The Story of the Carolina Tartan

Tartan Colors
Tartan Fraud?


Tartan is a symbol associated with Scottish heritage the world over.  Commonly referred to as "plaid," a tartan is a unique design of colored stripes running in both the warp and weft (vertical and horizontal) of the cloth, to create a pleasing pattern of both solid colors and "half tones" where two colors cross.  Tartan designs have long been a traditional part of Scottish Highland clothing.  Over the past two centuries, tartans have been used symbolically, with named tartans being worn to show affiliation with a particular family, group, or place.  Most people are aware of clan tartans, worn to show your descent from one of the great Scottish clans, such as MacDonald, MacGregor, Stewart, Cameron, Campbell or MacLeod (to name but a few).  However, tartans have also been named for places.

Some of these district tartans are older even than the well known clan tartans.  The tartan for the city of Aberdeen, for instance, can be documented to 1794.  People wear district tartans to show where they are from, where they currently reside, or their ancestral place of origin.  There are district tartans for many cities, shires, and regions in Scotland, but with the mass migration of Scots abroad, the tradition of district tartans has spread across the Atlantic.  Every Canadian Province has a tartan affiliated with it. 

The first tartan designed for an American State was the Maine tartan, designed by Sol Gilis in 1964.  Designed in 1981, the Carolina tartan was the second state tartan to be designed.  Today, over half of the states in the US have tartans, many of which, including the Carolina tartan, have been officially adopted by their state's government.

The Carolina tartan is the official tartan for the states of North and South Carolina.  Both states have passed legislation formally adopting this tartan as a state symbol.  This web page exists to provide the public with information about the Carolina tartan, to encourage its use as a state symbol, especially within the Scottish-American communities, and to promote the Scottish heritage of the Carolinas.



Adopted as the official Tartan of NC in 1991


Adopted as the official Tartan of SC in 2002

2007-2008 info@carolinatartan.com