The year 2012, marks the bicentennial of the beginning of the War of 1812, a three-year military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. Conventional wisdom tells us that the cause of war was rooted in violations of American rights including interference with trade and commerce bringing depression to the Ohio Valley. Other claims were Britain’s continued troop presence on American soil after the Revolutionary War, Britain’s prevention of American farmers from trading with France, and British naval ships seizing American sailors to be placed in their navy in the process of “impressment.” Yet, these alleged causes had existed for over a decade and many places including the New England colonies openly resisted another American foreign entanglement.
Region: Coastal Plain
The first normal school for African Americans in North Carolina, Fayetteville State University (FSU) was established in 1867 as the Howard School. Although FSU was once a school strictly for the education of teachers, the school grew in the 1950s as new programs were added to the institution’s curricula. Today, over 6,300 students currently attend FSU and the institution offers a Freshman Year Initiative program to incoming students.
Opening its doors to students in 1795, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill holds the distinction of being one of the oldest public universities in the country and the first public university to award degrees in the eighteenth century. Currently, UNC is highly ranked with several national publications listing Carolina as a preeminent leader in academic quality, affordability, diversity and engagement in international presence. As of 2012, UNC Chapel Hill retains a student body of 29,137 and 3,221 faculty members.
The University of North Carolina of Wilmington (UNC-W) started in 1947 as a junior college funded by the New Hanover Board of Education. Since its inception, the college has become part of the University of North Carolina higher education system and it offers over 50 undergraduate degree programs. Currently, 13,000 students attend the University of North Carolina of Wilmington.
James City emerged as a haven for free black men and women in eastern North Carolina during the Civil War. By 1865, approximately 3,000 blacks had migrated to the city, and the town thrived after the war. However, after the federal government allowed the original landowners sole ownership of James City, the black community started leaving the area. Today, nearly 700 black residents live in James City, and social organizations have sought to preserve the history of the region.
Columbus County, named in honor of the famed Christopher Columbus, was established in 1808, and its seat of government, Whiteville, was formed in 1832. The Waccamaw tribe inhabited the early region before European settlement. Some important natural attractions and features of the region are Lake Waccamaw, Green Swamp, and the North Carolina Museum of Forestry.
Labeled the “Lexington and Concord of the South” by many historians, the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge marked the first battle between Patriots and Loyalists in North Carolina during the American Revolution. Although the battle lasted only a short while, Patriot forces were able to prevent British soldiers from taking Moore’s Creek Bridge in present-day Pender County. The battle marked the end of royal government rule in North Carolina.
Declared one of the most successful joint ventures by the Confederate Army, the Battle of Plymouth was fought in April 1864. General Robert F. Hoke led ground forces while the CSS Albermarle, a newly constructed ironclad, provided naval support.
Washington County was annexed from Tyrrell County in 1799, and its county seat was named after the Pilgrim colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The town of Plymouth was the site of a decisive Confederate victory in April 1864. A popular historical attraction is the Somerset Place, a large antebellum plantation that serves as a reunion center for descendants of slaves that worked the farm before the Civil War.
Birthplace of the inventor of the Gatling Gun, the coastal county of Hertford holds an important position in North Carolina’s history. The Meherrin called modern-day Hertford home before the arrival of early European settlers from the Virginia colony. Winton, the county seat of Hertford, was the first town destroyed by Union forces in the Civil War.