The Tar Heel State
"Esse quam videri" (To be, rather than to seem)
States of Carolina
November 21, 1789
Both North and South Carolina have benefited from large numbers of Scottish immigrants. The Cape Fear River Valley, in particular, was home to a large settlement of Gaelic speaking Highland Scots, among them the famous Flora MacDonald. Many Highlanders had taken oaths of loyalty to the Crown after 1745 and so fought for the Royalists in the American War for Independence. The piedmont and western mountain regions of the Carolinas were settled heavily by Ulster Scots. These were Lowland Scots who migrated to Ulster in the seventeenth century and then later to North America. Many of these Scots-Irish (as they came to be known) would fight for independence in the Revolutionary War. A special tartan for the Carolinas would honor the contributions of these immigrants and their many descendants. Dr. MacDonald's son, Peter MacDonald, of Crieff, Scotland, came up with the design for the Carolina tartan in 1981. Peter MacDonald (pictured) is a renowned expert in tartan history, and is himself a weaver and designer of tartan cloth. He wanted the tartan to be significant to the history of the Carolina colonies. The Carolinas were created by a grant from King Charles II in 1663, but were actually named for his father, Charles I (1600-1649). "Carol" is the Latin form of the name Charles; hence "Carolina" as the name of the colony. Charles II was the last King of Scotland to be crowned at Scone. At that ceremony, held on January 1, 1651, he is said to have worn a jacket with ribbons in the "auld Royale tartan." It is not known what that tartan may have been, but it is theorized that it was a form of what would later be called the Royal Stewart tartan. On May 9, 1991, the North Carolina Legislature adopted the Carolina tartan as the official tartan of the State of North Carolina. Another decade would pass until South Carolina would do the same, passing legislation on June 3, 2002, declaring the Carolina tartan to be the official tartan of the State of South Carolina.