The East West Divide

How North Carolina Was Settled And Why It Matters

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The earliest migrations were mostly English from the Tidewater area of southeastern Virginia and spread past the Great Dismal Swamp into the northeastern part of North Carolina. South Carolinians moved north into the Lower Cape Fear region to establish pine plantations for the booming ship building industry in the port city of Wilmington, NC. These newcomers included mostly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and Baptists. These two coastal regions remain as distinct as the direction the rivers flow.

The settlement patterns took time to move into the unknown frontiers, but when they did things occurred at a rapid pace. German Lutherans, Moravians and Quakers headed down the Great Wagon road out of Pennsylvania and Maryland into the western part of the state. by 1775, the German population in North Carolina reached as high as 30 percent.

While the great melting pot created commonalities, such as hog raising for food production, these clustered cultures kept their individual identities. The most recognizable difference is evidenced in the friendly feud between barbecue sauces, but can also be found in the political record as well. So, while we can have fun debating the differences in “Cue”, its actually vital that you learn which characteristics are right for you BEFORE you select a place to live, work, play, and associate.

References and additional resources:
NCpedia Early Settlement
by David Goldfield
Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2005

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