Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and is known as the “City of Oaks” for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city.
Raleigh is also home to North Carolina State University and is part of the Research Triangle, together with Durham (home of Duke University) and Chapel Hill (home of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
Raleigh is an early example of a planned city and was selected as the site of the state capital in 1788. The city was originally laid out in a grid pattern with the State Capital in Union Square at the center.
The twentieth century saw the opening of the Research Triangle Park in 1959, and with jobs it saw a large influx of population, making it one of the fastest growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century.
In the first decade of the 21st century, Raleigh was featured prominently in a number of “Top 10 Lists,” including those by Forbes, MSNBC and Money Magazine, due to its quality of life and business climate.
Raleigh is located in the northeast central region of North Carolina, where the North American Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This area is known as the “fall line” because it marks the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers. As a result, most of Raleigh features gently rolling hills that slope eastward toward the state’s flat coastal plain. Its central location situates Raleigh about two hours west of Atlantic Beach and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains of the Appalachian range.
Raleigh’s industrial base includes banking/financial services; electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment; clothing and apparel; food processing; paper products; and pharmaceuticals. Raleigh is part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, one of the country’s largest and most successful research parks, and a major center in the United States for high-tech and biotech research, as well as advanced textile development. The city is a major retail shipping point for eastern North Carolina and a wholesale distributing point for the grocery industry. Raleigh, NC is number three on the 2013 Forbes List for being the best place for businesses and careers.