Why is Charlotte called Queen city?

Monday, 11/12/2023 | 03:37 UTC-5

Charlotte has been known as the “Queen City” for more than 250 years. It was also the first major U.S. city to adopt the moniker.

Why is Charlotte called Queen city

What to know about its royal namesake

While America doesn’t formally recognize a monarch such as Queen Elizabeth II like the United Kingdom does, many places — including Charlotte — have connections to the throne.

Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are named after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, according to the city’s website.

Settlers in Charlotte wanted to honor the queen’s husband, King George III, the ruler of Great Britain and Ireland, and persuade the colonial N.C. General Assembly to build the county’s courthouse there to serve as a hub for visitors, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library website.

Charlotte officially became a city in 1768, which entitled the city to a courthouse and a prison, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Related: Top 10 most popular culinary restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina / USA

WHO WAS QUEEN CHARLOTTE?

Born in 1744 in Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a province in what is now northern Germany, Queen Charlotte was well-versed in botany, natural history, language, housekeeping and religion, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Women rarely had the ability to read and write during that time, but her royal status allowed her to have access to tutors.

She was engaged to King George III at 17 and later gave birth to 14 of her 15 children in what is known today as Buckingham Palace, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Queen Charlotte has also been credited with starting the tradition of decorating trees for Christmas, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Some genealogists consider Queen Charlotte to be the second biracial queen of England, with early portraits showing “hints of African physical attributes,” according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

CITIES WITH THE SAME NICKNAME

Cincinnati is the only other major city in the U.S. with the same nickname when it was incorporated two decades after Charlotte was established, The Enquirer reported.

During the late 1800s, Meridian, Mississippi, a city in the southeast part of the state, became known as the Queen City because it was an important stop along a rail line that went from Louisiana to Ohio, The Meridian Star reported.

Buffalo, New York has also been called the Queen City for being the largest city along the Great Lakes at the end of the 1800s.

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When did Charlotte become the Queen City?

Even though they didn't adopt the nickname until 1819 – 51 years after Charlotte had coined the descriptor – Cincinnati tried to claim it as well because people had started calling it “The Queen of the West.”

Why are some cities called the Queen City? 

The largest western city of the United States at the time, locals took inspiration from his poem Catawba Wine and dubbed Cincinnati: “the Queen City.” Some people also refer to Charlotte, North Carolina as “the Queen City” since it was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg, wife of Great Britain's King George III.

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