Raleigh (rôl´ē, räl´ē), city (1990 pop. 207,951), state capital, and seat of Wake co., central N.C.; the site was selected for the capital in 1788, and the city was laid out and inc. 1792. It is a political, cultural, trade, and industrial center; the Raleigh-Durham airport is an air travel hub. The city's industries include electrical, medical, electronic, and telecommunications equipment; apparel; food processing; paper products; and pharmaceuticals. A research center for textiles and chemicals, Raleigh is part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, an area and organization shared with Chapel Hill and Durham that utilizes the scientific talent of the three cities' universities. The cooperative has drawn numerous insurance firms and other corporations to Raleigh, which has become one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities.
The first capitol (built 1792–94) burned in 1831 and was replaced by the present building, completed in 1840. In the Civil War, Union general Sherman occupied the city on Apr. 14, 1865. Raleigh is the seat of North Carolina State Univ., Shaw Univ., Meredith College, St. Augustine's College, St. Mary's College, and Peace College. It has libraries, museums, an aboretum, a notable governor's mansion, and several 18th-century houses, including the birthplace of President Andrew Johnson, whose home is preserved as a historic site. The city is the site of an arts complex that includes the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, A. J. Fletcher Opera Theater, and Meymandi Concert Hall, and is also the home to the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes.