Overall History of North Carolina

September 22nd, 2011 8:31 am

The second territory to be colonized by the British, the state was originally part of the Province of Carolina, named in memory of King Charles I (Carolus in Latin), which ­included much of the southeast.

North Carolina was the first colony to vote for independence from the Crown, and several important Revolutionary War battles were fought here. The state was asleep economically during most of the 1800s, due mainly to closed-minded and indifferent leaders, leading to the nickname the ‘Rip Van Winkle State.’ Divided on slavery, North Carolina reluctantly seceded in 1861, and went on to provide more Confederate soldiers than any other state.

WWII brought some new industries and large military bases, and the economy continues to boom with the growth of finance in Charlotte, and of technology and medicine in the Raleigh-Durham area.

North Carolina Secession and Civil War

September 22nd, 2011 7:43 am

Few North Carolinians held slaves, and considerable antislavery sentiment existed until the 1830s, when organized agitation by Northern abolitionists began, provoking a defensive reaction that North Carolinians shared with most Southerners. Yet it was a native of the state, Hinton Rowan Helper, who made the most notable southern contribution to antislavery literature. Not until President Lincoln’s call for troops after the firing on Fort Sumter did the state secede and join (May, 1861) the Confederacy. The coast was ideal for blockade-running, and the last important Confederate port to fall (Jan., 1865) was Wilmington.

Gov. Zebulon B. Vance zealously defended the state’s rights against what he considered encroachments by the Confederate government. Although many small engagements were fought on North Carolina soil, the state was not seriously invaded until almost the end of the war when Gen. William Sherman and his huge army moved north from Georgia. After engagements at Averasboro and Bentonville in Mar., 1865, Confederate Gen. J. E. Johnston surrendered (Apr. 26, 1865) to Sherman near Durham; next to Lee’s capitulation at Appomattox, it was the largest (and almost the last) surrender of the war.