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Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina and the 19th-largest city in the United States. The seat of Mecklenburg County, it is the largest city between Philadelphia and Jacksonville. In 2008, Charlotte's population was estimated to be 671,588. A resident of Charlotte is referred to as a Charlottean.
Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte (as well as the county containing it) is named in honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg, who had become queen consort of King George III the year before the city's founding. A second nickname derives from later in the 18th century. During the American Revolutionary War, British commander General Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out soon afterwards by hostile residents, prompting him to write that Charlotte was "a hornet's nest of rebellion," leading to another city nickname: The Hornet's Nest. This is also reason for the City's former NBA team the Charlotte Hornets.
In 2008, the Charlotte metropolitan area had an estimated population of 1,675,495 . The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region or combined statistical area that has an estimated population (as of 2008) of 2,491,650. In 2008, Charlotte was chosen the "Best Place to Live in America" by relocate-america.com in its annual ranking, based on factors including employment opportunities, crime rates, and housing affordability. It was also named #8 of the 100 "Best Places to Live and Launch" by CNNMoney.com - cities picked for their vibrant lifestyles and opportunities for new businesses.[
The area that is now Charlotte was first settled in 1755 when Thomas Polk (uncle of United States President James K. Polk), who was traveling with Thomas Spratt and his family, stopped and built his house of residence at the intersection of two Native American trading paths between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. One of the paths ran north-south and was part of the Great Wagon Road; the second path ran east-west along what is now modern-day Trade Street. In the early part of the 18th century, the Great Wagon Road led settlers of Scots-Irish and German descent from Pennsylvania into the Carolina foothills. Within the first decades following Polk's settling, the area grew to become the community of "Charlotte Town," which officially incorporated as a town in 1768. The crossroads, perched atop a long rise in the Piedmont landscape, became the heart of modern Uptown Charlotte.
In 1770, surveyors marked off the new town's streets in a grid pattern for future development. The east-west trading path became Trade Street, and the Great Wagon Road became Tryon Street, in honor of William Tryon, a royal governor of colonial North Carolina. The intersection of Trade and Tryon is known as "Trade & Tryon" or simply "The Square". It is more properly called Independence Square.[
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