As one of the first colonial settlements, it’s no surprise North Carolina has an abundant amount of history. While some history is very well known to locals and high school graduates alike, other historical facts tend to be obscure to the not-so-seasoned history buff, like these fifteen….
1. What does Tar Heel mean exactly?
In today's times, we associate Tar Heel with someone who is a UNC fan. But there are several stories and speculations revolving around where Tar Heel even came to play in North Carolina's history. The most backed-up source is that it was a nickname given during the U.S Civil War because the troops "stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels."
2. The first English child born on American soil...
Was born off the coast of modern day North Carolina. Her name was Virginia Dare. Unfortunately, Virginia was part of the 'Lost Colony.' A group of 150 colonists who mysteriously vanished without a trace (except the word Croatoan scratched onto a tree). There's much mystery surrounding both and the legend of Virginia Dare is linked to the legend of a white doe and the first ever Muscadine grape.
3. Move over Blackbeard
The Southern Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island in particular, was not just popular for infamous pirates like Blackbeard, but also for famous female pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Reed.
4. But why did pirates love North Carolina so much?
Besides location and plenty of hiding spots, it's rumored that the governor, Charles Eden, ignored the unlawful practices of pirates in turn for a share of the 'loot.' He was even reported to socialize and 'hang out' with his neighbor Blackbeard in Bath.
5. Early rebellion
The North Carolina colony was one of the first sites of early rebellion from the British. In 1677, leader John Culpeper and 40 other rebels imprisoned deputy Governor, Thomas Miller, and took control of local governments because of imposed taxes on colonial goods through the Navigation Acts. Culpeper was charged with treason and later acquitted. Today, the event is known as Culpeper's Rebellion.
6. First in independence
As one of the 13 original colonies, North Carolina was the first to tell its delegates to vote for independence from the British Crown during the Continental Congress.
7. Following the Revolutionary War...
North Carolina became a prime exporter of tobacco and cotton, yet kept its slave population relatively small compared to other states.
8. North Carolina was the last state to secede from the Union.
It wasn't until May 1861 that North Carolina seceded from the Union. They hoped to make peaceful resolutions until the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
9. Hillsborough has interesting history...
Near the end of the Civil War, North Carolina hoped to make a peaceful amends as it was clear a Union victory was near. The last major Confederate Army surrendered to General William T. Sherman near Hillsborough in April 1865.
10. Hide in a piece of history.
At Boone's Cave State Park, you can hide in the exact cave where Daniel Boone used to hide from the Indians.
11. During World War Two...
North Carolina had over 10,000 enemies detained in 18 prisoner of war camps throughout the state.
12. The first flight...
The famous first flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright only lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 ft.
13. The grueling labor of the Biltmore House.
It took 1,000 craftsman and 6 years to build the infamous Biltmore House. America's Castle also had underwater lights in its indoor swimming pool when most homes still used candles and oil or gas lamps.
14. The original Silicon Valley.
After the development of the Research Triangle, beginning in 1959, 'it was considered one if the premiere scientific and educational areas in the world, according to Forbes.' Many everyday tech inventions (like Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and groundbreaking technology have been developed here.
15. There's a lot of blue in North Carolina....
From a Carolina blue sky, Tarheel Blue, to Duke Devil Blue...North Carolina is abundant with blue. The one blue with scientific backing though? The 'blue' in the Blue Ridge Mountains is actually the trees emitting isoprene into the atmosphere and causing a 'blueish haze.' While not so much history, this fun fact brings the article full circle!
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