Charlotte, North Carolina, the largest city in the state and the seat of Mecklenburg County. Charlotte is on the Piedmont Plateau, in southern North Carolina. The city has a pleasant climate, with cool winters, warm summers, and moderate rainfall.
Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States, behind New York City, in terms of total banking assets. Textile and furniture manufacturing have long been important. Other items manufactured here include electronics, machinery, processed foods, and printed materials. Wholesale and retail trade, medical services, and jobs associated with education are also important to the city's economy.
Charlotte is a major distribution center for the southeastern United States. It is served by two major rail systems and Interstate highways 85 and 77. Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is a short distance west of the city.
Many of Charlotte's attractions are located in the area known as Uptown. The North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center houses two theaters and is home to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Opera Carolina, the North Carolina Dance Theater, and the Charlotte Repertory Theater. Discovery Place, a science museum that includes hands-on exhibits and a planetarium, is also in Uptown. Other attractions here include the Afro-American Cultural Center and Spirit Square Center for the Arts. Other attractions are scattered throughout the city. South of Uptown is the Mint Museum of Art, which has American, European, and African art. East of Uptown is the Charlotte Museum of History and Hezekiah Alexander Homesite. Major stock car races are held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, northeast of the city. Charlotte is the home of the Bobcats and the Sting (professional basketball) and the Carolina Panthers (professional football).
Institutions of higher learning in the city include the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Queens University of Charlotte, and Johnson C. Smith University.
The site of modern Charlotte was occupied by the Catawba Indians when the first settlers arrived in the late 1740’s. Chartered in 1768, it was made the county seat in 1774. It was named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg, the queen of George III of England. According to local tradition, in 1775 the citizens of Mecklenburg County met at Charlotte and adopted a declaration of independence. The city was occupied by the British in September, 1780. It was the center of a gold rush in the 1790’s. The last meeting place of the Confederate cabinet, in 1865, was in Charlotte. Major growth came in the late 19th century when the center of American textile production shifted from New England to the Charlotte area. The city has the council-manager form of government.