A state of the southeast United States bordering on the Atlantic Ocean. One of the original Thirteen Colonies, it was settled by colonists from Virginia in the mid-1600s, was part of the province of Carolina until 1691, and became a separate British colony in 1711. North Carolina ratified the United States Constitution in 1789. It seceded in May 1861 and was readmitted to the Union in 1868. The state has long been a center of tobacco growing and processing. Raleigh is the capital and Charlotte the largest city.