North Carolina became the 12th state to enter the United States on Nov. 21, 1789. According to the History Channel, it holds the distinction of being "the first state to instruct its delegates to vote for independence from the British crown during the Continental Congress."
The colony of North Carolina was founded in 1653 by some Virginians looking for a place to settle. After America won its independence, North Carolina became a large cotton-producing state, and slaves were used as part of the plantation system. North Carolina was one of the last states to secede from the Union when it did so in May 1861, after the Civil War had already begun.