North Carolina became the twelfth state of the United States by ratifying the Constitution in 1789. Its founders named the state after Charles I. Carolus means Charles in Latin. The state’s nicknames are the Tar Heel State and Old North State. Raleigh is the state capital. The state ranks 28th in size and 9th in population. In colonial times the state raised rice and tobacco. Leading sources of income today are tobacco, textiles, and furniture. The Wright Brothers flew their first airplane in Kittyhawk, North Carolina. Children could learn more at: North Carolina. They could also find out what a tar heel is.
Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first airplane in 1903 near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville piloted the first successful flight. Then Wilbur had his turn. Each flight lasted less than a minute. The flights were results of years of experimentation. Children could view the Wright Brothers’ accomplishments at: First Flight. They could also read Russell Freedman’s The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane.
USS Monitor, the iron-clad ship, sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 1862. The Monitor had been built in early 1862. The ship faced the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac on March 9, 1862. Neither ship sustained major damage. The Monitor was being towed by the USS Rhode Island when both ships ran into a storm. Many of the Monitor crew members were saved by the Rhode Island crew. However, sixteen crew members died. Today the Monitor is part of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Divers can roam around the outside of the ship. The Sanctuary is a wonderful repository of information and a catalyst for future experiments and research. Children can visit the Sanctuary’s website at: http://monitor.noaa.gov/. Idea: Young scholars could find out why so many ships have sunk off Cape Hatteras.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore was established in 1953. Located along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the national seashore is 70 miles long. Once called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” the park hosts many species of birds. Sea turtles also nest along the shore. Children can learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/caha/index.htm.
Wright Brothers National Memorial was authorized in 1927. Originally designated Kill Devil Hills Memorial, the memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The 428-acre site pays tribute to the Wright Brothers’ original four flights on December 17, 1903. Children can learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/wrbr/index.htm.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site was established in 1941. Located in Dare County, North Carolina, the site protects Roanoke Colony, the first English settlement in North America. The settlers, funded by Sir Walter Raleigh, arrived in 1587. However, by 1590 no settlers could be found. The area became the “Lost Colony.” Children could learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/fora/index.htm.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934. Because the park hovers on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, it is close to large centers of population. Over eight million people visit the park each year. People lived in the area prior to its becoming a park. Over 6,000 tracts of land had to be purchased before the area could be declared a national park. Children can visit a website at: http://www.nps.gov/grsm.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1999 had to be moved because the encroaching ocean was close to washing it away. The 2900-foot move was completed on July 9, 1999. Children could learn about the fascinating move at: Cape Hatteras.
State of Franklin came into being in 1784. Eight counties of then eastern North Carolina seceded from the state and formed their own government that was to be Franklin, the fourteenth state. However, the federal government over time did not recognize the territory, and in 1788 the land returned to North Carolina. Today the counties are part of eastern Tennessee. Children can learn more at: State of Franklin.