MOA celebrates 350th anniversary of the region

Marjorie Berry.jpg

Marjorie Berry


Sunday, May 6, 2018


By Marjorie Berry

The Albemarle region is celebrating the 350th anniversary of its founding this year through a variety of commemorative activities, including special events in each of the northeastern counties.

Central to the celebration will be the original 1663 Carolina Charter, which visitors will be able to view at the Museum of the Albemarle in a two-day activity-filled event.

Through the Carolina Charter, King Charles II rewarded eight men who were key supporters of his 1660 restoration to the throne with a land grant in what are now North and South Carolina. These eight men were known as Lords Proprietors. The colony was named Carolina, in Charles’ honor.

Early settlement focused on the northeastern corner of the new colony. The Lords Proprietors named this region Albemarle County, after George Monck, who had been a principal supporter of King Charles II in the Restoration.

In 1668, four precincts were formed out of Albemarle County, the first governmental unit of what would become North Carolina. These four precincts – Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Chowanwere later subdivided further, forming the region that we now know as the Albemarle.

Albemarle County ceased to be around 1700, but the name stuck around. Northeastern North Carolina is still known as the Albemarle region. And the state’s first four precincts – Currituck, Perquimans, Pasquotank and Chowan – are still in existence as counties.

The Carolina Charter will be on display Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12 and may be viewed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.

May 11 is a designated student day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students from surrounding counties will have the opportunity to view the charter and other related documents. There will also be hands-on learning activities, including historic games, characters from history, and much more. Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Tyrrell, Dare, Perquimans, and Pasquotank are some of the counties that will be represented.

The celebration continues Saturday, May 12 with representatives from several counties including Tyrrell, Perquimans, Currituck, Chowan, and Camden. Merchants Millpond State Park, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Historic Edenton State Historic Site, and Historic Halifax Historic State Park are just a few of the state parks and historic sites that will have a presence at the museum on Saturday. The museum and the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will have pirate games and pirate photo opportunities available. Bring your camera for a fun time.

We hope that you will join us for the celebration of 350 years as well as the rare showing of the 1663 charter.

Marjorie Berry is an Information Specialist at Museum of the Albemarle.