North Carolina State History
English colonists, sent by Sir Walter Raleigh, unsuccessfully attempted to settle Roanoke Island in 1585 and 1587. Virginia Dare, born there in 1587, was the first child of English parentage born in America.
In 1653 the first permanent settlements were established by English colonists from Virginia near the Roanoke and Chowan rivers. The region was established as an English proprietary colony in 1663?1665 and in its early history was the scene of Culpepper's Rebellion (1677), the Quaker-led Cary Rebellion (1708), the Tuscarora Indian War (1711?1713), and many pirate raids.
During the American Revolution, there was relatively little fighting within the state, but many North Carolinians saw action elsewhere. Despite considerable pro-Union, antislavery sentiment, North Carolina joined the Confederacy during the Civil War.
North Carolina's economy is experiencing a shift away from tobacco, furniture and textiles to knowledge-based enterprises such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences. The state was ranked third best state for business in 2010 by Forbes magazine. The major agricultural products are tobacco, corn, cotton, hay, peanuts, and vegetable crops. The state is the country's leading producer of mica and lithium.
Tourism is also important, with visitors spending more than $1 billion annually. Sports include year-round golfing, skiing at mountain resorts, both fresh- and salt-water fishing, and hunting.
Among the major attractions are the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge National Parkway, the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores, the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, Guilford Courthouse and Moores Creek National Military Parks, Carl Sandburg's home near Hendersonville, and the Old Salem Restoration in Winston-Salem.
Famous North Carolina natives and residents:
- Virginia Dare first person born in America to English parents;
- Elizabeth Dole government official;
- Ava Gardner actress;
- Billy Graham evangelist;
- O. Henry writer;
- Andrew Johnson president;
- Sugar Ray Leonard boxer;
- Dolley Madison first lady;
- Thelonious Monk pianist;
- Edward R. Murrow commentator and government official;
- Floyd Patterson boxer;
- Richard Petty auto racer;
- James K. Polk president;
- Thomas Wolfe novelist.