Timeline of Charlotte, North Carolina Following thousands of years of indigenous cultures, the Catawba Native Americans were the first known historic tribe to settle Mecklenburg County in the Charlotte area and were first recorded around in Spanish records.
By half the Catawba tribe had died from smallpox , which was endemic among Europeans, because they had no acquired immunity to the new disease. At the time of their largest population, Catawba people numbered 10,, but by their total population had dropped to They made up the principal founding European population in the backcountry. German immigrants also settled here before the American Revolutionary War , but in much smaller numbers.
They still contributed greatly to the early foundations of the region. The western portion of New Hanover split into Bladen County in , its western portion splitting into Anson County in Mecklenburg County formed from Anson County in Further apportionment was made in , after the American Revolutionary War, with Cabarrus County formed from Mecklenburg.
In , Union County formed from Mecklenburg's southeastern portion and a western portion of Anson County. Thomas Polk granduncle of U. Polk , who later married Thomas Spratt's daughter, built his house by the intersection of two Native American trading paths between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers.
Nicknamed the Queen City,  like its county a few years earlier, Charlotte was named in honor of German princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , who had become the Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland in , seven years before the town's incorporation.
A second nickname derives from the American Revolutionary War , when British commander General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out by hostile residents. He wrote that Charlotte was "a hornet 's nest of rebellion", leading to the nickname The Hornet's Nest. In , surveyors marked the streets in a grid pattern for future development. While not a true declaration of independence from British rule, it is among the first such declarations that eventually led to the American Revolution.
May 20, the traditional date of the signing of the declaration, is celebrated annually in Charlotte as "MecDec", with musket and cannon fire by reenactors in Independence Square. North Carolina's state flag and state seal also bear the date. Many veins of gold were found in the area throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, leading to the founding of the Charlotte Mint.
North Carolina was the chief producer of gold in the United States until the Sierra Nevada find in ,  although the volume mined in the Charlotte area was dwarfed by subsequent rushes. View of the Old Court House, Charlotte, Some groups still pan for gold occasionally in local streams and creeks. The Reed Gold Mine operated until The Charlotte Mint was active until , when Confederate forces seized it at the outbreak of the Civil War.
The mint was not reopened at the war's end, but the building, albeit in a different location, now houses the Mint Museum of Art. The city's first boom came after the Civil War, as a cotton processing center and a railroad hub.
Charlotte's city population at the Census grew to 7, Many soldiers and suppliers stayed after the war, launching an urban ascent that eventually overtook older city rivals along the Piedmont Crescent. In the census, Charlotte lost its title as the state's largest city to Winston-Salem , which with a population of 48, had 2, more people than Charlotte.
However, Charlotte regained its status several years later. First Union , later Wachovia in , experienced similar growth before it was acquired by San Francisco -based Wells Fargo in Measured by control of assets, Charlotte is the second largest banking headquarters in the United States, after New York City.
Residents were without power for weeks, schools were closed for a week or more, and the cleanup took months. In December , Charlotte and much of central North Carolina were hit by an ice storm that resulted in more than 1.
Many of the city's Bradford pear trees split apart under the weight of the ice. In August and in September , the city experienced several days of protests related to the police shootings of Jonathan Ferrell and Keith Scott. Charlotte constitutes most of Mecklenburg County in the Carolina Piedmont. Charlotte center city sits atop a long rise between two creeks, Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek, and was built on the gunnies of the St.
Catherine's and Rudisill gold mines. Though the Catawba River and its lakes lie several miles west, there are no significant bodies of water or other geological features near the city center.
Consequently, development has neither been constrained nor helped by waterways or ports that have contributed to many cities of similar size. The lack of these obstructions has contributed to Charlotte's growth as a highway, rail, and air transportation hub.