Roanoke colony's demise, English efforts to gain a foothold in
the New World shifted north, to the Chesapeake Bay region.
There, in 1607, the first permanent English settlement was
established at Jamestown. Leader John Smith led several forays
into the Albemarle Region, in part searching for evidence of the
vanished Roanoke Colony. But none was ever found.
Instead, Smith found hostile natives who rebelled against the
English presence. Still, as the Jamestown colony grew and
welcomed more colonists from Britain, many began the trek
southward, into Carolina. By the mid-1600s, the influx was
steady, with settlers taking land and driving the natives out.
Smallpox and other Old World diseases began to take their toll
on the native population.
In 1663, when England's King Charles II deed out the Carolina
coast to the eight Lords Proprietor to pay off political debts,
settlement accelerated. Propaganda in Britain lured more
colonists to cross the Atlantic to settle the pristine Carolina
colony (named after the King).
These early settlers soon found themselves in an isolated
country. The Outer Banks served as a natural barrier to sea
trade, while the poor overland system of roads was made worse by
swamps and rivers. As the settlers began to hack a life out of
this wilderness, they became fiercely independent, and
discontent towards the governing Lords proprietors began to
grow. In 1677, led by a South Carolina political leader named
John Sleeper, the antiproprietary settlers rebelled against
their English rulers, seizing government buildings and
officials. Known as Culpepper's Rebellion, the uprising was the
first of several eventually led to the Crown's purchase of the
colony from the Lords in 1729.
In 1700, a young English naturalist named John Lawson set off on
foot from Charleston, SC, to explore and document the wilderness
of eastern North Carolina, finally settling Bath. His epic
journey became a best-selling book in England: "A New Voyage to
Carolina". And it simply whet the British appetite for
emigration to the colony.
By 1720, two major port towns had sprung in the region: Edenton
and Bath, both of which served the colony as early capitals.
Connected by the famous Post Road (which is now followed, in
part, by US Highway 17), the towns served as the fulcrum for a
continued influx of settlers who established small plantations
of tobacco. In 1711, the Tuscarora Indians allied with
neighboring tribes began attacking these small settlements
across the southern Albemarle region. Bath Towne became a
refugee center during these wars which raged on and off for five
years until the warring Tuscarora were finally defeated and
driven out of the region.
The defeat of the Indian opened up a new era of prosperity for
the Albemarle Region. Towns and plantations flourished with West
Indian imports, slave trade, and European commerce. Although the
treacherous Outer Banks inhibited large-scale sea trade, they
served as the perfect lair for pirates who prospered on the
colony's increasing trade.
most famous of course was Blackbeard. Although his career
only lasted three short years, in that time, he and coastal
North Carolina became intertwined for all of history. His
bloodthirsty reputation on the high seas was somewhat moderated
by his time spent as a landlubber in Bath, where he was welcomed
as a gentleman into the homes of the town's wealthy merchants.
The Virginia Colonial Governor, however, intervened and sent
troops south to put an end to Blackbeard's career. In October
1718, the Royal Navy caught the pirate at anchor off Ocracoke
Island, where after a bloody battle, he was killed and his crew
captured. the Age of Piracy died with him.