Happy 240th birthday, U.S.A.
Known as the Fourth of July or Independence Day, today marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 by the Continental Congress declaring that the 13 American colonies were free as a sovereign nation.
But by some accounts, North Carolina had already declared independence from Great Britain a year earlier.
The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was supposedly signed in Charlotte on May 20, 1775 when Mecklenburg County residents declared themselves free and independent people.
But historians have disputed the authenticity of the so-called “Mec-Dec” since it was first published in the Raleigh Register in 1819, 44 years after the so-called event.
Still, the date is enshrined on both the state flag and seal. And North Carolinians have long celebrated the holiday with events ranging from parades and picnics, to military remembrances and historical readings.
See more historical photos of North Carolinians celebrating the 4th of July in the past: