Fortunately, I have the assistance of my 7th grade Social Studies book! Well actually, I turned that copy in at the end of the school year. Since then, my sister, Jeannie found this one at a yard sale and loaned it to me! I'll start with the term “Tarheels”. (In case you've wondered where the 2009 Basketball Champions got their name?)
It’s like this...
Once upon a time, North Carolina had huge forests of longleaf pines. The pine trees produced sap which could be used to produce turpentine, pitch, rosin, and tar. Making and selling these products for shipbuilding industries was our main industry. (Just ask Mr. Tarheel)
Of course you can’t make tar without stepping in it occasionally. ICK!
Hence our name. North Carolinians have been called tarheels at least since the time of the Civil War. It's that simple. Although, if you're more inclined toward a legendary explanation, Answers.com will be happy to oblige!
A few related things:
- The long leaf pine is our state tree.
- A few North Carolina towns which reflect the long leaf pine influence are Pinehurst, and Pineville, Tarboro, and Southern Pines.
- We even have a Tar River.
Thankfully, the Tar River is made of water!