Know your history

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Northeastern North Carolina holds a particular place in our state’s history. One of this region’s earliest claims to fame dates back to 1585, when the first English settlement in the New World was established at Roanoke Island. It would later be remembered as one of the state’s most fascinating mysteries, the “Lost Colony.”

Decades after that failed experiment, once English settlement had found roots in Virginia, this low-lying, swampy region was the first to be settled by Europeans in what would later become North Carolina.

In the names of the earliest counties, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans, the influence of the Native Americans who called this land home can still be seen today.

While earlier settlements may have been around, our Bath was the first town incorporated, predating the royal colony of North Carolina by 25 years. Our own Beaufort County, founded in 1712, is a full 65 years older than the United States of America.

Today, Beaufort County is a hotbed of history. It can be seen in so many places — from colonial architecture that still stands today to the displays of places such as the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum. History truly permeates our daily lives, and beckons us to learn about the past and those who came before.

When a person learns about history, it’s an experience that is truly thrilling. It gives familiar surroundings context and makes our understanding of the place where we live so much deeper. The past, in many ways, permeates and helps shape the present. By understanding it, we come to understand more about ourselves.

Take the opportunity, whenever you might, to learn something about our area’s history. In doing so, you will find yourself enriched with new knowledge and a better understanding of why this place is special.