Charlotte is located in the southern part of the state and is the seat of Mecklenburg County. The city is located in the Piedmont region near the Catawba River. The largest city in the state, Charlotte is part of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Metro area which includes seven counties and extends into South Carolina. The city was settled in about 1750 and incorporated in 1768. Charlotte is named for Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III of England. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, created to protest British rule, is said to have been signed here by the citizens of Mecklenburg County on May 20, 1775, more than a year before the American Declaration of Independence was issued. While occupying the town in 1780 during the American Revolution, the British general Charles Cornwallis referred to Charlotte as a "hornet's nest of rebellion" because of the activities of patriot troops. The city seal features this hornet's nest. The city grew quickly after gold was discovered in the area in 1799, and development continued as first the textile industry and then the railroads increased Charlotte's prosperity.

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