.

3. Greensboro: This city has a population of 270,063 and is the third largest city in North Carolina and was not always the county seat. It was changed from Martinsville to Greensboro in the early 19th century because the populace desired a more central location. The first co-educational school, New Garden Boarding School, was founded by Quakers there in 1837. By 1888, it became Guilford College.

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4. Winston-Salem: The fourth largest city in North Carolina, Winston-Salem boasts a population of 232,143. The county seat of Forsyth County was formed by combining the towns of Winston and Salem, established 1849 and 1766, respectively. Winston was named for Colonel Joseph Winston, who fought during the Revolutionary War and who would become a senator and United States House of Representatives member. The name Salem means "peace," originating from the Latin "Shalom."

5. Durham:
This is the fifth largest city in North Carolina, with a population of 231,730. Tobacco was important to Durham. The Duke Family founded the American Tobacco Company, which spurred economic growth in the area and has impacted higher education, with an ongoing endowment benefiting Duke University. The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., founded in 1898, was the first African-American owned company in the nation.

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There are a couple of reasons why North Carolina may be referred to as the Tar Heel State. According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during the Revolutionary War, British troops crossed a river in a shallow area and got tar on their heels.
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