US Southern Colonies Province of North Carolina History

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US Southern Colonies Project|US Southern Colonies Sources and Resources Directory|Province of North Carolina History

See the table at US Southern Colonies Sources and Resources Directory for links to other US Southern Colonies pages relevant to North Carolina, the Carolinas and South Carolina, and to the other southern colonies (Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia), and project-wide pages, such as US Southern Colonies Reliable Sources.

Province of North Carolina History
The purpose of this page is to provide background and resources relevant to colonial North Carolina. It is managed by the Province of North Carolina Team of the US Southern Colonies Project.


Province of North Carolina

Note: Within Wiktree, use Category:North Carolina, Category:Province of North Carolina, and Category:Province of Carolina.

Origin and History

Early Province of North Carolina Settlements

What does North Carolina mean? Carolina is taken from the Latin word for Charles (Carolus), honoring King Charles I of England (who made the original land grant in 1629). North Carolina was formed in 1729 when the Province of Carolina was divided in two. North Carolina was admitted to Union on November 21, 1789 as the 12th State to ratify the constitution.

Some important dates In North Carolina History

  • 1492-1692. Diseases carried by the foreigners brought about the demise of about 95 percent of the Cherokee Nation during the first 200 years of European presence.
  • 1587, North Carolina was first settled in 1587. 121 settlers led by John White landed on present-day Roanoke Island on July 22, 1587. It was the first English settlement in the New World. On August 18, 1587, White’s daughter gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World. By 1590, however, all of the colonists on the island had disappeared. To this day, no one knows what happened to them, though some believe they integrated with and were absorbed by one of the local tribes. Today, the colony is referred to as “The Lost Colony”.
  • 1629. King Charles I. grants territory, located between 31° and 36° N latitude, to Sir Robert Heath, who names it "Carolina" after the king.
Province of Carolina in 1663
  • 1663, King Charles II awarded eight noblemen called the Lord Proprietors the Province of Carolina (named after the King) in appreciation of their efforts in helping him regain the throne of England. At the time, the Province of Carolina included both present-day North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, as well as parts of modern Florida and Louisiana
  • 1655, The first permanent English settlement in North Carolina occurred in 1655 when Nathaniel Batts, a Virginia farmer, migrated to an area just south of Virginia with the hopes of finding suitable farmland.
  • 1665, Sir John Yeamans established a second permanent colony in North Carolina on the Cape Fear River near present-day Wilmington. In 1670, a settlement near present-day Charleston, South Carolina (Charles Town) was established. This settlement grew quickly because it had a natural harbor and allowed easy access to trade with the West Indies. Charles Town soon became the principal seat of government for the entire region. Because of the distance between Charles Town and points in the northern part of the colony, the terms “North Carolina” and “South Carolina” came into use.
  • 1705. First school opened, in Pasquotank County. Bath is first town incorporated.
  • 1710. Colony of Swiss and German Protestants founded New Bern.
  • 1711-1713. Indians massacre settlers in Tuscarora War.
  • 1713. Tuscarora Indians migrate into New York.
  • 1712. Carolina divided into two provinces, North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • 1729. Seven Lords Proprietors sell lands back to George II and North and South Carolina became separate royal colonies.
  • 1771. Farmers oppose British rule; are defeated in battle of Alamance Creek.
  • 1774. Provincial congress organized at New Bern to plan resistance against royal rule.
  • 1775. Citizens of Mecklenburg County may have issued first declaration of independence (Mecklenburg Resolves).
  • 1775-1783 - colonies fight for freedom from Britain in Revolutionary War
  • 1776. Milita defeat Loyalist troops at Moore's Creek Bridge near Wilmington Feb. 27th. First state constitution adopted May 20th. (Population: 300,000; 3rd largest in the Union)
  • April 12, 1776 - North Carolina officially votes for freedom from Britain
  • 1789, North Carolina admitted to Union on November 21, 1789 as the 12th State to sign the constitution


Government Structure

Between 1663 and 1729, North Carolina was under the near-absolute control of the Lords Proprietors and their descendants. The small group commissioned colonial officials and authorized the governor and his council to grant lands in the name of the Lords Proprietors. In 1669, philospher John Locke wrote the Fundamental Constitutions as a model for the government of Carolina. Albemarle County (now extict) was divided into local governmental units called precincts. Initially there were three precincts--Berkley, Carteret, and Shaftesbury--but as the colony expanded to the south and west, new precincts were created. By 1729, there were a total of eleven precincts--six in Albemarle County and five in Bath County, which had been created in 1696. Although the Albemarle Region was the first permanent settlement in the Carolina area, another populated region soon developed around present-day Charleston, South Carolina. Because of the natural harbor and easier access to trade with the West Indies, more attention was given to developing the Charleston area than her northern counterparts. For a twenty-year period, 1692-1712, the colonies of North and South Carolina existed as one unit of government. Although North Carolina still had her own assembly and council, the governor of Carolina resided in Charleston and a deputy governor appointed for North Carolina.



32 of the 104 North Carolina counties were created before 1776, including four counties that no longer exist (Albemarle, Bath, Clarendon, and Tryon) North Carolina Counties are listed under the Category:North Carolina or Category:North Carolina Extinct Counties using the format [[Category:County Name, North Carolina]].

References for North Carolina Counties:


North Carolina, the English/Welsh/Barbadian/Bermudian settlers were split - about 50-50 - between Anglicans (Church of England) and Dissenters. Dissenters typically included Presbyterians, Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists, Unitarians, and after 1795, Methodists (too late for this discussion) in Carolina. Their unpopularity with Anglicans stemmed from their radical ideas and a continuing fear that, once empowered, they might disestablish the church. They rejected the church's thirty-nine Articles of Faith, rejected the Act of Uniformity (1662) and the Test Act (1673), both of which limited in their civil and political rights.


North Carolina was the site of the first Jewish settler in a British colony in North America when Joachim Ganz, a native of Prague, arrived in 1585, well before the much heralded date of the 1654 settlement in New Amsterdam, on Raleigh's second expedition to Roanoke Island. Ganz, a metallurgist, returned to England two years later. John Locke's Fundamental Constitutions of 1669 opened the Carolinas to "Jews, heathens, and other dissenters," but the colony, beset by sectarian politics, was inhospitable. The 1776 state constitution included a religious test that restricted public office to Protestants. With few navigable rivers, a swampy coast, and a forested terrain, North Carolina lacked commercial opportunities for Jews.

In the early colonial era a few Jewish settlers followed coastal and inland trade routes from Virginia and South Carolina. A 1702 petition protested illegal votes by undesirables, including Jews. Jewish names appear on Masonic rolls and militia rosters. In the Charlotte area were storekeepers and Revolutionary War veterans Abraham Moses, Solomon Simons, and Aaron Cohen. A 1759 document identifies Joseph Laney as a Jew. Newport merchant Aaron Lopez sent 37 ships to North Carolina between 1761 and 1775. Eighteenth-century Sephardic Jews in Wilmington included Rivera, Gomez, David, and Levy. A rabbi, Jacob Abroo, is reported to have died in New Berne in 1790. The Benjamin family, whose son Judah became a U.S. senator and later a Confederate statesman, lived in Wilmington and Fayetteville after 1813.


Migrating from the Northern Colonies

The Great Wagon Trail to North Carolina in the 1700s

Many settlers migrated from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia down the wagon trail to the Province of North Carolina in the 1700s. One historic notable, Daniel Boone, is one of the settlers that migrated from Pennsylvania to North Carolina as a youth with his family.


Ancestors Migrating from Other Countries

Immigrants to North Carolina before 1776 came from many countries, including England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany (Palatines that were part of the Holy Roman Empire), and France (particularly the Alsace region). See Category:North Carolina, Immigrants and Category:Province of Carolina, Immigrants.

Use the directions below to add a quick visual reference to your ancestors' profiles to indicate their movements, whether they migrated from other countries or between different colonies (or states). See step 9 for information about a template for ancestors who never left the city or state where they were born.

Add [[Category:Migrants from AdminEntity to North Carolina]] or [[Category:Migrants from AdminEntiy to Province of North Carolina]], where the AdminEntity is the state/province within the foreign Country that the emigrant came from, e.g. Alsace, Palatine Zweibrücken, etc. This will add the ancestor to one of the following Categories:

References: Space:Migration Category Structure

You can also add a Migrating Sticker to the profile by cutting and pasting the following sticker to the section about the Biography header in the profile, where the person migrated from one state/colony to North Carolina'

{{Migrating Ancestor
| origin = Maryland
| destination = North Carolina
| origin-flag = US_State_Flag_Images-23.png
| destination-flag = US_State_Flag_Images-49.png

For profiles where the person was born in North Carolina, please use the county or city category where they lived and not the North Carolina or Province of North Carolina Categories.

Pirates of North Carolina

Unlike the movies portrayal, Pirates helped the Colonial Economy. They did not bury their treasures, they spent and traded them. Pirates kept the Spanish so busy that the British were able to hold onto their Colonies.

Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach and believed to have been a native of England, was killed off the North Carolina Outer Banks in November 1718. He had begun his pirating career just five years earlier, when he joined the crew of a Caribbean sloop, manned by pirate Benjamin Hornigold. Blackbeard was a notorious pirate whose long, dark beard inspired his nickname. After capturing more than 30 ships during his pirating career, Blackbeard was slain during a bloody battle on Ocracoke Island off of North Carolina, according to


Native Americans

The Native American tribes on the seacoast, once numerous and powerful, were fast dwindling before the enterprise of the colonists. To the more inland tribes, especially the Tuscaroras and the Corees, this was an indication not to be mistaken that the days of their prosperity were fast numbering. Grieved and exasperated at the prospect before them, they now combined with other tribes to utterly exterminate the new settlers. This purpose they attempted to carry into effect; and so successful were they, that in one night, October 2nd, 1711, they massacred one hundred and thirty persons belonging to the settlements along the Roanoke River and Pamlico Sound.

A few colonists, escaping, hastened to South Carolina for assistance. Governor Craven immediately dispatched to their aid nearly a thousand men, under Colonel Barnwell. On his arrival, he defeated the enemy in several actions; and, at length, pursued them to their fortified town, which capitulated, and peace was concluded.

But it proved of short duration. The Natives renewed their hostilities, and the assistance of the southern colony was again involved. In response, Colonel Moore set out for the hostile territory, with a competent force; — forty white men; and eight-hundred friendly Indians. They reduced the fort of the Tuscaroras, and with it took eight hundred prisoners. Broken and disheartened by this defeat, the tribe, in 1713, migrated north, and became the sixth nation of the great Iroquois Confederacy; — sometimes called the Five, and after this event, the Six Nations. In 1715, a treaty was concluded with the Corees.


Indentured Servants

Most of the English colonists arrived as indentured servants, hiring themselves out as laborers for a fixed period to pay for their passage. In the early years the line between indentured servants and African slaves or laborers was fluid. Some Africans were allowed to earn their freedom before slavery became a lifelong status. Most of the free colored families formed in North Carolina before the Revolution were descended from relationships or marriages between free white women and enslaved or free African or African-American men. Many had migrated or were descendants of migrants from colonial Virginia. As the flow of indentured laborers to the colony decreased with improving economic conditions in Great Britain, more slaves were imported and the state's restrictions on slavery hardened. The economy's growth and prosperity was based on slave labor, devoted first to the production of tobacco.



Use the following categories for slaves and slave owners: [[Category:County Name, State, Slave]] or [[Category:County Name, State, Slave Owners]]

References for Slavery in North Carolina:

Conflicts Within the Province of North Carolina and Carolina

Major conflicts from the establishment of the colony until the inclusion in the United States include the following. (There were many more skirmishes during the Revolutionary War in the Province of North Carolina.)

  • 1711, Cary's Rebellion
  • 1718, November 22: In a battle between British sailors and pirates near Ocracoke Inlet, Lieutenant Robert Maynard kills Blackbeard
  • 1765-1771, War of Regulation, May 16: North Carolina militiamen under the command of Governor Tryon defeat the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in Orange County, ending the Regulator movement
  • 1776-1785, American Revolution
  • 1776, Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, fought near Wilmington, North Carolina on February 27, 1776.
  • 1780, Battle of Kings Mountain
  • 1780, Battle of Ramsour's Mill
  • 1781, September 13: Whig forces attack Fanning’s army in an attempt to free Governor Burke and other prisoners. The Battle of Lindley’s Mill, which results from this attack, is one of the largest military engagements in North Carolina during the war. Fanning is injured, but his column continues. Burke is given over to the British, who imprison him at Charlestown, S.C.
  • 1781, Battle of Guilford Court House

Other WikiTree Resources

Cemeteries: Use the format [[Category:Cemetery Name, City, North Carolina]] when the city is known and [[Category:Cemetery Name, County, North Carolina]] only when there is no city associated with the cemetery.

North Carolina Topics in Wikitree
American Revolution | Cary's Rebellion | Cemeteries | Census Records | Civil War | Civil War Union | Colleges and Universities | Companies | Cumberland Association | Delegates to the Provincial Congress | Family Brick Walls | Genealogy Resources | Governors of NC | Governors, Province of NC | History | Lords Proprietors, Province of Carolina | Images of North Carolina |Immigrants | Mecklenburg Resolves | Middle Tennessee | Mining Disasters | | Native Americans | North Carolina Recognized Native American Tribes | North Carolina Project | Notables | Orphanages | Places Studies | Politicians | Province of Carolina | Province of North Carolina |Provincial Committes of Safety | Religious Congregations | Schools | Slavery | Southwest Territory | State of Franklin | | Typhoid | Unconnected Profiles | Unsourced Profiles | US Representatives | US Senators | War of 1812 |War of Regulation | Washington District



Comments: 8

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update - page renamed


I intend to begin the process of renaming the Colony-level US Southern Colonies pages with "British" in their name to "... History" - see (the list under the table).

The new name of this page will be "US Southern Colonies Province of North Carolina History". This is one of seven pages to be named in that pattern. Please give a holler if you have objections so an alternate naming pattern can be explored before the renaming to "... History" begins.


posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
edited by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
It is OK to rename the colony pages to ...History with "... History" - see (the list under the table
posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Mary Richardson
I made a minor edit to a category, adding a comma.
posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
This comment was made on g2g:

If you click on the North Carolina Sub-project Page, it says North Carolina became the 12th state in November of 1789." Incorrect, it was the 12th state to ratify the US Constitution.

Please review and correct if needed. Thanks!

posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Paula J
Image:Profile_Photo_s-268.jpg December 8, 2014
posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Paula J
I came across this e-book "Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina from the Colonial Period to about 1820, Volume 1 (Google eBook) By Paul Heinegg" and thought this is great it has family genealogies as well and may help those who are researching their African American Heritage. It can be read on line for those who do not wish to purchase the book. Also this is copyrighted.
posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Cheryl (Stone) Caudill

Love that image! You can see so much detail of the coast and waterways!!


posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Paula J
What does North Carolina mean? Carolina is taken from the Latin word for Charles (Carolus), honoring King Charles I of England (who made the original land grant in 1629). North Carolina was formed in 1729 when the Carolina colony was divided in two. North Carolina became the 12th state in November of 1789

posted on US Southern Colonies British North Carolina (merged) by Cheryl (Stone) Caudill