North Carolina has a long and storied history, beginning with its establishment as a colony in 1587. It was the first English settlement in the New World, and on August 18, 1587, White's daughter gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first English girl born in the New World. After Richard Henry Lee delivered his Resolves speech, North Carolina joined the cause of independence. The Great Depression in the 1930s hit North Carolina's economy hard, yet New Deal projects helped the state recover. Between 1712 and 1729, North Carolina was governed by a deputy sent from Charleston, who had become the center of proprietary government. Most of the free-colored families found in North Carolina in the 1790—1810 censuses were descended from unions or marriages between free white women and enslaved or free African or African American men in colonial Virginia.
During World War II, North Carolina supplied the military with more textiles than any other state in the nation. In 1860, only one city in North Carolina, the port city of Wilmington, had a population of more than 10,000. Approximately 10,000 North Carolina whites and 5,000 North Carolina blacks joined Union Army units. This led to many migrants arriving in North Carolina both within the United States and abroad. In 1860, North Carolina was a slave state, in which about a third of the population of 992,622 people were enslaved African Americans. North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies and was the first state to instruct its delegates to vote for independence from the British crown during the Continental Congress.
North Carolina quickly joined efforts to form a new country, with three of its citizens signing the Declaration of Independence. The Spaniards struggled to colonize North Carolina because it had a dangerous coastline, lack of ports and few inland rivers to navigate. After World War II, North Carolina began to see greater economic diversification with more industries contributing to driving state growth in the following decades. In the late 20th century and into the 21st century, North Carolina's metropolitan areas continued to urbanize and grow. Nine new shipyards were opened in North Carolina to build ships under Emergency Fleet Corporation contracts. This led to many migrants arriving in North Carolina both within the United States and abroad. North Carolina has come a long way since its establishment as a colony in 1587. It was one of the original 13 colonies that declared independence from Britain and has since grown into an economically diverse state with thriving metropolitan areas.
Despite its tumultuous past, North Carolina has persevered and continues to be an important part of American history.