Charlotte is an ambitious and rapidly growing city in the southern part of the Piedmont of North Carolina. It is the largest city in the state, with a population of 809,856 (2014 estimate) residents within the city limits. As of 2006, the Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury combined statistical area (CSA) had a regional population of 2,589,763, and Charlotte is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. It is the center of finance, industry, technology, and entertainment for the region. It is a renowned financial powerhouse and banking center, with Bank of America's corporate headquarters and Wells Fargo's East Coast Operations located in Uptown, and is regarded as the second most important financial hub in the United States, behind New York City. Primarily known in the past as a leading Southern textile and manufacturing center, Charlotte is has modernized and diversified its robust economy through successful applications of urban and economic planning, known as "Vision Plans." It is also developing its fledgling tourist industry; currently its central core is one of the most visitor-friendly districts in the Carolinas.
Heavy growth in the past 20 years has made Charlotte one of the South's largest and most successful cities. In many ways, the city is still trying to catch up to its own growth; visitors often comment that it seems understated in terms of culture and development. However, it is changing at a breathtaking speed. A very rapid influx of population and business investment has given it one of the most dynamic urban areas in the region.
Charlotte's earliest settlers were Presbyterians of Scots-Irish descent who built a small courthouse, marketplace and village at the intersection of ancient Native American trading paths (the actual intersection is the Square formed by Trade and Tryon Streets) during the middle of the 18th Century. Both Charlotte and Mecklenburg County were named in honor of the Germanic wife of King George III of England. In addition, the main thoroughfare (Tryon St.) was named in tribute to the English Governor of the day. The establishment of a courthouse made Charlotte the seat of Mecklenburg County, and it was known for little more in its early days. Read more