Raleigh, North Carolina is the capital of the state, and technically its own city. However, it is quite often lumped in with the nearby cities of Durham and Chapel Hill for statistical and population purposes, as the three are known as the “Triangle.”
The nickname of the “Triangle” started up in the early 1960s after the region saw the establishment of the Research Triangle Park. It straddles the line between Durham and Wake Counties, situated between the three aforementioned cities. Wake County is home to Raleigh and North Carolina State University, whereas Durham is home to Duke University, and Chapel Hill is the location of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Raleigh is home to approximately 1.2 million people in and around the city, but the larger Triangle area has nearly twice that.
The majority of Raleigh’s square miles sit inside Wake County, but a tiny part overlaps into Durham County. A number of towns surround Raleigh, serving as either suburbs or satellite towns. These include Cary, Garner, Wake Forest, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Zebulon, Rolesville, Wendell, Fuquay-Varina, Apex, Clayton, and Morrisville.
The city is nicknamed the “City of Oaks” given the prevalence of oak trees lining streets in the city center. The city itself covers just over a hundred and forty square miles of land, with almost a half million living within its boundaries, and the rest in the suburbs and satellite towns.
The city itself is named after the historical figure Sir Walter Raleigh, who was the leader of the lost Roanoke Colony that was established in what is now Dare County.
While now the capital, Raleigh was not always so. North Carolina is one of the original 13 colonies, and the oldest town in the state is Bath, which served as de facto capital from 1705 until 1722. Edenton later took over the role until 1743 when New Bern took its turn.
Raleigh was chosen as the capital in 1788, as its central location within the state gave it protection from coastal attacks, as the British had laid siege to New Bern in the Revolutionary War. Raleigh’s official status as capital was cemented in 1792.