This timeline contains selected historical events and significant maps of North Carolina. To learn more about the history of North Carolina Maps, please visit the "Learn More" section of this site.

1585 The first English colonists to attempt settlement in North America arrive at the Outer Banks.
1590 Theodore De Bry publishes an illustrated edition of Thomas Hariot's "A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia." This edition contains engravings based on John White's watercolor maps of the North Carolina coast.
1607 The first permanent English settlement in North America is founded at Jamestown, Virginia.
1664 The map "Americae Septentrionalis Pars," by Joseph Moxon is the first printed map to use the name "Carolina" to refer to the area that is now North and South Carolina.
1663-1729 The Proprietary Period. King Charles I awards the area that is now North and South Carolina to The Lords Proprietors, a group of eight English landowners. They rule the colony until 1729, when King George II buys back the land from seven of the eight Lords Proprietors, leaving only the land of Lord Granville in private hands.
1672 John Ogilby’s "A New Discription of Carolina by Order of the Lords Proprietors" (commonly known as the First Lords Proprietors Map) shows the area controlled by the Lords Proprietors. The map relies heavily on the account of explorer John Lederer.
1682 Joel Gascoyne's "A New Map of the Country of Carolina" (commonly known as the Second Lords Proprietors Map) shows improved mapping of the coasts of North and South Carolina, and the identification of many prominent landowners in the region.
1706 The town of Bath is incorporated, becoming the first town in the colony of Carolina.
1712 North Carolina and South Carolina are established as separate colonies.
1728 The boundary between North Carolina and Virginia is surveyed.
1733 Edward Moseley, "A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina." Moseley was a longtime surveyor general of North Carolina, which is reflected in the detailed mapping of the coastal region in this rare map.
1735 The boundary between North Carolina and South Carolina is surveyed.
1738 James Wimble, "Chart of His Majesties Province of North Carolina." Wimble's map was the most detailed map of the North Carolina coast to that date.
1753 The region named "Wachovia" is established by Moravian settlers in the North Carolina Piedmont.
1770 John Collett, "A Compleat map of North-Carolina from an actual survey." Collett's map is the most detailed to date, showing more of Piedmont North Carolina than previous maps.
1775 Henry Mouzon, "An Accurate Map of North & South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers." This map would serve as the authoritative map of the Carolinas for decades, and copies were known to have been used by both the American colonists and the British army during the American Revolution.
1775-1783 The Revolutionary War. Significant battles are fought in North Carolina at Moore's Creek Bridge and Guilford Court House.
1784 The State of Franklin is created from North Carolina's western counties. Covering roughly the area of present-day Tennessee, Franklin lasted only a few years. The lands were ceded back to North Carolina in 1788. A new government was formed for the western counties, and the state of Tennessee was admitted to the union in 1796.
1792 The town of Raleigh is founded and established as the state capitol.
1799 The border between North Carolina and Tennessee is formally established.
1808 Decades in the making, the first official survey map of North Carolina is published. The "Price-Strother Map" is an expertly drawn and engraved map, containing a great amount of information about all of North Carolina except for the far western section.
1819 North Carolina acquires a large amount of land from the Cherokee Indians.
1833 The 1833 McRae-Brazier map is the second official map of North Carolina. Building on the information included in the 1808 Price-Strother map, the McRae-Brazier map contains many more place names, more accurate surveys, and shows the state extending all the way to the western border with Tennessee.
1840 The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad and the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad are completed.
1856 The North Carolina Railroad, running from Goldsboro to Charlotte, is completed.
1861-1865 The Civil War. North Carolina sees early battles along the Outer Banks, and Wilmington becomes a prominent center of trade for the Confederacy. Near the end of the war, battles are fought at Kinston and Bentonville, and the final surrender of the Confederate army takes place near Durham.
1882 State Geologist W.C. Kerr publishes a map based on his extensive survey of the state. The Geological Map is the most accurate map of North Carolina to date.
1900 The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Bureau of Soils publish a map showing the soil types in the area around New Bern, the first in a series of soil survey maps, published over the next century, that would eventually include maps of every county in the state.
1902 The North Carolina Good Roads Association is formed to promote the building and maintenance of state roads.
1916 The North Carolina State Highway Commission publishes a map of state highways. From this point forward, state highway and travel maps were issued on a regular basis, establishing the state of North Carolina as one of the most reliable and authoritative sources for maps of the state. The State Transportation Map is published today by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
1925 The Federal Highway System is established, providing funds for state highway construction and enforcing uniform standards.
1935 Construction begins on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic byway that connects the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, passing through seventeen counties in western North Carolina. The final link in the Parkway is completed at Grandfather Mountain in 1987.
1938 The North Carolina State Highway and Public Works Commission publishes a series of county highway maps. These maps, published for all 100 counties in the state, contain a great amount of information. The 1938 highway map is the first detailed map available for some counties.