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

Charles II
Charles II by Adriaen Hanneman. Public Domain / Located in the National Portrait Gallery, London

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."