The Carolinas

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The Carolinas
Country  United States of America
States  North Carolina
 South Carolina
Principal cities  - Charlotte, NC
 - Raleigh, NC
 - Greensboro, NC
 - Greenville, SC
 - Columbia, SC
 - Charleston, SC
 - Winston-Salem, NC
Colonized as Province
of Carolina

 • Total 85,839 sq mi (222,320 km2)
 • Land 78,804 sq mi (204,100 km2)
 • Water 7,025 sq mi (18,190 km2)  8.2%
Population (2013)
 • Total 14,622,899
 • Density 170/sq mi (66/km2)
Demonym(s) Carolinian
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

The Carolinas are the U.S. states of North Carolina and South Carolina, considered collectively. Combining North Carolina's population of 9,848,060 and South Carolina's of 4,774,839, the Carolinas have a population of 14,622,899 as of 2013. If the Carolinas were a single state of the United States, it would be the fifth most populous state, behind California, Texas, Florida, and New York. The Carolinas were known as the Province of Carolina during America's early colonial period, from 1663 to 1710. Prior to that, the land was considered part of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, from 1609 to 1663. The province, named Carolina to honor King Charles I of England, was divided into two colonies in 1729, although the actual date is the subject of debate.


Sir Robert Heath (1575–1649) was an English judge and politician who was also a member of the English House of Commons from 1621 to 1625. Sir Robert Heath was granted charter over the lands between latitudes 31° and 36° north, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. Heath's patent required he plant a colony that was never fully realized.

The 1663 charter granted the Lords Proprietor title to all of the land from the southern border of the Colony of Virginia at 36 degrees north to 31 degrees north (along the coast of present-day Georgia). In 1665, the charter was revised slightly, with the northerly boundary extended to 36 degrees 30 minutes north to include the lands of the Albemarle Settlements along the Albemarle Sound who had left the Colony of Virginia. Likewise, the southern boundary was moved south to 29 degrees north, just south of present-day Daytona Beach, Florida, which had the effect of including the existing Spanish settlement at St. Augustine. The charter also granted all the land, between these northerly and southerly bounds, from the Atlantic Ocean, westward to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

The 1663 Province of Carolina Charter

The Charter of 1663 chartered the territory as an English Proprietary colony assigning rights to eight English Noblemen. These noblemen are known as the Lords Proprietors of Carolina forming the Province of Carolina.

A New Description of Carolina", engraved by Francis Lamb (London, Tho. Basset and Richard Chiswell, 1676)

Between 1663 and 1729 there were many disagreements relating to defense, governance and the difference between the two differing agrarian styles employed by the inhabitants of the Colony of Virginia and that practiced by the planters arriving to Charles Town from the West Indies and Barbados.

In 1729 the Province of Carolina was divided when the descendants of seven of the eight Lords Proprietors sold their shares back to the Crown. Only the heirs of Sir George Carteret retained their original rights to what would become the Granville District. Both the Province of North Carolina and the Province of South Carolina became English Crown Colonies in 1729.[1] §


The culture of the Carolinas is a distinct subset of larger Southern culture. Notably, the coastal Carolina region was settled by Europeans over a century before the inland regions of the South,[2] and was influenced by the culture of the Caribbean, especially Barbados; many of the early governors during the unified period were Barbadians.[3] Though the two states both form part of the South, there are historically a number of significant differences in the settlement patterns, political development, and economic growth of the two states. For example, during the Civil War, SC was the first Southern state to secede from the Union,[4] while NC was the last state to secede.[5] During the war, SC was generally one of the strongest supporters of the Confederacy. Many North Carolinians (especially in the western part of the state), however, refused to support the Confederacy at all; they either remained neutral or covertly supported the Union during the war. NC's Civil War governor, Zebulon Vance, was an outspoken critic of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and frequently refused to obey Davis's orders for reinforcements and supplies; Vance insisted the soldiers and supplies were needed in NC.[6]


During most of the 20th century, SC was a bastion of the "solid Democratic South" with almost no Republican officeholders, and the state frequently elected politicians who were outspoken supporters of racial segregation. NC, while mostly Democratic, contained a large Republican minority – the state voted Republican in the presidential election of 1928 and elected several Republican congressmen, governors, and senators from 1868–1928 – and NC was widely known as one of the more progressive Southern states on the issue of segregation and civil rights. In 1947, the famous journalist John Gunther wrote, "that North Carolina is by a good deal the most progressive Southern state will, I imagine, be agreed to by almost everybody."[7] On the other hand, he described South Carolina as "one of the poorest American states, and probably one of the balkiest."[7] In describing the differences between the two states, Gunther noted that, in 1947, divorce in North Carolina "may be granted simply on the ground of absence of cohabitation; South Carolina is the one American state in which divorce is not possible."[7] NC's nickname for many years was "a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit"; the "mountains" were Virginia and South Carolina.[7]

Despite these differences, NC and SC are the country's two most politically similar states, according to a comparison of the states along a range of 19 variables performed by the statistician Nate Silver in 2008.[8]


Traditionally, like much of the South, the Carolinas have been agricultural.[9] However, the predominance of certain crops has influenced the regional economy:[citation needed]

Like other [Southern] states, until after World War II North Carolina remained primarily a region of small farms and factories heavily dependent on just a few labor-intensive crops, relying on sharecropping and tenancy, especially for black laborers. The Carolinas are distinct for their economic dependence on tobacco as well as on cotton and rice, and for their many small-scale furniture, textile, and tobacco factories.[10]

Greenville, the largest metro area of South Carolina and a symbol of the growth in the state.

These small industries gave the Carolinas, in particular NC, a more significant industrial base than most Southern states, but as increased mechanization in the textiles, apparel, and furniture industries combined with the decline of the tobacco industry,[11] many rural and small urban communities suffered.[12] However, during the 1990s, both states began to experience growth in the technological and banking sectors, bringing jobs and population growth.[13] These changes, as with earlier industrialization, were more pronounced in NC, and SC has experienced a slower rate of economic growth for several years.[14]

Professional sports

Club League Sport City Established Championships
Carolina Panthers NFL Football Charlotte, North Carolina 1995 0 NFL Championships, 1 Super Bowl Appearance/Conference Title, 6 Division Titles (1-NFC West, 5-NFC South)
Carolina Hurricanes NHL Hockey Raleigh, North Carolina 1997 1 Stanley Cup, 2 Conference Titles, 3 Division Titles
Charlotte Hornets NBA Basketball Charlotte, North Carolina 1988 none
Charlotte Hounds MLL Lacrosse Charlotte, North Carolina 2011 none

The Carolinas have three professional sports teams in the Big Four major leagues. Supported by the both states, the three teams are all based in NC, two in Charlotte and the third in Raleigh. All of the sports teams are fairly recent additions; the oldest team, the NFL's Panthers, was established in 1995, while the youngest, the Hornets, was added to the NBA in 2004 as the Charlotte Bobcats, although a prior NBA team also named the Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 before leaving for New Orleans in 2002. the Bobcats were renamed the Hornets in May 2014, one season after the former New Orleans Hornets decided to rebrand themselves as the Pelicans. Of all the teams, the Hurricanes are the most successful, being the only team with a championship.

The Carolinas are home to a number of NBA superstars, such as Chris Paul, James Worthy, John Wall, and Michael Jordan (from NC) and Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Ray Allen, and Raymond Felton (from SC). Six of these players are All Stars, four are NBA champions, and John Wall and James Worthy were the Number 1 draft picks in the 2010 NBA Draft and 1982 NBA Draft, respectively. An abnormal amount of basketball players come from here, on par with the big cities like New York and Los Angeles. While the Hornets do little to generate buzz in the Carolinas, they are home to three of the most successful collegiate men's basketball teams in the NCAA, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Duke Blue Devils. All three schools are fierce rivals who have combined to win 12 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships (UNC has 5, Duke has 5, NC State has 2).

Boundary between the states

Plotting the boundary

According to the Prefatory Notes to Volume 5 of the Colonial Records of North Carolina, the process of determining the boundary between North and South Carolina began in 1720 "when the purpose to erect a third Province in Carolina, with Savannah for its northern boundary"[15] began. On 8 January 1730[16] an agreement between the two states said for the border "to begin 30 miles southwest of the Cape Fear river, and to be run at that parallel distance the whole course of said river;" The next June Governor Robert Johnson of South Carolina said the border should start 30 miles southwest of the source of the Cape Fear "due west as far as the South Sea," unless the "Waccamaw river lyes [sic] within 30 miles of the Cape Fear river,"[15] which would make the Waccamaw the boundary. North Carolina agreed to this until the discovery that the Cape Fear headwaters were very close to Virginia, which would not have "permitted any extension on the part of North Carolina to the westward."[15] In 1732, Governor George Burrington of North Carolina stated in Timothy's Southern Gazette that territory north of the Waccamaw was in North Carolina, to which Johnson replied that South Carolina claimed the land. Johnson also said that when the two met before the Board of Trade in London two years earlier, Burrington had "insisted that the Waccamaw should be the boundary from its mouth to its head,"[15] while South Carolina agreed the border should be located 30 miles from the mouth, not the source. Johnson said this was "only a mistake in wording it."[15]

Both Carolinas selected commissioners to survey the line between them. The plan called for the line to run northwest to 35 degrees latitude, unless the Pee Dee River was reached first, in which case it would run along the Pee Dee to 35 degrees north. Then the line would run west to Catawba town, though if the town were north of the line, the line was to run around Catawba to keep it in South Carolina.[15]

In May 1735, the surveyors went from the Cape Fear westward thirty miles along the coast. Then they turned northwest and marked the location with stakes. The surveyors agreed to meet again on September 18. However, only the North Carolina team returned at that time, extending the line northwest 70 miles. The South Carolina team arrived in October and only followed the previous line for 40 miles because they had not been paid. A deputy surveyor marked where the Pee Dee crossed the 35th parallel. An extension of the line in 1737 ran 22 miles to a stake in a meadow.[15] However, the stake placed at the endpoint of the survey was 12 miles too far south.[17]

In 1764, a second extension ran 62 miles westward. In 1772, after making adjustments to keep the Catawba Indians in South Carolina, "extended in a due west course from the confluence of the north and south forks of the Catawba River to Tryon Mountain."[15] However, this extension was based on the erroneous position of the 1737 stake, removing 422,000 acres from South Carolina.[17] Joseph Caldwell, president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that the line west of the Pee Dee did not run along the 35th parallel, but 12 miles to the south. However, the western part of the line ran far enough to the north to make up for the difference.[15] West of this point the border was shifted to run north of the 35th parallel so that the total areas of the states would return to what was intended, although the accuracy of this part of the survey was marred by a magnetic anomaly in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.[17]

North Carolina did not agree to the line of 1772 until 1813.[15] A 1905 survey determined the border between Scotland County, North Carolina and Marlboro County, South Carolina. A 1928 survey decided the border between Horry County, South Carolina and Brunswick and Columbus counties in North Carolina.[18]

Recent history

In the mid-1990s, Duke Energy determined that the border between the Carolinas needed to be re-surveyed, as the company was selling and donating land in the Jocassee Gorge area, which included parts of both states.[17] Also, with more people living outside cities, the precise boundaries of fire, tax, and school district lines needed to be known. This was especially a problem in the mountains, where people had previously lived in valleys, not on the ridges where the border was. A 15-year plan to re-establish the boundary began, using maps from the 1813–1815 survey and GPS technology. A few stone markers still read, "NC/SC 1815 AD"[19] but other locations were marked with trees which no longer stand.[17]

South Carolina had recently been involved in a costly legal battle with Georgia over a small number of islands in the Savannah River, and wanted to avoid the expense of a lawsuit regarding the North Carolina border, so the two states agreed in 1993 to cooperate in resurveying the border. The effort included using colonial-era maps to reconstruct the positions of trees making the border that had long since died, and tracking down the original positions of stone markers that had been moved.[17]

After 18 years and $980,000, it was predicted that the process of determining the border between the Carolinas would be complete in 2012.[18] Financial problems delayed the last survey until October 2012, meaning the results were not expected to be known until Spring 2013.[20] A gas station and 30 homes could change states. Lake Wylie Minimarket has been located in South Carolina, along U.S. Route 321, and the move to North Carolina would result in higher gas taxes and change laws on beer and fireworks.[21] The state legislatures involved expect to pass laws alleviating the concerns those changing states would face.[20]

The Joint Boundary Commission met in February 2014 in Monroe, North Carolina to determine what actions still needed to be taken. The persons living in 50 homes that changed states would have to get driver's licenses and register to vote in their new states. Legislative action could allow people to keep utilities, avoid back taxes to the new state, and continue in the same schools. Lake Wylie Minimarket could be grandfathered, or Congress could change the defined border at the store's location, though the commission intended to avoid such an action.[22] As of August 2014, the states were expected to pass legislation to mitigate many of the negative impacts to affected landowners.[17]


Combined Statistical Areas

The Most Populous Combined Statistical Areas of The Carolinas

Rank CSA 2013 Estimate 2010 Census Change Constituent CBSA
1 Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area 2,493,040 2,375,675 +4.94% Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Shelby, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Albemarle, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
2 Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area 2,037,430 1,912,729 +6.52% Raleigh, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Dunn, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Oxford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Sanford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Henderson, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
3 Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area 1,619,313 1,589,200 +1.89% Greensboro-High Point, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Winston-Salem, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Burlington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mount Airy, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
4 Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area 1,438,550 1,362,073 +5.61% Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Greenwood, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Seneca, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Gaffney, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
5 Columbia-Orangeburg-Newberry, SC Combined Statistical Area 922,242 897,607 +2.74% Columbia, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Orangeburg, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Newberry, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
6 Fayetteville-Lumberton-Laurinburg, NC Combined Statistical Area 548,059 536,708 +2.11% Fayetteville, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Lumberton, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Laurinburg, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
7 Myrtle Beach-Conway, SC-NC Combined Statistical Area 465,391 436,880 +6.53% Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Georgetown, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
8 Hickory-Lenoir, NC Combined Statistical Area 408,533 410,493 −0.48% Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Marion, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
9 Greenville-Washington, NC Combined Statistical Area 221,727 215,907 +2.70% Greenville, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Washington, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
10 New Bern-Morehead City, NC Combined Statistical Area 196,091 193,271 +1.46% New Bern, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Morehead City, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

The Most Populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas of The Carolinas

Rank MSA 2013 Estimate 2010 Census Change Encompassing CSA
1 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 2,335,358 2,217,012 +5.34% Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area
2 Raleigh, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,214,516 1,130,490 +7.43% Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area
3 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 850,965 824,112 +3.26% Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area
4 Columbia, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 793,779 767,598 +3.41% Columbia-Orangeburg-Newberry, SC Combined Statistical Area
5 Greensboro-High Point, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area 741,065 723,801 +2.39% Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area
6 Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 712,220 664,607 +7.16%
7 Winston-Salem, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area 650,820 640,595 +1.60% Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area

Urban Areas

The Most Populous Urban Areas of The Carolinas
Rank Urban Area 2010 Census Land Area
Land Area
(sq mi)
(Per km²)
(Per sq mi)
1 Charlotte, NCSC 1,249,442 1,920.5 741.5 650.6 1,685.0
2 Raleigh, NC 884,891 1,342.0 518.1 659.4 1,707.8
3 Columbia, SC 549,777 984.3 380.0 558.6 1,446.7
4 Charleston--North Charleston, SC 548,404 759.8 293.4 721.8 1,869.5
5 Greenville, SC 400,492 829.4 320.3 482.9 1,250.6
6 Winston-Salem, NC 391,024 835.5 322.6 468.0 1,212.2
7 Durham, NC 347,602 470.7 181.7 738.5 1,912.6
8 Greensboro, NC 311,810 479.7 185.2 650.0 1,683.5


The Most Populous Counties of The Carolinas

Rank County 2013 Estimate 2010 Census Change Primary City
1 Mecklenburg County, North Carolina 990,997 919,628 +7.76% Charlotte, North Carolina
2 Wake County, North Carolina 974,289 900,993 +8.14% Raleigh, North Carolina
3 Guilford County, North Carolina 506,610 488,406 +3.73% Greensboro, North Carolina
4 Greenville County, South Carolina 474,266 451,225 +5.11% Greenville, South Carolina
5 Richland County, South Carolina 399,256 384,504 +3.84% Columbia, South Carolina
6 Charleston County, South Carolina 372,803 350,209 +6.45% Charleston, South Carolina

See also


  1. The Split – One Colony Becomes Two from
  2. Carolina Folk: The Cradle of a Southern Tradition. McKissick Museum. Columbia, SC, USA: University of South Carolina Press. 2006. p. 33. ISBN 0-87249-950-2. Retrieved 7 June 2008.CS1 maint: others (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "SCIway News No. 43". May 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "A Brief History of South Carolina". South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Robert Morgan (22 August 2003). "The Bill of Rights Belongs in North Carolina". New York Times. Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Book Review: War Governor of the South". The Journal of American History. September 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Gunther, John (1947). Inside U.S.A. (50th Anniversary ed.). New Press. pp. 719–723. ISBN 978-1-56584-358-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Nate Silver (7 July 2008). "State Similarity Scores". Retrieved 7 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. See Wallace Stevens's poem "In the Carolinas" for a reference to the fertility of this part of the world.
  10. Williams, B. (1988). Upscaling Downtown: Stalled Gentrification in Washington. Anthropology of contemporary issues. Cornell University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-8014-9419-2. Retrieved 11 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Tobacco-Dependent Communities Research Initiative". N.C. Rural Economic Development Center. 2000–2005. Archived from the original on 1 June 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Rural Dislocated Worker Initiative". N.C. Rural Economic Development Center. 2000–2007. Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2008. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "North Carolina". American Planning Association. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Jim DuPlessis (6 June 2008). "U.S. economic growth matches S.C. at 2 percent in 2007". Retrieved 7 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 15.9 "History of Western North Carolina – Chapter II. Boundaries". webroots. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Carolina Noteworthy Events – The North Carolina-South Carolina Border Surveys – 1730 to 1815". Retrieved 5 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Kelly, Stephen R. (23 August 2014). "How the Carolinas Fixed Their Blurred Lines". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 Beam, Adam (12 February 2012). "N.C.-S.C. border may move". The State. Retrieved 29 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Dan Huntley, "Surveyors to Separate Carolinas, Precisely," The Charlotte Observer, 27 December 2001.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Beam, Adam (2 December 2012). "New SC-NC line delayed until spring". The State.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Severson, Kim (5 April 2012). "Untangling a Border Could Leave a Mess for Some". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Collins, Jeffrey (7 February 2014). "Officials discuss legislation over North, South Carolina border". Augusta Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved 11 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • John Gunther. Inside USA, Harper & Brothers, 1947.

External links