The geography of North Carolina falls naturally into three divisions; the Appalachian Mountains formed mostly by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, the Middle or Piedmont Plateau, and the Eastern or Tidewater section, also known as the Coastal Plain. North Carolina covers 53,821 square miles and is 503 miles long by 150 miles wide. The physical characteristics of the state can be pictured as a surface spread out upon a vast declivity, sloping down from the summits of the Smoky Mountains, an altitude of near seven thousand feet, to the ocean level.
Agriculture - The cultivated productions of the Mountain section are sweet corn, wheat, oats, barley, hay, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Cattle are also reared quite extensively for market, and large numbers of chickens are raised for market in the northwestern mountains and foothills. In the Piedmont region of central North Carolina are found all the products of the mountains, although over the southern half cotton appears as the staple product. In the deep, loamy soils of the coastal region, cotton, corn, and oats are the staple crops, and truck farming (growing fruits and vegetables for northern markets), constitutes a flourishing industry.
The River System - Seventeen major river basins have cover at least part of the state of North Carolina, they can be broadly divided into three groups. In the extreme western part of the state, there are those that flow in a northwesterly direction, draining into the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River. In the central part of the state, rivers flow generally southward into South Carolina before reaching the Atlantic Ocean In the eastern part of the state, most of the rivers flow generally eastward or southeastward direction, before emptying into one of the sounds that separate the mainland of North Carolina from the Outer Banks.