Named after Joseph Caldwell, the first president of the University of North Carolina, Caldwell County was created in 1841 and formed out of Burke and Wilkes counties by the North Carolina legislature.
A southern county located in North Carolina’s piedmont area, Cleveland County was formed in 1841, and it is named after Benjamin Cleveland, leader of the victory at the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain. Gardner-Webb University is located in the county, and the city of Shelby was once home to the political machine known as the “Shelby Dynasty.”
Home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Qualla Boundary, Swain County was formed in 1871 and rests in the mountains of North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee call the county their home, and the tribe’s cultural and historical influence is significant in Swain County. Tourism and the gaming industry (Harrah’s Casino) is the primary industry of the region.
Founded in 1668, Currituck County was an original port for the colony of North Carolina. A northern Outer Banks county, Currituck serves as an important tourist and outdoor enthusiasts attraction, with the Currituck Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club being the most well-known historical sites. It is recognized as the home to a significant “Banker” pony population.
One of the most important early colonial counties of North Carolina, Craven County was established in 1712, and its county seat, New Bern, served as the colonial capital until 1788. The Tryon Palace Historic Site remains a popular tourist attraction in Craven County, and New Bern was the site of the first Pepsi-Cola drink ever made. Craven County was the site of the state’s first newspaper and the first charter school.
The home of the Lumbee tribe and the Lumber River, Robeson County is the proud home of Native Americans who have resided there for centuries. Annexed in 1787 from Bladen County, Robeson’s county seat is Lumberton; it is named after the Lumber River. Angus W. McLean and Henry Berry Lowrie are two famous natives of Robeson County.
Established in 1784, Sampson County was named after John Sampson, an early political figure who served in neighboring Duplin County. Scotch-Irish immigrants were the first Europeans to settle the region in the 1740s and 1750s. The annual Hollerin’ Contest at Spivey’s Corner celebrates the lost art of hollering.
Greene County, established in 1791, was the site of an important battle in the Tuscarora War. Its county’s seat is Snow Hill, and the county is named after General Nathanael Greene, Patriot general and victor at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
Referred to as the “Hollywood of the East” and home to the Azalea Festival, New Hanover County, although a relatively small county, has a prominent historical and cultural role in the state. Established in 1729, the county’s seat of government, Wilmington, attracts many vacationers and tourists year after year. Some important historical attractions include the Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the North Carolina Aquarium, and the U.S.S. North Carolina.
The Pamlico Indians resided in present-day Pamlico County before European settlers arrived in the mid-1600s. Formally established in 1872, the county’s seat is Bayboro, named for the Bay River. One important tourist attraction is the Oriental Regatta, a highly acclaimed sailboat race.