Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, the seat of Mecklenburg County, the second largest city in the Southeastern United States, and the third fastest-growing major city in the United States. In 2013, the estimated population of Charlotte' city limits according to the U.S.Census Bureau was 792,862, making it the 16th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area ranks 23rd largest in the US and had a 2013 population of 2,335,358. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a sixteen-county market region or combined statistical area with a 2013 U.S.Census population estimate of 2,493,040. Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans".
The city is a major U.S.financial center, with both Bank of America and Wells Fargo's East Coast operations headquartered in the city. Charlotte is also home of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, the Charlotte Knights of minor league baseball, 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 received its name 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.