Press release from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, shared March 20:

The first page of the Carolina Charter of 1663

RALEIGH — The Carolina Charter of 1663 was a gift of land from England’s King Charles II to eight friends who had helped him regain the throne. The Lords Proprietors of Carolina were given land in America stretching from ocean to ocean. The 350th anniversary of the signing of that document will be celebrated on Monday, March 25, with a public display in the State Capitol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a commemorative program in the House Chamber at 5:15 p.m.

Dr. William Price, Jr., former director of the N.C. Division of Archives and History in Cultural Resources, will give the evening speech on the history of the Carolina Charter of 1663. Although the proprietors had considerable power, the charter did grant colonists the rights to assembly, ownership and disposal of property, the establishment of courts and to religious tolerance. Ultimately proprietary rule failed in the Carolinas and seven of the eight proprietors returned the land to the Crown in 1728. Within 50 years North Carolina joined other colonies in the fight for independence.

Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz will read a proclamation from Gov. Pat McCrory commemorating the establishment of Carolina, and in effect its birth certificate, the Carolina Charter. The charter had remained in England and was put up for sale by an antiquarian bookseller in 1947. The authenticity of the document was verified, so the state raised the $6,000 purchase price from private donors and the document found its way to Raleigh. The 1663 Carolina Charter is currently kept in the State Archives vault with other fragile and precious documents.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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