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.
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.
With Danbury as its county seat, Stokes County lies in the north Piedmont and adjacent to the Virginia border. The county was named after a Revolutionary Patriot, Captain John Stokes.
Formed out of Guilford County in 1785, Rockingham County was initially inhabited by the Cheraw Indians and later by the English, Germans, and Scotch-Irish. Its current population is approximately 92,000. Although not the county’s largest town, Wentworth serves as the county seat.
During the early 1800s, present-day Transylvania County was the site of a border conflict between Georgia and North Carolina. In 1803, Georgia claimed ownership of a twelve-mile strip of land in North Carolina, commonly referred to as the “orphan strip.” The minor dispute was known as the Walton War because Georgia named the region Walton County in honor of George Walton, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Annexed from Guilford, Randolph County was formed in 1779, and named for Peyton Randolph, a Virginian who once presided over the Continental Congress.
The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands that stretch nearly 200 miles along the North Carolina coast. Beginning at the Virginia border, the Outer Banks pass through Currituck, Hyde, Dare, and Carteret counties. The large Albemarle Sound and Pamlico Sound separate the outer islands – Bodie, Roanoke, Hatteras, and Ocracoke – from mainland North Carolina.
Home of B. Everett Jordan Lake, the Carnivore Preservation Trust, and the famous and perplexing Devil Tramping Grounds, Chatham County was annexed from Orange County in 1771 as a result of the War of the Regulation. Chatham County received is named after William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. He was one of the few British statesmen to defend the American colonists’ rights in Parliament prior to the Revolution.
Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, victor of the Battle of Culloden that ended the Jacobite Rising, is the namesake of the Coastal Region area known today as Cumberland County. Originally part of Bladen County, Cumberland County was drawn by the Colonial Legislature in 1754.
Dare County, one of North Carolina’s coastal counties, has a rich history with national significance. Named for America’s first English child, Virginia Dare, this northeastern county was originally part of the Tyrrell, Hyde, and Currituck Counties. In 1870, the North Carolina Legislature passed an act that separated Dare County to make transportation improvements as well as an increase in taxing procedures.