Motivation for Founding:
In 1653, some Virginians settled in what would become North Carolina. In 1663, King Charles II issued a royal charter to eight nobles to settle the area south of Virginia. They created Carolina and included the previous settlement. However, because of internal problems, the crown took over the colony and formed North and South Carolina out of it in 1729.
This was a collection of disparate settlers which often led to internal problems and disputes. The colony was one of the last hold outs to ratify the Constitution after it had already gone into effect and the government had been established. The lost colony of Roanoke was located in what is now North Carolina.
At the time of the first European contact, North Carolina was inhabited by a number of native tribes sharing some cultural traits, but also distinguished by regional and linguistic variations. Three major language families were represented in North Carolina: Iroquoian, Siouan, and Algonquian. The Iroquoian tribes--the Cherokee, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Coree, and Neuse River (which may have been Iroquoian or Algonquian)--were related linguistically and culturally to the Iroquois tribes to the north. The Cherokee were located in the mountains on the western boundaries of the state and the Tuscarora, Meherrin, Coree, and Neuse River were located in the coastal plains. Located primarily in the piedmont area, or central portion, of the state were the Siouan tribes: the Cape Fear, Catawba, Cheraw, Eno, Keyauwee, Occaneechi, Saponi, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugaree, Tutelo, Waccamaw, Wateree, Waxhaw, and Woccon. The Algonquian-speaking tribes represented the southernmost extension of predominantly Northeastern Woodlands tribes and were located entirely in the tidewater area of the state. These were the Bear River, Chowan, Hatteras, Nachapunga, Moratok, Pamlico, Secotan, and Weapomeoc. Since most historical accounts of travelers and settlers dealt with either the Cherokee or the Algonquian, little is known about the Siouan peoples and their pre-contact cultures. The descriptions which follow will deal with the Cherokee as representative of the Iroquoian, with the Catawba as representative of the Siouan-speakers and the piedmont tribes, and the coastal Algonquian. Coastal Algonquian
At the time of the first contact of Europeans with the Indians, the Algonquian tribes occupied the tidewater areas of the Atlantic Coast extending from Canada to as far south as the Neuse River in North Carolina. In 1584, the estimated 7,000 Algonquians living in North Carolina were relative newcomers to the Southeast, having come in a series of migrations. To some extent, they retained cultural elements from their Northeastern Algonquian traditions, but there was also a great deal of cultural borrowing from their southern neighbors as they adapted to the geographical and climatic conditions of the area, in that they were more water-oriented and placed more emphasis upon hunting, fishing, and gathering than did most of their neighbors. Catawba
The Catawba was one of the Siouan-speaking tribes of the piedmont area of the Carolinas at the time of the first European contact. Little is known of their culture and life style at that time, since contact was few and sporadic and little was documented of their culture. What is known, is based largely on the writings of John Lawson, who explored the piedmont territory and visited the Catawba in 1701. Not only is little known about the Catawba culture, there is also confusion as to exactly who the Catawba were. The Catawba Nation was actually a military alliance of several Siouan tribes and remnants of tribes or bands decimated by war and disease who joined the Catawba. In the historical records, they have been known by several different names: the Spanish referred to them as the Issa, the Ysa, or the Usi and the 17th century Virginians called them the Usheree...