Colonial North Carolina History, Facts and Information
The Lost Colony, The Regulators, The Backcountry, Cash Crops, Red Necks, Slavery

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NC Colony Facts

1587 - Lost Colony - a second colony was established by Sir Walter Raleigh in the New World at Roanoke Island. Due to trouble between the Spanish and English no supply ships returned as scheduled. When it did return all colonists were gone and remains a mystery today. Some legends say that Indians around Roanoke area had blue eyes which suggests that the colonists possibly abandoned the colony to live with the natives.

King Charles II thought the Carolina colony to large to manage properly. In 1663, the Carolina Colony was split in two, North and South Carolina. King Charles assigned 8 Lord Proprietors to North and South Carolina.

Origins of Carolina Blue

The British specified which cash crops to be planted in the colonies. Along the east coast, indigo was planted. Indigo is a dye, its color is determined by the chemicals in the soil. The chemicals in Carolinian soil turns Indigo blue, the shade of Carolina blue.


Red Neck Origin and Definition

In Colonial days a red neck was a commoner who worked in the fields and wore a hat. When bent over, the back of the neck was exposed to the sun which caused sunburn hence, a red neck.

Western North Carolina Settlers

Pioneers who settled Western North Carolina  were mostly of Scots-Irish descent.  The coastal areas were overpopulated and had no spare land.

Western North Carolina was known as the backcountry.

Due to the mountainous terrain and poor roads in the backcountry trade among other communities was impractical.  Because of the isolation, the impact of churches and other established cultural institutions were minimal.


Slavery in Western North Carolina

Most of the families in Western North Carolina could not afford slaves.  Furthermore, most families grew only enough food to feed their own households. There were a few wealthy families that did own slaves.

Political Representation

Both North and South Carolina colonial legislatures were dominated by coastal planters who refused to grant settlers beyond the coast political representation. In addition, the legislature  refused even to allow the westward settlements courts and other legal institutions.

The Regulators

In response to lack of Political representation, two protest movements evolved, one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. These movements were called the Regulation. Local government was very corrupt in the backcountry. The Regulation movements aimed to set things straight, often taking the law into their own hands by acting as vigilantes against criminals, hence the term mountain justice. The legislature turned deaf ears towards the backcountry. Raleigh still is accused of this, today.More

Proclamation of 1763

The British issued the Proclamation of 1763. This made it illegal for anyone to settle in lands past the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. The British thought this would cut down on trouble with the Indians and also make it easier to control the colonies.

 for more information, see

Colonial NC Religion

North Carolina Colony Economics

Colonial Governor Martin

Colonial Governor Tryon

Colonial Governor Dobbs

Colonial America

Pirates on the NC Coast