Named in honor of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III of England, the most populous city in North Carolina claims 325 Fortune 500 companies and is second only to New York City nationally as a financial center. Charlotte’s wealth is not surprising when you consider its history.

In 1799, the discovery of a 17-pound gold nugget in the Charlotte area sparked America’s first gold rush. A branch of the U.S. Mint was established here in 1837, and, until gold was found in California in 1848, the city briefly ranked as the nation’s largest producer of that precious metal. A notable attraction in Charlotte, the historic Mint building, seized by Confederate forces when the Civil War broke out…

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