1524: Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano steps ashore on Ocracoke Island. He is probably the first European to walk the shores of North Carolina. He sees the broad expanse of the Pamlico Sound to the west and is sure that he has found the "oriental sea" and passage to the Indies.
1590: After being trapped in England for three years, John White finally returns to Roanoke Island. His daughter, granddaughter, and 115 other colonists he had left behind have vanished, thus beginning North Carolina's most enduring unsolved mystery, The Lost Colony.
1651: In a volume entitled The Discovery of New Brittaine, 1651, English explorer Edward Bland refers to eastern North Carolina as "a land in which Tobacco will grow larger and in more quantity, " heralding in a way of life that has been both boon and bane to Carolina farmers for hundreds of years.
1677: Northeastern North Carolina colonists, fed up with Britain's taxes on tobacco exports to other colonies, stage Culpepper's Rebellion. They throw the Royal Governor into jail and appoint their own governor.
1711-1715: Tuscarora Indian tribes from the Virginia line to New Bern rebel against white intrusion. Attacks and massacres are widespread for three years, striking terror into the heart of eastern north Carolinians.
1712: The Carolina Assembly votes the town of Edenton into existence to serve as the colony's capitol. The seat of government will remain here for only 54 years before being moved to the more centrally located town of New Bern.
1718: Virginia sends two British Navy sloops to Ocracoke Island where they catch up with Blackbeard. The Navy returns to Virginia with the pirate's head swinging from the bowsprit.
1728: Virginia surveyor William Byrd meets his North Carolina peers on a deserted Currituck County beach to begin the arduous month-long task of surveying the border between the colonies. He was not impressed with the Carolina men, remarking in his report that they were "much better provided for the Belly than for Business." 135 years later, a group of North Carolina soldiers prevent Byrd's ancestral home from being torched by Union soldiers, illustrating that North Carolinians forgive and forget.
1765: Anglican preacher George Whitfield, appalled by Bath's boisterous and un-Christian tavern life, curses the town into obscurity. Since then, the town's population has never exceeded 500 souls. And there isn't a single tavern within the town limits.
1770: The opulent Tryon Palace is completed in the colony's capital of New Bern. The royal governor will enjoy his new abode for five short years until being driven out of town by a mob of rebels.
1774: 51 prominent Albemarle region ladies sign a document swearing off English tea as a gesture of protest against British taxes-a gentile version of Culpepper's Rebellion. The event would eventually come to be known as The Edenton Tea Party.
1776: The Provincial Congress meets in Halifax and drafts the Halifax Resolves, which instructs North Carolina's Continental Congress delegates to vote for independence. North Carolina thus becomes the first of England's colonies to formally support a break.
1805: The Dismal Swamp Canal is completed between Tidewater Virginia and the Albemarle Sound, offering ships and boats a safe alternative to the treacherous Atlantic Ocean. The canal is still in use today.
1830: Josiah Collins builds Somerset Place on the shores of Lake Phelps. The rice plantation was once the largest in the state, with over 300 slaves. Today, the home and surrounding lands are a State Historic Site.
1846: A violent hurricane blasts open Oregon and Hatteras Inlets.
1862: Union General Ambrose Burnside captures most of northeastern North Carolina and reinstates Federal occupational government, much to the pleasure of the residents of Hatteras Island. Never having been subscribers to the Confederate cause, these independent thinkers attempt to secede from the Confederacy.
1864:On January 12, the Cape Fear river's Fort Fisher --The Gibraltar of the South-- falls to the Union. On February 21, Wilmington surrendered and the fate of the Confederacy was sealed, as this is the main supply route for Lee's troops.
1864: Union Lieutenant William B. Cushing outfits a small boat with a torpedo and blasts the Confederate ironclad Albemarle out of the water. The next day, the Union navy attacks and captures Plymouth, and all northeastern North Carolina river towns are under Union control.
1873: The second and current Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is built 1,200 feet from the ocean. The tallest and most recognizable lighthouse in the country, it will have to be moved 120 years later when the sea approaches to with 100 feet of its base.
1874: The United States Lifesaving Service opens seven stations along the North Carolina coast. Eventually, some of the deeds performed by the crew of these stations will go down in the Coast Guard annals as some of the most courageous on record.
1902: An electric railway is built between Wrightsville Beach and the mainland, and Wrightsville officially becomes a resort town.
1903: Two Ohio bicycle mechanics manage to propel a winged aircraft into the sky, thus ending mankind's' billion-year bondage to the ground. Less than 100 years later, the Wright Brothers' invention has taken men to other planets.
1930s: The Civilian Conservation Corps launches its plan to stabilize the Outer banks islands. Over the course of the decade, they will erect 587 miles of sand fences, and plant 3,254 acres of grass and 2.5 million tress and shrubs, thus changing the barrier islands ecology forever.
1937: Paul Green's sweeping symphonic outdoor drama, The Lost Colony, opens on the very site where the colonists once lived. The drama will eventually claim its place in the history of American theater as the grandfather of all outdoor dramas.
1941: German U-boats torpedo and sink nearly 100 ships off the coast of North Carolina, many within sight of land. Before the United States Navy can respond, the attacks earn the coastline the nickname of Torpedo Junction.
1953: The Federal Government creates the Cape Hatteras National Seashore along 72 miles of pristine North Carolina barrier island, ensuring that development never overrun Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands.
1954: Hurricane Hazel sweeps clean the beaches of southeastern North Carolina and becomes the benchmark by which all other hurricanes are judged.
1963: The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge opens across Oregon Inlet, linking Hatteras Island with the outside world and making Cape Hatteras National one of the most visited national parks in the country.
1965: Eva Blount Way, Belhaven collector of the obscure and odd, dies, leaving her eccentric collection of flea circuses and frog embryos as the inspiration for the Belhaven Memorial Museum.
1966: The Federal Government establishes the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Now Federal law protects 40% of the North Carolina coast.
1973: Nags Head resident Carolista Baum wakes up one Sunday morning to the sound of bulldozers outside her Jockey's Ridge home. In a fit of pique that is now local legend, she stands in their path before they can level the 100-foot high sand dune for development. This was the beginning of a grass roots movement that resulted in Jockey's Ridge State Park.
1999: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is jacked out of the ground and moved 1,200 feet away from the approaching ocean --one month before two hurricanes strike the coast.