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North Carolina Colony Facts

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The Southern Colonies

5. The Southern Colonies

DeSoto Map
Map of DeSoto’s 1539-43 exploration through the Southeast

Virginia was the first successful southern colony. While Puritan zeal was fueling New England’s mercantile development, and Penn’s Quaker experiment was turning the middle colonies into America’s bread basket, the South was turning to cash crops. Geography and motive rendered the development of these colonies distinct from those that lay to the North.

Immediately to Virginia’s north was Maryland. Begun as a Catholic experiment, the colony’s economy would soon come to mirror that of Virginia, as tobacco became the most important crop. To the south lay the Carolinas, created after the English Civil War had been concluded. In the Deep South was Georgia, the last of the original thirteen colonies. Challenges from Spain and France led the king to desire a buffer zone between the cash crops of the Carolinas and foreign enemies. Georgia, a colony of debtors, would fulfill that need.

U.S. Territorial Map, 1775
The Southern colonies included Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.

English American Southerners would not enjoy the generally good health of their New England counterparts. Outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever kept life expectancies lower. Since the northern colonies attracted religious dissenters, they tended to migrate in families. Such family connections were less prevalent in the South.

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The economy of growing cash crops would require a labor force that would be unknown north of Maryland. Slaves and indentured servants, although present in the North, were much more important to the South. They were the backbone of the Southern economy.

Settlers in the Southern colonies came to America to seek economic prosperity they could not find in Old England. The English countryside provided a grand existence of stately manors and high living. But rural England was full, and by law those great estates could only be passed on to the eldest son. America provided more space to realize a lifestyle the new arrivals could never dream to achieve in their native land.

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Follow Thomas Jefferson through a day. You will gain a sense of the extraordinary range of his talents, his insatiable thirst for knowledge, his watchful use of time, and the larger community that lived and worked at Monticello.

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Copyright ©2008-2018 , owned by the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, founded 1942.

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This work by The Independence Hall Association is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .

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North Carolina (The thirteen colonies)


– 11 Sep 2001


Michael V Uschan


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Describes the discovery and history of North Carolina, daily life and the people, its role in the Revolutionary War, and the role of North Carolina in the establishment of the new nation.

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  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Lucent Books (11 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156006885X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560068853

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Describes the discovery and history of North Carolina, daily life and the people, its role in the Revolutionary War, and the role of North Carolina in the establishment of the new nation.

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The Founding of North Carolina Colony and Its Role in the Revolution

History & Culture

The Founding of North Carolina Colony and Its Role in the Revolution

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Charles II

Charles II by Adriaen Hanneman.
Public Domain / Located in the National Portrait Gallery, London
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Martin Kelly
Updated May 09, 2018

The North Carolina Colony was founded in 1663 by settlers from Virginia. In 1655, Nathaniel Batts, a farmer from Virginia founded a permanent settlement in North Carolina. Later in 1663, King Charles II recognized the efforts of eight noblemen who helped him regain the throne in England by giving them the Province of Carolina. The eight men were

  • John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton
  • Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia
  • Sir George Carteret, Governor of Jersey in Britain
  • Sir John Colleton, Soldier and Nobleman 
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftsbury
  • William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven
  • Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
  • George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle.

The name for the colony was chosen to honor the king. They were given the titles of the Lord Proprietors of the Province of Carolina. The area they were given included the area of present-day North and South Carolina. 

Sir John Yeamans created a second settlement in North Carolina in 1665 on the Cape Fear River. This is near present-day Wilmington. Charles Town was named the main seat of government in 1670. However, internal problems arose in the colony. This led to the Lord Proprietors selling their interests in the colony. The crown took over the colony and formed North and  South Carolina  out of it in 1729.

North Carolina and the American Revolution

The colonists in North Carolina were a disparate group, which often led to internal problems and disputes. However, they were also heavily involved in the reaction to British taxation. Their resistance to the Stamp Act  helped prevent that act’s implementation and led to the rise of the Sons of Liberty . 

These irascible colonists were also one of the last hold outs to ratify the Constitution—after it had already gone into effect and the government had been established.

Roanoke: The Lost Colony

North Carolina itself was settled earlier, in 1587. On July 22nd of that year, John White and 121 settlers founded the Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in present-day Dare County, North Carolina. This was actually the first attempt at an English settlement founded in the New World. White’s daughter Eleanor White and her husband Ananias Dare had a child on August 18, 1587 who they named Virginia Dare. She was the first English person born in America. Oddly, when explorers returned in 1590, they discovered that all the colonists on Roanoke Island were gone. There were only two clues left: the word “Croatoan” that had been carved on a post in the fort along with the letters “Cro” Carved on a tree. No one has ever discovered what actually happened to the settlers, and Roanoke is called “The Lost Colony.” 

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