Province of North Carolina

Province of North Carolina
Colony of Great Britain


Flag of Great Britain

The Province of North Carolina in 1776,
prior to the American Revolutionary War
Government Constitutional monarchy
  1712–1714 Anne
  1714–1727 George I
  1727–1760 George II
  1760–1776 George III
  1712 Edward Hyde (first)
  1771–1776 Josiah Martin (last)
Legislature General Assembly
Historical era Colonial period
  Established[1] January 24, 1712
  Independence July 4, 1776
Today part of  United States


For history prior to 1712, see Province of Carolina.
King Charles II of England granted the Carolina charter in 1663 for land south of Virginia Colony and north of Spanish Florida. Charles II granted the land to eight Lords Proprietors in return for their financial and political assistance in restoring him to the throne in 1660.[2] Because the northern half of the colony differed significantly from the southern half, and because transportation and communication between the two settled regions was difficult, a separate deputy governor was named to administer the northern half of the colony starting in 1691.[3]

The division of the colony into North and South was completed at a meeting of the Lords Proprietors held at Craven House[lower-alpha 1] in London on December 7, 1710, although the same proprietors continued to control both colonies. The first Governor of the separate North Carolina Province was Edward Hyde.

Unrest against the proprietors in South Carolina in 1719 led to the appointment of a royal governor in that colony by King George I, whereas the Lords Proprietor continued to appoint the governor of North Carolina.[5]

In 1729, after nearly a decade-long attempt by the British government to locate and buy out seven of the eight Lords Proprietors, both Carolinas became royal colonies. The remaining one-eighth share of the Province (part of North Carolina known as the Granville District) was retained by members of the Carteret family until 1776.[6]

Expansion westward from the province's seats of power on the coast began early in the 18th Century, particularly after the conclusion of the Tuscarora and Yamasee wars, in which the largest barrier to colonial settlement further inland was removed. The French and Indian War, and the accompanying Anglo-Cherokee War in which the two remaining major tribes in the province—the Cherokee and Catawba—were effectively neutralized made settlement in large numbers over the Appalachian Mountains more feasible. In order to stifle potential conflict with natives in that region, including the Cherokee, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, barring settlers in any of the provinces of North America from settling near the headwaters of any rivers or streams that flowed westward towards the Mississippi River. This included several North Carolina rivers, including the French Broad and Watauga. While this proclamation was not strictly obeyed, and was widely detested in North Carolina, the edict likely served to delay immigration into what is now Tennessee by large masses of people until after the American Revolutionary War.[5]

Settlers continued to flow westwards in smaller numbers, despite the prohibition against doing so, and as a result several trans-Appalachian settlements were formed. Most prominently, the Watauga Association formed in 1772 as an ostensibly-independent territory within the bounds of North Carolina (now modern-day Tennessee), which adopted its own written constitution. Prominent frontiersmen like Daniel Boone traveled back and forth across the invisible proclamation line as market hunters, seeking valuable pelts to sell in eastern settlements, but eventually served as leaders and guides for small groups of immigrants who settled in the areas that are now Tennessee and Kentucky.


Two important maps of the province were reproduced: one by Edward Moseley in 1733, and another by John Collet in 1770. Other maps exist dating to the early period of the Age of Discovery that depict portions of the province, or, more specifically, the coastline of the province along with that of South Carolina.[7]


The Court Act of 1746 established a supreme court, initially known as the General Court, which sat twice a year at New Bern, consisting of a Chief Justice and three Associate Justices.

Chief Justices of the Supreme Court [8]
Incumbent Tenure Notes
Took office Left office
Christopher Gale17031731interrupted by Tobias Knight and Frederick Jones
William Smith1 Apr 17311731left for England
John Palin173118 Oct 1732
William Little18 Oct 17321734died 1734
Daniel Hanmer1734
William Smith1740on return from England, died 1740
John Montgomery1740
Edward Moseley17441749
Enoch Hall1749
Eleazer Allen1749
James Hasellname also spelled Hazel or Hazell
Peter Henley1758died 1758
Charles Berry17601766committed suicide, 1766
Martin Howard17671775Loyalist, forced to leave
1773-1777 No Courts held

See also


  1. Craven House, Drury Lane, London was named after William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608–1697). The five storey house was demolished in 1809.[4]


  1. Saunders, William L., ed. (1886). "The Colonial Records of North Carolina". OL 17685108M. Retrieved December 24, 2017 via Internet Archive. On the 24th of January, 1712, was commissioned the first Governor of North Carolina separate and distinct from South Carolina.
  2. Danforth Prince (10 March 2011). Frommer's The Carolinas and Georgia. John Wiley & Sons. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-118-03341-8.
  3. Lawson, John (1709). A New Voyage to Carolina. London. pp. 239–254. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  4. Wheatley, Cunningham (1891). London Past and Present. Volume 1 A-D. London: John Murray. p. 472. OCLC 832579536. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  5. 1 2 Hugh T. Lefler and William S. Powell, Colonial North Carolina: A History (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1973)
  6. Mitchell, Thornton W., "Granville Grant and District", Encyclopedia of North Carolina, William S. Powell, ed. (UNC Press, 2006)
  7. Richard A. Stephenson and William S. Powell. "Maps". North Carolina Government & Heritage Library. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  8. "History of the Supreme Court of North Carolina" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 21, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2015.

Further reading

Coordinates: 35°45′N 83°00′W / 35.75°N 83°W / 35.75; -83

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