On the front porch of a small log cabin deep in the woods, Grandma sits smoking a corn cob pipe, churning butter while some scraggly barefoot young’uns rassle in the dusty yard. Pa’s out hunting with ole’ Blue and maybe there will be some good possum stew for supper. Sister is in the home surfing the net with rural satellite internet. Of course, that last part never happened but it is something that could be happening today!
There are many images that come to mind when folks think about the North Carolina. Another is the picture of genteel plantations with spacious green lawns and moss-covered tree-lined drives leading up to pillared plantation homes. Wide verandas shade gracious Southern Belles and their Gentlemen as they sip cool drinks and discuss local affairs. Languid and leisurely is the vision we imagine of living free of worry and care for the privileged folks of the antebellum Old South.
Now, we know that both images are stereotypes with perhaps some basis in reality, but that reality no longer applies. Some hill folk still inhabit the deep valleys and hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains but now are more likely to have high speed broadband satellite internet access, drive a Japanese-made SUV, live in a pre-manufactured home made in Indiana and listen to a rap singer. And though those idyllic (for the plantation owners) days of old are long gone, some of the stately old plantation homes still remain and many gracious town homes survive to remind us of that bittersweet time in American history when the country was still finding its identity.
Today’s North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the nation with a booming industry built on engineering, finance, and biotechnology. As the importance of the tobacco growing industry, that originally formed the basis of the state’s economy gradually declined, the people of South Carolina rebounded and changed with the times, embracing modern industries to replace the old.
North Carolina has a rich history dating back to the mound-builders of 2000 years ago and their descendants through the centuries who built large cities and traded throughout the region. This came to an end after Spanish explorers claimed the land for Spain in the mid 1500′s and established several forts, which the natives promptly wiped out. The Spanish never returned, but by then the English were building settlements and forts along the coast and claiming the territory as their own. The local natives didn’t always agree with that idea and some settlements were destroyed or simply disappeared.
By the mid 1600′s the Carolina colony was rapidly being settled by people moving south from Virginia plus new immigrants from England. Politics also had arrived and the natives were never a significant factor again.
North Carolina prospered as a tobacco producing slave-holding state prior to the War Between the States, suffered for a long time afterword, and has gradually rebuilt itself into a modern state; diverse and growing with a bright future both for its citizens and for broadband satellite internet access.