Francisco Gordillo and Pedro of Quexós sailed along the North Carolina coast in 1521 and landed near the Cape Fear River, which they baptized with the name of Giordano. Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian in the service of France, sailed along the coast of North Carolina in 1524. A few years later, in 1526, Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón organized a new expedition along this stretch of coast in which Quexós landed. The point chosen for disembarkation at first was near the Cape Fear River, but it was discarded and the expedition attempted further south, along the limits of the present state of South Carolina. In 1540, Hernando de Soto explored the territory., and in 1562 the French Jean Ribault did the same, who gave the name to this region in honor of the French king Charles IX. In the expedition of Juan Pardo and Hernando Boyano, in the year 1566, the fort San Juan Xualla was built, near the Wateree River. A second Pardo expedition reached the region near Charlotte. However, there were no permanent settlements until 1585 when the British led by Walter Raleigh managed to settle in this region. Thus, the settlement on Roanoke Island was the first English colony in America. This colony failed at first, but Raleigh retained the idea of creating a permanent colony on the Carolina coast and so in 1587, sent John White and a new group of settlers. Finally the colony prospered but in 1590, when White returned from a trip to England, the colonists had disappeared without a trace and without knowing the reasons.
- See ejiaxing.org for North Carolina state facts, including geography, climate, flora and fauna as well as major cities.
In 1629 Charles I, king of England, determined the limits of the colony of Carolina, which he officially called “Carolana”, and its exploitation was granted to Sir Robert Heath. The first settlers arrived from the nearby colony of Virginia in the mid-17th century. The northern and southern limits of the colony, which theoretically reached as far as the Pacific coast, were marked by Virginia and the Spanish possessions of Florida. The colony was divided into three counties: Albemarle, Clarendo and Craven. This division implied tax collection rights from the nobles to whom the king had granted administration and exploitation, this provoked the revolt of the colonists in 1677,
North Carolina acquired the status of colony in 1712, this brought the end of the great instability that characterized the life of the territory during the seventeenth century, caused by the corruption of the owners, of the countryside of the Tuscarora people and for the activities of pirates on the coast. Towards 1731, the Crown’s control over the colony of North Carolina was consolidated when the king re-appropriated the powers that he had ceded to the owners in the previous century for the exploitation and administration of the region. Since then, the Crown has encouraged the emigration of new settlers, who occupied the interior of North Carolina.
During the War of Independence, various decisive battles were fought in the territory of North Carolina. The Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge prevented the penetration of British troops to the south in 1776. A few months later, in Halifax, representatives of the entire colony declared their independence from Great Britain. The other great battle, (that of Guilford Courthouse), took place in 1781, when the troops of General Charles Cornwallis defeated the separatists led by General Nathanael Greene. Once the war was over, North Carolina passed the United States Constitution in 1789, not without forcing Congress to review some of its articles.
The economy of this state was mainly based on the production of rice, tobacco and cotton, in the exploitation of forest resources and commercial activities. Furthermore, it was one of the largest gold producers in the United States until the mid-19th century.
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North Carolina was not one of the republics that initially declared the division of the United States in 1861, but once the war began, it joined the Confederacy project. During the Civil War (1861-1865) it was the state that brought more troops to the Confederate army. The Union Army managed to seize control of most ports on the North Carolina coast, with the exception of Wilmington. The Battle of Bentonville (1865), which ended with the defeat of the troops of General Johnston of the federal army under the command of General Sherman, was the most important of those fought on the soil of North Carolina. In 1868, North Carolina was readmitted to the United States after abolishing slavery from its constitution. The end of the war forced a reconverting of the state economy, since the end of slavery required a change in the production system. Towards the 1880s, tobacco and cotton production levels returned to those of previous decades. Likewise, furniture and textile industries flourished where many of the farmers who had abandoned their farms were employed.
The economic depression that began in 1929, hit this state hard, for this reason the federal government had to finance public projects to diminish their effects, it was the second world war that managed to definitively revitalize the state economy, given that the powerful industry textile, took advantage of the enormous demand caused by the needs of the army. More recently, the authorities have been forced into a new economic reconversion, due to the weight in the North Carolina economy of two declining sectors: textiles and the tobacco industry.