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about Charlotte

One of the fastest-growing and most prosperous American metropolises, the Queen City is the world's second biggest banking center. Charlotte, located near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, is the Carolinas' largest city and provides the region's economic and cultural heartbeat.

In 2004, population in the City of Charlotte was 614,330; metro area population was 1.5 million.

Lush and green with a mild climate, Charlotte constitutes most of Mecklenburg County in the Carolina Piedmont. Downtown Charlotte (once billed as "Uptown" by local boosters, but now referred to as "Center City") was built on the gunnies of the St. Catherine's and Rudisill gold mines and today is a major financial center, with Bank of America, Wachovia and other national banks headquartered there. It is not uncommon for a builder digging a basement to break into the gunnies and have to pour several tons of cement to fill the hole. The Charlotte skyline has mushroomed in recent years and features the Bank of America Corporate Center, which at 871 feet is the tallest building between Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Charlotte is the second biggest banking center in the world, after New York City. The city's location has made it a longtime transportation focal point and major trucking center. Charlotte Douglas International Airport is served by numerous airlines and is a fortress hub for USAirways; nonstop flights are available to destinations across the United States and Europe.

The city harbors a wide system of parks and greenways, recreational areas which can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

Residents of Charlotte enjoy a quasi-Mediterranean climate (mild/rainy winter and hot/dry summer), with sun and temperatures that remain mostly warm and pleasant throughout the year.

Nearby towns and cities include Pineville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Gastonia, and Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is the county seat of Mecklenburg County.

Charlotte geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 629.0 km² (242.9 mi²). 627.5 km² (242.3 mi²) of it is land and 1.6 km² (0.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.25% water.

Charlotte history

Charlotte was founded in the 1750s at the intersection of two Indian trading paths, including a north-south route that we today recall as the Great Wagon Road and know as U.S. 21. The Great Wagon Road brought settlers of Scotch-Irish and German descent from Pennsylvania into the Carolina foothills, along with the rugged industriousness and individualism that were part of their Presbyterian conviction. This crossroads, which sat atop a long rise in the Piedmont landscape, would later become the center of modern downtown Charlotte, with the streets named "Tryon" and "Trade".

The village, established by Thomas Polk, was named for Queen Charlotte, the German wife of British king George II.

The nod to royalty was short-lived, however. In 1775, townsmen signed a set of resolves that would become known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and Charlotte played a critical role during the Revolutionary War, site of encampment for both the American and British main armies. It was during a series of skirmishes between British troops and fiesty Charlotteans that the village earned a lasting nickname: "Hornets' Nest," so dubbed by a frustrated Lord General Cornwallis. Charlotte was an ideological hotbed of revolutionary sentiment, an enduring legacy that remains prominently splashed across the cityscape: Independence Boulevard, Independence High School, Freedom Park, Freedom Drive, etc.

Charlotte's history as a financial center is extensive. In 1838 the U.S. Congress established a branch U.S. Mint there, because of the gold deposits found in the area. Additionally, an 1836 executive order issued by President Andrew Jackson called a specie circular had mandated that all land transactions be conducted in cash, thus incresing the need for minted money. The Charlotte mint, which produced coins in denominations of $2.50, $5, $10, and after 1849, $1, was active until 1861, when Confederate forces seized the mint facility at the outbreak of the Civil War. The mint was not reopened at the end of the war, but the building survives and now houses an art museum. Because of the relatively small mintage that the Charlotte mint produced annually, surviving pieces are prized in the field of American numismatics.

The Civil War largely bypassed Charlotte, though the city was the site of the Confederate Cabinet's final meeting. Confederate president Jefferson Davis was in Charlotte when he received news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

Charlotte's penchant for looking ahead -- a drive for economic development that kicked into particularly high gear during the mid-20th century -- has created something of an historical apathy in the city. Most traces of antebellum Charlotte are long gone, and preservationists have often struggled in their quest to maintain landmarks in the face of modern-minded boosters. That's a key reason Charlotte is often regarded as a "new" American city, despite the fact that among major U.S. metropolises, it is actually one of the oldest.

Richard Vinroot was mayor of Charlotte from 1991 to 1995. Patrick McCrory succeeded him in office and, in 2003, won re-election to a fifth term.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Charlotte, North Carolina".

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