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North Carolina

North Carolina Description

When the first Europeans arrived along the unexplored coastal areas of the Carolinas (north and south) in the early 16th century, the only inhabitants were Native Americans. In what is now called North Carolina, they included the Algonquian, Iroquoian. Siouan, and Tuscarora tribes, and by mid-century, several Spanish explorers had ventured further inland, but no settlements were established.

sir walter raleigh In the 1580's, Roanoke Island along the Outer Banks of North Carolina was the site of the first European colony in America, but it was quickly abandoned. Other settlements were tried, but they also failed. Then, in 1587, a large expedition organized by Sir Walter Raleigh brought 150 settlers to this new world, and they also established their colony on Roanoke Island.

In time living conditions proved most difficult and with their supplies all but depleted, the colony's appointed leader, John White, and others were forced to return to England for much needed help. It took White more than two years to return, and once back on the island, all that remained of his colony was the word "CROATAN" carved on a nearby tree. All men, women and children were gone without a trace, and the fate of that "Lost Colony," has never been determined.

Undaunted, the parade of settlers into the area continued. By 1670, after a land charter granted by England's King Charles II, the overall territory (north to south) was named Carolina after King Charles, and it would later be divided into the British provinces of South Carolina and North Carolina.

By the early 18th century European settlements stretched from the Abermarle Sound, south to what is now Charleston, South Carolina. Native Americans were being squeezed off of their long-held lands, and they soon fought back; the hundreds killed settlers and their churches and homes burnt to the ground. Indian uprisings continued for many additional years, but their understandable efforts proved futile.

blackbeardTo make matters worse for the new residents, pirates struck coastal settlements with impunity, facing little organized resistance. Finally, in 1718, Blackbeard the Pirate was killed, and for all practical purposes pirate attacks in the Carolina's were over.

Even before separated into individual British provinces, North and South Carolina were quite different. On the large cotton plantations in South Carolina, black slaves outnumbered the white settlers, while in North Carolina, tobacco was king, but the predominate Quaker population was vigorously opposed to slavery, and subsequently black slave numbers remained low.

The British saw an opportunity to tax the newfound wealth of their colonies, including the Carolinas. Especially offended by taxation without representation, influential tobacco farmers and merchants rebelled to that tax, and in 1776, North Carolina voted for independence from Great Britain.

Similar to some other southern colonies, citizens of North Carolina were on two sides during America's Revolutionary War; Tories remained loyal to Britain while others (Whigs) passionately supported the war for freedom. Unlike South Carolina, North Carolina witnessed little fighting, but hundreds of its men fought and died on both sides in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.

revolutionary war At war's end North Carolina was free from Great Britain's financial repression, and after some hesitation in accepting all of the terms of the new U.S. Constitution, it finally agreed, and on November 21, 1789, became the twelfth state to enter the new union. In 1794, Raleigh was declared the capital.

It took years for the land to reach its full potential, but by the mid-1830s, its agricultural and manufacturing industries began to prosper, anchored by tobacco. As the state's economy and influence continued to grow, two North Carolina favorite sons were elected President of the United States; Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), and James K. Polk, (1845-1849).

North Carolina Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Burlington Alamance 336
Taylorsville Alexander 828
Sparta Alleghany 336
Wadesboro Anson 704
West Jefferson Ashe 336
Newland Avery 828
Washington Beaufort 252
Windsor Bertie 252
Elizabethtown Bladen 910
Leland Brunswick 910
Asheville Buncombe 828
Morganton Burke 828
Concord Cabarrus 704
Lenoir Caldwell 828
Camden Camden 252
Newport Carteret 252
Yanceyville Caswell 336
Hickory Catawba 828
Chapel Hill Chatham 919
Murphy Cherokee 828
Edenton Chowan 252
Hayesville Clay 828
Shelby Cleveland 704
Whiteville Columbus 910
New Bern Craven 252
Fayetteville Cumberland 910
Moyock Currituck 252
Kill Devil Hills Dare 252
Lexington Davidson 336
Mocksville Davie 336
Wallace Duplin 910
Durham Durham 919
Rocky Mount Edgecombe 252
Winston Salem Forsyth 336
Louisburg Franklin 919
Gastonia Gaston 704
Gates Gates 252
Robbinsville Graham 828
Oxford Granville 919
Snow Hill Greene 252
Greensboro Guilford 336
Roanoke Rapids Halifax 252
Dunn Harnett 910
Waynesville Haywood 828
Hendersonville Henderson 828
Ahoskie Hertford 252
Raeford Hoke 910
Engelhard Hyde 252
Mooresville Iredell 704
Sylva Jackson 828
Clayton Johnston 919
Trenton Jones 252
Sanford Lee 336
Kinston Lenoir 252
Lincolnton Lincoln 704
Franklin Macon 828
Marshall Madison 828
Williamston Martin 252
Marion McDowell 828
Charlotte Mecklenburg 704
Spruce Pine Mitchell 828
Troy Montgomery 910
Pinehurst Moore 910
Rocky Mount Nash 252
Wilmington New Hanover 910
Garysburg Northampton 252
Jacksonville Onslow 910
Chapel Hill Orange 919
Bayboro Pamlico 252
Elizabeth City Pasquotank 252
Hampstead Pender 910
Hertford Perquimans 252
Roxboro Person 336
Greenville Pitt 252
Tryon Polk 828
Asheboro Randolph 336
Rockingham Richmond 910
Lumberton Robeson 910
Reidsville Rockingham 336
Salisbury Rowan 704
Forest City Rutherford 828
Clinton Sampson 910
Laurinburg Scotland 910
Albemarle Stanly 704
King Stokes 336
Mount Airy Surry 336
Bryson City Swain 828
Brevard Transylvania 828
Columbia Tyrrell 252
Monroe Union 704
Henderson Vance 252
Raleigh Wake 919
Cary Wake 919
Warrenton Warren 252
Plymouth Washington 252
Boone Watauga 828
Goldsboro Wayne 919
North Wilkesboro Wilkes 336
Wilson Wilson 252
Yadkinville Yadkin 336
Burnsville Yancey 828

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.