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The state's official bird, the cardinal, is also the state bird of six other states.
Carteret County, located in the eastern part of North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Coree, Neusiok, and Pee Dee. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources of the county, including its coastline and estuaries, for sustenance and trade.

European exploration and settlement began in the 16th century, with Spanish and French explorers making initial contact with the indigenous populations. Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition in the late 16th century marked the first English attempt at colonization in the area, although it ultimately failed. It was not until the late 17th century that the English established permanent settlements in Carteret County, primarily for farming and the extraction of naval stores like tar and pitch.

The county played a significant role in the American Revolution, with its strategic location on the coast providing a vital line of defense. The Battle of Beaufort, fought in 1782, is one of the most notable events of this period, as American forces successfully defended against a British attack. The county also witnessed heavy privateering activity during the war, as locals armed their private vessels to raid British ships.

In the 19th century, Carteret County's economy shifted towards commercial fishing and maritime trade. The county's proximity to the Gulf Stream made it an ideal location for fishing and the establishment of thriving industries such as shipbuilding and naval stores production. Today, Carteret County continues to be a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and vibrant seafood industry. The county's history is celebrated and preserved through various museums, historic sites, and festivals that showcase its rich cultural heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Carteret County, North Carolina.

  • 1722: Carteret County is formed as part of the Province of North Carolina.
  • 1725: Beaufort becomes the county seat of Carteret County.
  • 1778: During the American Revolutionary War, British forces occupy Beaufort.
  • 1805: The drawing for the historic Beaufort Harbor and Entrance Channel is completed.
  • 1861-1865: Carteret County is heavily impacted by the American Civil War, suffering from blockades and military actions.
  • 1879: The town of Morehead City is incorporated and becomes a major port in the area.
  • 1902: The first public high school in Carteret County, Beaufort High School, is established.
  • 1966: Hurricane Flossie strikes Carteret County, causing significant damage.
  • 1987: Hurricane Emily causes extensive destruction in Carteret County.
  • 1996: The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort is established.
  • 2018: Hurricane Florence impacts Carteret County, causing widespread flooding and damage.