Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2012, the estimated population of Charlotte according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 775,202, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area ranks 23rd largest in the US and had a 2012 population of 2,296,569. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a sixteen-county market region or combined statistical area with a 2011 U.S. Census population estimate of 2,442,564. Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans". Charlotte is considered a "Gamma+ world city".
The city is a major U.S. financial center, the second largest financial center by assets following New York City. Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo are headquartered in the city. Charlotte is also home of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte and its resident county are named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become queen consort of Great Britain the year before the city's founding. A second nickname derives from the American Revolutionary War, when British commander General Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out by hostile residents, prompting him to write that Charlotte was "a hornet's nest of rebellion", leading to the nickname The Hornet's Nest.
Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate. Charlotte is located several miles east of the Catawba River and southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake are two smaller man-made lakes located near the city.