north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



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      Virginia and North Carolina boast the sites of the earliest English settlements in what would become the United States. The Roanoke colonies (1585-1587) are commemorated at Fort Raleigh in Dare County, North Carolina. The first permanent settlement of English colonists in the New World took hold in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, when three ships landed with 105 settlers. Famine and disease took a toll on the small settlement. Despite the trials of the first year, the colonists began to thrive with the influx of supplies and new arrivals from England. By 1619, settlers in Jamestown organized their government and the first colonial legislature held session. The colony prospered principally on the export of tobacco.

      In 1622, the first visitation to North Carolina by Jamestown settlers was made along the Chowan River. A small expedition led by John Pory, a former English newspaper editor and member of Parliament, spent two weeks along the river, and sent word back of a fruitful land with large forests of pines that potentially could be harvested and transformed into materials for the British navy. Pory also traded with local Native Americans, being given a piece of copper that the locals said had been mined not far away.

      As a result of Pory’s expedition and his findings, more and more curious settlers began to move into northeastern North Carolina. The English began to distinguish between “Virginia” and “Old Virginia” in their writings, and the development of the Albemarle region slowly took shape.

William S. Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries (1989)
William S. Powell, John Pory, 1572-1636: The Life and Letters of a Man of Many Parts (1977)
Virginius Dabney, Virginia: The New Dominion (1992)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources