North Carolina's economy was historically based on the cultivation of tobacco and the manufacture of tobacco products and textiles in the early 20th century. While these activities remain important, other industries and services have largely overshadowed them. To set up a factory, capital was needed, and North Carolinians had lost a great deal of money and property in the Civil War, but there was still money left to invest. Some pre-war factories survived and grew, and their owners invested the profits in new factories.
Planters could no longer invest their money in enslaving others as workers, and agriculture was becoming less profitable. After the war, planters and farmers with money to invest increasingly allocated that money to industrial development. Many industrialists started out very small, with little savings and borrowed money, and built their businesses slowly.Merchants were selling more and more products to farmers and industrial workers that people had manufactured in their homes, and they too could invest their profits in new factories. Money was far from being standardized as it is today.
Precious metal coins (gold and silver) were the preferred currency, expected to have an intrinsic value in terms of precious metal content equivalent to the denomination. Coins that were considered honest had a reliable purity and weight of precious metals. In colonial times, coins of Spain and its colonies were highly valued and circulated all over the world. In addition, coins weren't just for small transactions; larger silver or gold coins represented substantial value, and were the norm even for large commercial transactions.Paper money was distrusted and was only used when the supply of coins was insufficient.
Tobacco factories converted raw tobacco grown on North Carolina farms into cigars, chewing tobacco and cigarettes that were sold across the country. There has been a clear difference in the economic growth of North Carolina's urban and rural areas. Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city, continues to experience rapid growth, largely due to the banking and financial industries.North Carolina is also home to some of the most important film festivals in the Southeast, such as the National Festival of Black Theater, the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham (North Carolina) and the BluMoon Film Festival in Greenville (North Carolina). In 1860, North Carolina was an agricultural state with a scattered industry and a handful of cities with a population of more than 1,000 inhabitants.
The Numismatic Collection of the University Libraries contains an original Carolina elephant record from 1694, the oldest known numismatic object that refers to the Carolinas.Before the war, the South had shipped its cotton to the North and to Europe; now, North Carolina's textile mills processed the state's staple crop and North Carolinians kept the profits. The three main elements of the property tax system in North Carolina are real estate, motor vehicles, and personal property (inventories and personal household assets are exempt). Cone Mills in Greensboro and Hanes Mills in Winston-Salem are two names you might know; in 1896 there were 182 cotton mills in North Carolina as well as 10 wool mills. In fact, so much wood was harvested that George Washington Vanderbilt opened the Biltmore Forest School in 1898 to find ways to preserve North Carolina's mountain forests.Industrialization needed five things: capital, labor, raw materials, markets, and transportation; by 1870s North Carolina had them all.
Nowadays a factory can buy its raw materials anywhere in the world but North Carolina's 19th century industries stayed a little closer to home. Over the past century North Carolina has grown to become a national leader in agriculture, financial services and manufacturing.