Monday, February 27, 2012

USA - North Carolina - Mapcard (2)

The Tarheel State

State Bird : Cardinal
State Flower : Dogwood

Sent by Debbie, a postcrosser from North Carolina, USA.

This is from Wikipeedia : Tar Heel (or Tarheel) is a nickname applied to the state and inhabitants of North Carolina as well as the nickname of the University of North Carolina athletic teams, students, alumni, and fans.

The exact etymology of the nickname is unknown, but most experts believe its roots come from the fact that tar, pitch and turpentine created from the vast pine forests were one of North Carolina's most important exports early in the state's history.

Because the exact history of the term is unknown, a number of legends have developed to explain it. Many believe it to be a nickname given during the U.S. Civil War, because of the state's importance on the Confederate side, and the fact that the troops "stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels".

The term "Tar Heel" gained popularity during the Civil War.

In its early years as a colony, North Carolina settlements became an important source of the naval stores tar, pitch, and turpentine especially for the English navy. Tar and pitch were largely used to paint the bottom of wooden British ships in order to both seal the ship and to prevent shipworms from damaging the hull.

At one time, an estimated 100,000 barrels (16,000 m3) of tar and pitch were shipped annually to England. After 1824, North Carolina became the leader in the United States for naval stores. By the Civil War, North Carolina had more than 1600 turpentine distilleries, and two thirds of all turpentine in the United States came from North Carolina and one-half from the counties of Bladen and New Hanover.

Historians Hugh Lefler and Albert Newsome claim in North Carolina: the History of a Southern State (3rd edition, 1973) that North Carolina led the world in production of naval stores, from about 1720 to 1870.

At the time, tar was created by piling up pine logs and burning them until hot oil seeped out from a canal. The vast production of tar from North Carolina led many, including Walt Whitman, to give the derisive nickname of "Tarboilers" to the residents of North Carolina. North Carolina was nicknamed the "Tar and Turpentine State" because of this industry.

Somehow, these terms evolved until the nickname Tar Heel was used to refer to residents of North Carolina and gained prominence during the American Civil War. During this time, the nickname Tar Heel was a pejorative, but starting around 1865, the term began to be used as a source of pride.

In 1893, the students of the University of North Carolina founded a newspaper and christened it The Tar Heel, which was later renamed The Daily Tar Heel. By the early 1900s the term was embraced by many as a non-derisive term for North Carolinians by those from inside and outside the state of North Carolina.

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