The Carolinas 1633–1776

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Map Code: Ax02334

Following James I’s Virginia Charter of 1609, in 1663 (extended 1665) English King Charles II issued the ‘Carolina Charters’ granting rights over a new province bearing his latinized name and comprising the land between the Virginia Colony to the north and Spanish Florida to the south. Eight wealthy English ‘Lords Proprietor’, most of whom had run plantations in the Caribbean, were allocated areas in which to grow cotton and sugar. The planters and their slave labour forces began landing at the port of Charleston in 1670, followed by an influx of European (mainly British) settlers and traders. As elsewhere on the continent, the settlers soon came into conflict with the numerous indigenous tribes, culminating in 1715 in the brutal two-year Yamasee War. In the aftermath, the increasingly independent-minded settlers overthrew the hegemony of the Lords Proprietors and in 1719 the province was officially declared a crown colony. The colony had split into North and South in 1712, but the boundary remained uncertain until 1771. In the 1730s, another group of British settlers, from a base at Savannah, began colonizing an area they named ‘Georgia’ after George II.. In 1763 George III issued a proclamation prohibiting any new settlement west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains, an area designated an ‘Indian Reserve’, but the settlers’ rapid, uncontrolled westward advance rendered this edict largely academic. Increasingly resistant to British rule and taxation, these three southern states were amongst the thirteen which in 1776 first formed the ‘United States’.

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