As one of the original thirteen Colonies, North Carolina presents many opportunities to experience hands-on Revolutionary history. Here we present a timeline of significant events and sites in North Carolina with links to related reference information about each. Major Revolutionary events outside the state are included to provide a frame of reference.
The Townshend Acts taxing imported goods, including tea, passed by the British Parliament in London, Kingdom of Great Britain. The Acts were passed without representation or input from the American colonists.
The Boston Massacre in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, March 5. The confrontation was a result of the occupation of Boston by the British Army to supress civil unrest intended to supress civil unrest due to the Townshend Acts. The occupation including the quartering of British troops in residents' homes without their consent.
The Boston Tea Party in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, December 16. This event was an act of civil disobedience in defiance of the Townshend Acts.
New Bern Resolves, August 28
First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania from September 5 to October 26. The Congress bans the importation of slaves and prohibits American participation in the slave trade on October 20.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, April 19. The Province of Massachuesetts Bay was declared to be in a state of rebellion by the British government. These battles occured when British troops marched to Concord to sieze colonial military supplies.
Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania and serves as de facto government of the United States until March 1, 1781.
Mecklenburg Resolves, May 31.On May 31 North Carolina Royal Governor Martin also leaves Tryon Palace. He continues as the British legal governor of the Province of North Carolina in absentia.
The Battle of Bunker Hill in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, June 17. The British attempted to break the colonial siege of Boston.
Signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, July 4
The North Carolina Provincial Congress forms a new government called the Council of State. Richard Caswell elected first Governor of the State, November 12
Abner Nash elected second Governor of the State of North Carolina, April 20
Siege of Charleston, South Carolina, April-May. This British victory under General Cornwallis led to a new British military campaign across Georgia and the Carolinas. Royal North Carolina Governor Martin joined Cornwallis in Charleston to recruit Loyalists.
Battle of King’s Mountain, South Carolina, October 7. This Patriot militia defeat of Loyalist militia forces ended Cornwallis' drive into North Carolina.
Battle of Shallow Ford, October 14
Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina, January 17. This British defeat caused Cornwallis to pursue U.S. forces into North Carolina.
The Second Continental Congress ratifies the Articles of Confederation, creating the United States of America, March 1.
Battle of Guilford Courthouse, March 15 ended Cornwallis Loyalist recruiting in North Carolina and led to his withdrawal to Yorktown.
Battle of Rockfish Creek, August 2
Siege of Yorktown, September-October. Cornwallis' withdrawal from North Carolina to Yorktown ended in defeat. The surrender of his army caused the British government to negotiate an end to the war.