How did Charlotte, NC Get the Nickname "Queen City"?

A Look at How Charlotte, NC (and Mecklenburg County) Got Their Name

Queen Charlotte Sophia
Wikimedia Commons

If you've been around Charlotte for any length of time, you'll hear the term "Queen City" used to refer to this town. But why exactly is Charlotte called "The Queen City" though?

There are about 30 cities in the United States the nickname "the Queen City" for a variety of reasons. There are towns called "Queen City" in Iowa, Missouri, and Texas. So what makes Charlotte special? And where did we get the nickname from?

It turns out that the source of the city's nickname, the name of the city itself and the name of the county we're located in (Mecklenburg) all go back to the same source - Queen Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in Germany. The city of Charlottesville, Virginia can also be traced back to this queen.

At the time of Charlotte's founding all the way back in 1768, there was a large group of people in this area called "loyalists" - colonists who didn't necessarily want to separate and remained loyal to the British Crown. A large group had settled in this area since it was the intersection of two Native American trading paths (what's now the intersection of Trade and Tryon right in the middle of Uptown).

There was a large enough group that they needed to build a courthouse and name the town. In an attempt to stay in King George III's good graces, and keep a continuous supply of money, men, food, and more coming, they named this town "Charlotte Town" after his brand new wife - Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. That's where the city's name, nickname and the name of its home country all originate.

Despite the efforts of the Loyalists, Charlotte wouldn't find the king's favor. In fact, the city would soon find itself in the middle of the American Revolution. When the residents of this town learned about the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, they drafted what is now known as The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, or the Mecklenburg Resolves.

Charlotte has a rich history steeped in the discovery of gold and the pride of Scots-Irish settlers. Unfortunately, we're not too quick to embrace the history we have. Old building frequently gives way to shining banks, and history is relegated to a small plaque. Whether you're a long-time resident or a newcomer to Charlotte, take the time to learn a little about the city you're in. You might just find out that this city has a whole lot more history that you realize!