Wayne County History in Maps: Colonial Era

Wayne County’s history began in 1787 with its formation from the break-up of Dobbs County. The history of this region stretches back much further however. The following maps highlight the development of North Carolina and also show the slow pace of information hundreds of years ago.

The maps below are from the North Carolina Maps project website. It is a collaboration between the State Archives and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

This is the first of three posts covering Wayne County’s history in maps.

  • The New World
Verrazzano marker, Pine Knoll Shores
NC historical marker, Pine Knoll Shores near the entrance to NC Aquarium.

After the European discovery of North America in the late 1400s, explorers came in droves to chart this new land. The first to lay eyes on what would become North Carolina was the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed up the Atlantic coast from Florida to New Brunswick in 1524.

In 1585, the same year English settlers arrived at Roanoke Island (the “Lost Colony”), the Americae pars, Nunc Virginia (Americas now part of Virginia) map was published by Theodor de Bry in Germany.

Americae pars, Nunc Virginia map, 1585
Americae pars, Nunc Virginia, 1585                                    UNC, North Carolina Collection

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