Grade Unit 1 Student Early Statehood

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4th Grade Unit 1 – Student

Early Statehood

As a state, North Carolina grew very slowly. The state had few good roads, large cities, or schools. Many people began calling North Carolina the “Rip Van Winkle state.” Rip Van Winkle is a character in a story who falls asleep for 20 years. After many years, North Carolina’s government began working to improve the state.

A New State Capital

At first, North Carolina’s state government met in the coastal towns of New Bern, Fayetteville, and Tarboro. However, many lawmakers wanted to move the capital – the city in which the state government meets – to the center of the state.

In 1788, leaders from each county met in Hillsborough to choose a new site for the capital. A county is a part of a state, usually larger than a city that has its own government.

Leaders chose a site in the Piedmont region for the capital. In 1792, the state government bought 1,000 acres of land in Wake County. Soon after, construction started on the capital. The town was named Raleigh, after the founder of the Roanoke Island colony.

In 1794, workers built the first state capitol in the center of Raleigh. A capitol is a building where lawmakers meet. Sometimes capitols are called statehouses. The first capitol burned down in 1831. A larger statehouse was built in the same location in 1840. It still serves as North Carolina’s state capitol.

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