Archeological evidence indicates that North Carolina was inhabited by prehistoric Indians at least as early as 10,000 B.C. The area was continuously occupied through the centuries by various Indian peoples. When Europeans arrived to settle in the late 16th century, there were some 30,000 to 35,000 Indians in North Carolina. The most important tribes were the Hatteras, Chowanoc, Tuscarora, Catawba, and Cherokee.

Important dates in North Carolina
1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer sailing for France, visited the North Carolina coast.
1585 The English established at Roanoke Island their first colony in what is now the United States.
1629 King Charles I of England granted Carolana to Sir Robert Heath.
1650? The first permanent settlers came to the Albemarle region from Virginia.
1663 King Charles II granted the Carolina colony to eight lords proprietors.
1664 North Carolina's first permanent government was established in Albemarle County.
1711 The Tuscarora Indians attacked settlements between the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. The colonists defeated the Indians in 1713.
1729 North Carolina came under direct royal rule.
1765 Colonists in North Carolina began to resist enforcement of the British Stamp Act and other tax laws.
1774 North Carolina sent delegates to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
1776 The Whigs defeated the Tories at Moore's Creek Bridge. North Carolina adopted its first constitution.
1781 British forces withdrew from North Carolina and surrendered in Virginia.
1789 North Carolina ratified the Constitution and became the 12th state on November 21.
1835 Constitutional changes gave greater representation to the counties of western North Carolina.
1861 North Carolina seceded from the Union.
1865 General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General William T. Sherman near Durham.
1868 North Carolina was readmitted to the Union.
1901 Governor Charles B. Aycock began a campaign to improve North Carolina public schools.
1903 The Wright brothers made the first successful powered airplane flight near Kitty Hawk.
1915 The state legislature set up a highway commission.
1933 The state took over the support of public schools.
1949 The people approved a large bond issue for road and public-school construction.
1950 Great industrial expansion began.
1959 The North Carolina Research Triangle Park, operated by three of the state's universities to serve industry, opened.
1960 Four black students launched the sit-in movement at a lunch counter in Greensboro.
1971 A new state Constitution went into effect.
1972 James E. Holshouser, Jr., became the first Republican to be elected governor of North Carolina since 1896.
1989 North Carolina marked the bicentennial of its statehood.