The history of North Carolina includes many different cultures and spans a long history of both wartimes and peaceful times. From the Native American tribes who were the first to inhabit the land to the colonial settlers and modern cities that shape the landscape today, North Carolina history is intricate. The colonial history of North Carolina is still celebrated throughout much of the state to this day through memorials, architecture and certain events and festivals.
The largest Native American tribe to inhabit the area now known as North Carolina was the Cherokee Tribe. A sovereign Cherokee reservation is still running in North Carolina today. Other Native American tribes also inhabited the Appalachian Mountains and made up an important part of the history of North Carolina. Eventually, however, colonial settlers drove Native American tribes out of the area, most of them never to return.
The colonial history of North America began with the Lost Colony which settled in the area now referred to as the Outer Banks. The Lost Colony was one of the first British settlements to try to make a home in the New World, but after their first winter was found to have completely disappeared. Although there are theories about what may have happened to them, to this day nothing concrete is known about how this group of colonists mysteriously disappeared. Eventually, a colony known as Carolina emerged after a few attempts, and grew into a thriving community. During the 18th century, the Carolina colony played an important role in North Carolina history by helping to defeat the British in the American war for independence. General Greene of Carolina, for whom the city of Greensboro is named, lost a battle to the British which actually resulted in slowing down British troops enough to allow for the final victory in Yorktown.
After the formation of the new nation, the colonial history of North Carolina turned to yet more turbulent times with the start of the Civil War. This divisive war served to pit neighbor against neighbor, particularly within a state as centrally located as North Carolina. Many inhabitants sided with the Union but had no desire to fight against their neighbors in South Carolina. Still others refused to support either side in the war. General Sherman's march through the south was kinder to North Carolina than most of the other states even further south.
The recent history of North Carolina reflects the immense economical growth experienced by this state, particularly in the Piedmont region where Charlotte and Raleigh especially seem to be racing one another to build new businesses and new skyscrapers. Nevertheless, travelers will still find all the best aspects of southern charm reflected in the friendly people and warm hospitality that permeates this great state.