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5 C O L O N I A L S O C I E T Y A N D C U L T U R E , 1 7 2 9 - 1 7 7 6 T THEBEGINNING of the royal period most people livingin North Carolina were of English descent, but the majority of them were nativeborn . Few people looked to England as the mother country except in a political sense. Even the language began to change. Many Indian words were adopted by Americanswhile a number of Spanish and French words also crept into their vocabulary. On the other hand, Americansoften kept older English words that had gone out of fashion in the BritishIsles—fall for which the English now use autumn, undyard which becamegarden in England, for example. Growth and Expansion The period of royal rule in North Carolina was one of remarkable progress and improvement among the colonists. An almost constant movement of immigrants into the backcountry took the frontier to the foot of the Blue Ridge, and the Indians were driven beyond the Appalachian barrier. Tremendous tracts of forest, never before cut even in the Coastal Plain, were cleared and the land put into cultivation. Mills were built, roads laid out, lighthouses erected along the coast, the channelsof riversand sounds cleared and marked, ferries established, towns incorporated, and trade expanded. People began to build better houses and to have better furniture. Parishes were laid out, churches erected, and schools established. By the beginning of the American Revolution North Carolina wasthe fourth most populous of the thirteencolonies. The settlers of North Carolina, like those of some other colonies, passed through several phases. Gerald W. Johnson, a North Carolina-born journalist and historian, pointed this out in Our English Heritage. First were the "expendables ," such asthe Roanoke colonists, who led the wayand conducted the initial exploration but were lost. (In Virginia, Jamestown went through astarving time when many colonists died.) Following them were the "indispensables" who cleared land, occupied the country, and demonstrated that Europeans could sur704 A; vive. Finally came the people who brought education, religion, industry, law, and government. This last group gave the country permanency and the characteristics that marked it asthe inheritor of British culture. The population of North Carolina in 1730 probably did not exceed 30,000 whites and 6,000 blacks, and was confined to the Coastal Plain; by 1775, more than 265,000 inhabitants were scattered from the Atlantic to the Blue Ridge. In the latter year Governor Josiah Martin estimated that there were close to 10,000 blacks in the colony. Much of the growth was due to natural increase; women married young and, as observed by an Irish physician, Dr. John Brickell, who was in North Carolina in 1729, most houses were full of babiesand children.Yet immigration was responsible for most of the growth in numbers. North Carolina had permanent settlers at alaterdate than most ofthe other colonies, and it came to be regarded as a frontier region open to settlement by people from Virginia and South Carolina particularly, but also from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Others arrivedfrom the crowded citiesof England and Northern Ireland, from the highlandsand lowlandsof Scotland, and from the valleys of the Rhine and the Danube rivers in central Europe. Thousands of hardy, enterprisingpioneers poured into North Carolina, filling up the empty spacesin the older settlements; building along the banks of the Roanoke, the Neuse, and the Cape Fear; and spreading out over the hills and through the valleysof the Piedmont. Explanation of this extraordinary movement may be found in a variety of causes, allof which acted and reacted upon each other. Land companies, exploiting the mildness of the climate, the fertility of the soil, and the cheapnessof land, persuaded many to come. A spirit of adventure moved others, while a missionary zeal inspired a chosen few.Economic, religious, and political conditions in Scotland, Ireland, and Germany drove thousands to seek new homes on the Carolina frontier.To allof these causesmight be added the promotional activities of royalgovernors, especiallyGeorge Burrington, GabrielJohnston, and Arthur Dobbs. Each of them took an interest in making the boundless resources of the New World known to the people of Europe. The most striking development during this period occurred in the backcountry , but the Coastal Plain also filled up. By 1733 about twenty families had made their wayto the head of navigation on the TarRiver,and ahundred families had planted a thriving settlement on New River. Others, alone and in groups...


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