North Carolina Became a Royal Colony

Sir George Carteret. Image from the N.C. Museum of HistoryOn July 25, 1729, North Carolina became a royal colony when the Lords Proprietors sold the colony to King George II. South Carolina had become a royal colony 10 years earlier, setting the stage for North Carolina to follow suit.

The English crown, long dissatisfied with proprietary and corporate colonies, had begun the process of converting those colonies to royal control in the 1680s. North Carolina’s sale was the culmination of legal proceedings initiated in 1706 by Queen Anne. Having never made a profit from the colony, most of the proprietors sold their shares back to the crown. Only Sir George Carteret, Earl of Granville, refused to sell his shares, creating the Granville District across the entire top portion of the colony.

The sale of North Carolina was the beginning of a prosperous time for the colony. During the next 40 years the colony grew rapidly. The governance of the colony remained largely unchanged. The powers and duties of the governor, Council, Assembly, courts and local officials remained the same as before.  The king simply replaced the proprietors as the head of administration, improving the colony’s stability and efficiency of administration drastically and allowing for strong growth.

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